Content Marketing is a Marketing technique that is based on creating, publishing and sharing content of interest with your Buyer Personas, or your ideal customers based upon research and real data. So where do the different Content Marketing formats factor in?
If you want to optimize your Content Marketing strategy, you need to meet two main requirements: 1) have a clear and defined target market and 2) map out the knowledge you want to convey.
In this way, you can accompany your potential clients throughout the Buyer's Journey, providing the appropriate content in the appropriate format at each stage.
First of all, you need to have a good Content Marketing strategy supporting all of your content. Below, we will explain what your Content Marketing should achieve, and then we will delve into the different content formats.
What are the objectives of Content Marketing?
The Buyer's Journey has 3 stages, but many people think this doesn't go far enough. In fact, HubSpot has a different model, called the flywheel model, which is a wheel with 3 phases in perpetual motion: attract (Marketing), engage (Sales), and delight (Services). No matter what method you use, there are 4 main objectives of Content Marketing:
1. Atraction: Attract visits to your website or blog.
2. Conversion: Get the traffic that has been generated to leave their personal data, turning them into leads.
3. Sale: Get these leads to buy and finally become customers.
4. Loyalty: Make your customers fall in love with you so they start talking about your brand, product or service.
What are different Content Marketing formats of value?
Now that we have seen the objectives of Content Marketing, we will learn the different ways to attract traffic to your content and convert visitors into loyal customers. Below, discover the most valuable Content Marketing formats:
1. Blog posts
Besides your website, your blog can be considered the most powerful tool to attract visits from potential customers. It's also great for SEO, so that your relevant target audience can actually find your content.
Blog posts can be used for every stage of the Buyer's Journey, but they work best for the awareness and consideration stages. For example, you can write lots of blog posts covering various aspects of the problem your product/service acts as a solution for. Going deeper into the Buyer's Journey, other formats (like the ones we will discuss below) tend to work better.
The good thing about blog posts is that they can be elaborated by just about anybody. They tend to be one of the easiest, most inexpensive business resources. If you really want to go above and beyond with your blogging, consider guest posts by experts.
Ideally, your blog will combine standard posts (at least 300 words) and premium posts (1,000 words or more). This article offers a good explanation on the length you should aim for, depending on the goal of your post.
HubSpot has a useful blogging tool that lets you organize posts into Pillar Pages and Topic Clusters. This strategy uses links to create relationships between content, helping your pages rank better on search engines.
Finally, your blog posts should be published regularly, and they shouldn't just sit on your blog. Post them on social media or include them in your newsletter. This will facilitate engagement from customers.
Expert tip: Include a CTA or banner in your blog posts to lead visitors to relevant gated content.
Below, find related content formats:
- LinkedIn or Medium Articles: If you don't have a blog, write and share articles on LinkedIn or Medium. For B2B, this is a good way to curate content without having a fully-fledged blog.
An e-book is a good way to delve deeper into a topic that may be of interest to your potential leads. For this reason, e-books usually tackle deeper levels of the Marketing funnel (the consideration and decision stages of the Buyer's Journey).
Normally, an e-book is a form of gated content, a resource that you exchange for a lead's personal information. This article gives you a good explanation of when to gate content or not.
E-books take more time to create than blog posts because they tend to be longer and include more design work. However, e-books are more valuable because they are gated, while blog posts aren't. You should always try to mix content formats so that you're not always creating the same things - you want to be consistent, but not boring.
Lastly, e-books are a highly popular content format, so they should be showcased on your website. Considering creating a resources page where you store all of your different types of content (by the way - here's an example of mbudo's resource page). Link to e-books whenever possible - in blog posts, on social media, in your emails.
Expert tip: Re-use a series of related blog posts and turn them into an e-book on that topic.
Related content formats:
- Case Studies: A case study is an e-book that shares how you successfully helped a specific client or business, highlights uses for your product/service, or recounts any real-life examples. This is valuable for building trusts with leads and showing off your expertise. (source)
- White Papers: A white paper is an e-book that revolves around a specific product or service, conveying information, data, and benefits of the solution. They tend to be no more than 10 pages, can include visual aids, quotes, or statistics, and use a CTA to lead the user to take a certain action. (source)
- Guide or Checklist: A list of things or step-by-step instructions.
