Content marketing is all the rage. Three years ago, few had even heard of the term, now go to any marketing seminar and you’ll like hear about nothing else. In this crowded space, you need something to make your content stand out.
Here’s five ways to help you out:
People love video, but here’s the rub: They have to be entertaining and well done. Anybody can shoot a video, but production values go a long way toward making them pay off. More importantly, they need to be something the user will want to actually watch, and preferably share.
One of my favorite recent examples is the video for Dollar Shave Club. This is a video that should be dry and boring, but instead it became a viral sensation. We could all learn something from this video.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI]
Could 2016 finally be the year of the podcast? Like video, quality pays dividends here. Make sure the content is free of hiss and echo, and the speaker is understandable and speaking at a moderate pace. Most importantly, this should be content that people will want to take with them on-the-go. Music is a no-brainer for this one.
Slide shows are powerful ways to place a lot of content in a small amount of space. Anything educational that can be broken up into multiple, bite-sized chunks is a good candidate. Guess what? Quality counts (are you seeing a trend yet). The information presented should be enticing enough to keep the user clicking.
Here’s an example from Slideshare:
I know what you’re thinking “My grandfather used to put out white papers, or maybe it was my older brother. In any case, shouldn’t white papers be packed in the attic?” In short, no, not yet.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, white papers should have the following:
- Rich, substantive content that educates, not sells
- New ideas that prompt and provoke innovative thinking
- A clearly communicated point of view on issues that are highly relevant and timely
- Statistically sound data and well-researched findings
This won’t work for all topics or products, but if you can position yourself as a thought leader in your industry, you’ve gone a long way toward establishing that trust that content marketing is all about.
An effective ebook is a mash-up of white papers and slide shows. It follows the same themes of white papers in that it needs to be substantive, present data and draw conclusions, while also being engaging and enticing enough for the reader to keep turning pages. You can earn bonus points if your readers share the content amongst their peers.
Hitting all these notes is no easy feat, but the payoff can be huge. A good ebook can become part of a user’s permanent library; a trusted reference manual provided directly by you. Guess where they’ll go the next time they have a question?
To recap, standing out amid the din of all the content marketers is a difficult proposition. You need to go that extra mile to earn some mindshare and build the trust that can ultimately position you as a thought leader in your industry. The goal of content marketing is not to make a sale on the first visit, but to build a relationship that pays dividends over time.