This article is heavily based on work done by Lee Odden. Lee is a recognised authority on search, social media and content marketing. His latest book Optimize is fresh from the press and an indispensable read for anyone starting or running a business today.
Many businesses approach online marketing with an egocentric perspective, promoting messages in which they try to persuade audiences instead of empathizing with customer needs and interests.
Yes, granted – it’s not that easy to curb back our own drive for creative self-expression and reorient our attention towards a more altruistic goal: uncovering what’s bugging our clients and fixing it for them.
We delight a customer or prospect when we make her life just that little bit easier – for example by revealing a better way of doing something. If we can do so in a genuine and useful way, people are more likely to remember our business and award us with one of their most precious assets: their benevolent attention over time.
Littering the social web with scheduled tweets, status updates and blog posts alone may be fashionable but it has – more likely than not – the opposite effect: when we suffer from information overload, our minds close down and true connection and engagement is no longer possible.
But how do we go about creating helpful and relevant information? Here are 20 ideas for types of content that is useful to your potential customers, assuming of course, you know who your Customer Persona is and how you can make him happy. But that’s another story.
Grab these 20 content marketing tactics for businesses who are searching true engagement with their audience.
Use articles similar to those that would be found in a newspaper or magazine, article marketing includes the creation of content with the intention of distributing and syndicating it via various means, including article aggregator websites.
Publishing original content using blog software such as WordPress which organises pages sequentially and/or categorically.
Case Studies. (3)
Case Studies are a written description that tells how a problem was successfully solved with a product or service.
Digital newsletters. (4)
These online newsletters are often published according to a schedule and regularly provide a source of useful information, promotion and links to web pages that further engage readers.
Longer than a blog post or online article, an e-book provides a more in-depth analysis of a particular topic of expertise.
From timed sequences of articles to special promotions, messages via e-mail continue to provide the highest conversion rates of any online marketing tactic.
Content need not be overly verbose. Like the old saying, a picture is worth a thousand words – and sometimes a few thousand clicks.
Just as the name implies, the field of infographics translates information, data or knowledge into graphic visual representations. For example, why talk about percentages in the usual boring meetings when a pie chart and textual facts can get the point across in a more interesting way?
These types of websites are dedicated to specific campaigns or promotions. They may also be created to serve as a social hub for content that doesn’t fit on the corporate website or blog.
Mobile content. (10)
Content and applications specifically created and formatted for mobile consumption are increasingly valuable in some markets.
News releases. (11)
Press release format, application and distribution have changed so that press releases reach beyond journalists – they can be effective for directly appealing to consumers, too.
Many of the types of content mentioned here, such as articles, case studies, white papers, and more, could be converted into PDFs and easily distributed.
Though not practical for all industries, audio files provide an effective promotion opportunity for some markets. Such audio files are often formatted as interviews, news reports, or infomercials. Like newsletters, podcasts are often distributed according to a schedule.
Surveys, studies, research, and statistical data that provide insights can be very engaging and shareable. The information provided by them can work in tandem with many of the content types listed here.
Slide shows. (15)
Digital slide shows are often used to make presentations and pitches in person to make B2B sales, but they can just as easily be uploaded to the Internet to appeal to a wider audience.
Content created exclusively for social networks like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn have significant impact on awareness and engagement.
Traditional media. (17)
Content marketing can also be carried out through traditional digital media, including newspapers, magazines, television and radio.
Not everyone is engaged through reading or static imagery. Some of the most engaging and rich content is in video.
One of the more advanced content marketing techniques to be sure, webinars are audio combined with presentation slides, often done in real time with a question-and-answer session and the opportunity to chat. Once a webinar is finished and has been recorded, it can be stored in an online archive for future audiences to view.
White papers. (20)
White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions. These authoritative reports or guides dive deep into a specific topic and can be very persuasive.