Content creation is tough. Making great content that not only retains your audience, but also moves them along the marketing funnel to conversion is challenging. Your audience wants quality. They want to find value in your content. And if they don’t, they’ll ditch you for someone else who delivers.
Making quality content on a consistent basis is a challenge for many businesses, regardless of whether it’s B2C or B2B. The Content Marketing Institute surveyed B2B content marketers, and…
60% of them said their top challenge was creating engaging contentSource
57% of them said their top challenge was producing content consistently
There are several different types of content formats. How do you know which type is the right one for your business’ content marketing strategy? Which type of content has the best ROI? How do you balance creating content for the other format without sacrificing time or money?
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. To figure out the answers to these questions, you need to understand the different formats of content and the value they can bring to your business.
Determining the Type of Content
In general, there are six main types that businesses use:
- Blog posts
- Case studies / whitepapers
- (Bonus) Original research
Here’s a brief rundown on how they can help your business.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock in the past five years, you already know that blog content is immeasurably valuable to your business. Not only does it boost organic traffic, it’s also a way to build an audience that engages. Blogs can also generate up to 67% more leads for your sales team.
The hard part? Blogging regularly and releasing high-quality content on a consistent basis. Many business owners and writers struggle to come up with content topics or to settle into a schedule. This is why editorial calendars are valuable.
Marketing personas. What are their pain points? What are they struggling with and structure your content around that.
Similar content. Look at your competitors’ content. Which are popular? Why? Analyze it. And apply it toward your own content. By no means am I proposing that you copy the content, but rather that you learn from their efforts.
Solve your audience’s problems. It might seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many businesses acknowledge their customers’ pain points — and fail to solve it.
eBooks is one of the most cost-effective ways of marketing. They’re chock-full of valuable information that you probably already wrote about in your blog, case studies, and other original research, and you can use it to collect information about your audience (aka lead generation).
63% of customers are willing to register and share information about themselves in exchange for a free eBook.
Most eBooks are not book-length. They usually range between 2,000 and 10,000 words. Many B2B and B2Cs will take an old, well-performing blog article and expand on it with extra research, graphics, and in-depth information.
These eBooks are also a great base for repurposing. A few weeks or months after you launch the eBook, you can break the content up into a series of blog posts – updated to reflect the new research, of course.
Although video isn’t the cheapest to make, 78% of marketers say the ROI is high. 81% of people are convinced to try a product or service after watching a brand’s video.
Many people are hesitant to explore video as a part of their marketing strategy. Here are the solutions to a few common reasons:
- Not confident on camera – get someone else, whether it’s an employee or a contractor, to do it for you
- Writing a script takes time – repurpose an old blog content
- Don’t know how to edit a video – hire someone to do it for you
Like blogs, refer to your marketing persona profiles and focus on acknowledging their pain points and solving it. You can repurpose your old written content, as well. Even if you use the content almost virtually verbatim, this content reaches an entirely new set of audience on a different platform. They won’t have read it yet!
11% of listeners tune in while at work, and 26% on their daily commute. 25% of podcast listeners tune in between three and five hours every week. 33% admit to listening to podcasts for between five and 10-plus hours every week (source).
Target these listeners through apps. It’s a wholly unique set of audience that you might’ve not found through your website or Youtube channel.
Similarly to blog and video, create content centered around this audience’s pain points.
There’s a catch, though: you have to commit to creating podcasts on a regular basis. Like old-fashioned radio shows, if you miss your usual broadcast date, it’s easy to lose your audience. If you’re uncertain that you can follow through, sponsor a podcaster instead.
Case Studies & Whitepapers
Talk is cheap. Just saying that your product will solve your audience’s problems isn’t enough. Case studies and white papers show your audience that using your product or services has an actionable, positive outcome. It gives them irrefutable evidence that you will most definitely solve their problems. That it works.
Give them the real-life data and tie it in with a success story from a previous customer.
60% of tech buyers search for peer reviews and testimonials before purchasing.
(Bonus) Original research
While you can draw on your competitors’ content for ideas and inspiration, you should do your own research, rather than “respin” their content. By collecting your own data, references, and sources, you’re doing a few things:
- Authority. You’ll establish yourself as the go-to expert about this topic/product.
- Backlinks. When you collect data, citations, and information from solid resources, other writers will link back to your content. This is one of the key factors in search engines’ algorithms. It’s great for SEO and your site’s web traffic.
Are you already making content? Add more.
The more variety you have in your content, the wider your reach will be. If you don’t have the time or inclination, but do want to add one (or all) of these types of content, you may need to hire a writer.
Give me a shout! I’m a content writer who works with small- and medium-sized businesses. I’ve created a variety of content for B2Bs, B2Cs, and ecommerce companies. Contact me anytime.