3. Video Marketing
There is no doubt that Video Marketing has revolutionized the online environment. You've probably already seen the impressive Video Marketing stats. The hard truth is that most people would rather watch a video than read a chunk of text, and we understand why: they're fun, engaging, and easier-to-understand that written content.
Video can be used for any stage of the Buyer's Journey. Short videos are the order of the day, but do not discard longer videos. Short, catchy videos will help you engage users at the top-of-the-funnel, while longer demos and tutorials are more appropriate for users at the end of the decision process (source).
Keep in mind, high-quality video can be time-consuming and expensive to produce. Luckily, tools like Vidyard makes it easy to create quick, inexpensive videos. And YouTube is free! Did you know YouTube is the 2nd most popular website after Google? Just let that sink in...
Expert tip: If it's your first foray into Video Marketing, start with an intro video about your company, like this one showcasing the mbudo agency. Build your way up from there.
Related content formats:
- Webinars: This is a wonderful resource for businesses - if you can gather a crowd to attend. A webinar is a brief presentation on a certain topic (like a product or service demonstration) followed by a Q&A session.
- Animation: Your videos don't have to feature real people and things - opting for animation adds an element of whimsy! Plus, there are a lot of online platforms for creating animated videos.
- Live video: This is a live video feed that is pertinent for premieres, new product releases, big news, etc.
4. Email Marketing
Email Marketing is an ideal complement to your other Marketing activities like blog posts, e-books and videos. The good thing is that Email Marketing is relevant to every stage of the Buyer's Journey:
For awareness, have a blog subscription where you send the newest blog posts. Use Marketing Automation to nurture leads via email and send them content guiding them down the Marketing funnel. Finally, incentivize leads to close by sending discounts and offers.
Your Email Marketing campaigns can be segmented based on a number of factors: type of subscription, topic/theme, product/service, location, lead type, etc. We recommend doing segmentation so that you can send different content to different groups. For example, you wouldn't send a person in the awareness stage an email with commercial product details.
Email Marketing also helps you get visibility on your engagement because you can monitor things like open and click-through-rate, who uses your email incentives, etc. At mbudo, we use the HubSpot platform to track our email campaigns, and it's so easy because HubSpot does it all!
Expert tip: Develop a killer Email Marketing template with your brand guidelines so that your customers will immediately recognize your emails.
Related content formats:
- Newsletter: A monthly newsletter is pretty standard in the Marketing industry. Use it to communicate important news, recent blog posts, and offers.
- Quizzes and Polls: Do you need feedback from your customers? Well, a quiz or poll is a good way to get that feedback. This could be more appropriate for email marketing or social media, depending on the feel of the quiz or poll.
- Survey: Find out your Net Promoter Score (NPS) through a survey. Conduct market research, get customer feedback, and more.
Transform your written information and data into more visually-appealing media! Infographics are a fun way for users to visualize data or how something works (instead of using chunks of boring ol' text). This type of Content Marketing format is highly shareable and popular. However, it is not enough for your infographics to just be visually attractive; they must have "substance", that is, valuable content.
Infographics are almost always used for earlier stages of the Buyer's Journey. They are especially good for the consideration stage, to show a comparison of two things or convey the pros vs. cons of a product or service. Infographics are not very commercial, so they aren't recommended for the bottom-of-the-funnel.
The great thing about infographics is that they're really easy (and cheap) to make. Any designer will be able to transform an idea, statistics, or block of text into a compelling infographic. If you still need some help in this aspect, discover tips for designing infographics on the mbudo blog.
Expert tip: Since infographics are shareable, post them on social media and watch the likes, comments, and shares rack up.
- GIF or Meme: While a GIF is a short video and a meme is an image, both of these tend to be humorous. For business purposes, a GIF can demonstrate a very short series of steps, while a meme could share an inside joke with customers. These are normally only shared on social media or in blog posts.
There you have it! Now you know the main purposes of Content Marketing and the valuable content formats to employ to achieve those objectives. Don't forget to read our blog post about what to expect from a Content Marketing Agency, or get in contact with mbudo if you need help implementing your Content Strategy.