We won't waste your time by telling you about the importance of content marketing. If you are reading this post, you already know that it can play a significant role in helping you attract visitors as well as convert leads and customers.
But too often, the concept is applied in its most basic forms. Especially small and medium-sized businesses often see content marketing as equivalent with starting and maintaining a business blog.
While blogging is and should undoubtedly be a major part of your efforts, don't stop there. Instead, take advantage of these 5 types of advanced content that can help you maximize your digital marketing success.
1) Ebooks and Whitepapers
Brands that engage in inbound marketing will already know about the significant potential of this type of long-form content. If you can come up with enough relevant information to fill more than a single blog post, compile it into one, well-designed document for your audience to enjoy.
The beauty of truly relevant long-form content is simple: because you offer significant value to your audience, they're willing to give you something in return. That 'something,' in most cases, is their contact information on a sign up form. Once they enter your database as leads, you can engage in more targeted marketing efforts.
Not surprisingly, ebooks and white papers, alongside blog posts, are the most common types of content in marketing. Develop a valuable piece of information from which your audience can gain tangible insights, gate it behind a sign up form, and your lead generation efforts increase significantly.
Especially B2B marketers have begun to unlock the power of webinars as a content marketing strategy. Rather than simply providing information in writing, why not invite your audience to learn insights and hear from you and industry experts in a live format?
Like whitepapers and ebooks, webinars are especially successful as a lead generation tactic. Because attendees have to register beforehand, you can gain their contact information even if they don't end up attending. And long-term value exists, too; simply record the session, and offer it for download on your website.
A 2015 collection of studies by eMarketer revealed some insights into the current usage and success rate of webinars. Despite the fact that they are the second most successful content type behind video, only 20% of marketers use them. In short, webinars are a significant opportunity for your brand to set itself apart from its competition.
Visuals matter, but you already know that. What if you could provide every piece of information you want your audience to know in a single graphic?
That's the beauty of infographics. Audiences across industries love them, as reflected by the fact that 63% of marketers who use infographics consider them to be their most effective content marketing effort.
Infographics are not typically a lead-generating medium. They do, however, have the potential to significantly increase your social media success. In fact, one study found that infographics are 3 times more likely to be shared on social media than any other type of content.
4) Original Research
Do you want to know a surefire way to pique your audience's interest: show them something new. Content curation is an undeniably effective way to generate materials without having to spend significant resources. But sometimes, you just need to go beyond simply posting the same types of blog posts and whitepapers as everyone else in your industry.
One way to make sure you get your audience's attention and increase your industry reputation is to conduct and share original research. It doesn't even have to be a comprehensive study; for example, you could simply develop a survey for your current customers about their opinions on the industry space in which you operate.
Once you get the results, it's time to share it. Develop a document (a whitepaper or infographic, perhaps) that summarizes your findings. Then, promote it on social media, and reach out directly to others in the industry. If your research contains original insights, word will spread and your brand awareness will increase significantly.
5) Blog Series
Despite their obvious benefits, all of the above may seem like too much work, especially if you don't have a dedicated marketing team at your disposal. In that case, why not spice up your existing blogging efforts with a blog series?
Executed correctly, a blog series can help you both save time and increase the effectiveness of your content marketing. Pick a topic you know you want your audience to hear about, and plan out regular posts that cover it. Whiteboard Friday, for example, is a weekly look at search engine optimization topics by the SEO experts at Moz.
A consistent series allows you to cover more in-depth topics than a single post could. It also helps you engage your audience over longer amounts of time, increasing their chances of converting to leads and/or customers. Finally, it helps fill up your content calendar, a significant advantage considering the benefits of posting new blog posts frequently.
Moving Beyond the Basics in Content Marketing
Don't let your content marketing falter at the introduction. Blogging matters, as does social media. But without some more advanced types of content, you may never see the return on your investment that you envisioned.
Through ebooks, webinars, infographics, original research, and blog series, on the other hand, you can satisfy and delight your target audience, and maximize your content marketing ROI as a result.