Studies show customers will read 3 to 5 pieces of content before making a purchase, which is why providing helpful and valuable content on your website is a must.
But there’s no need to be overwhelmed; you don’t need to create every type of content available to rank well in Google or to promote your product or service.
- Blog Articles
- Social Media Posts
- Email Marketing
- Press Releases
- Case Studies
The word ‘blog’ is a truncated from of the original ‘weblog’. When blogging first came about in the 1990s (yes – we can’t believe how long ago that is!), blogs were often written by individuals about personal topics. Today, blogging has evolved from being just a personal hobby to being a way for businesses to provide helpful, informative, and entertaining content.
Companies that blog receive 55% more website visits. Add to that that 89% of companies feel blogging is important and it’s clear that blogging is a pretty big deal for businesses. The goal of a business blog is to help solve problems, build a community, and generate brand loyalty. And best of all? Blogging is one of the easiest ways to generate content.
So, how do you get started?
There are many different types of blogs you could create, for example:
- How-to guides
- List-based articles
- Opinion pieces
- Trend or news-led round-ups
In terms of blogging best practices, be sure to use headings and subheadings to break up the text, and link to internal and external content where relevant.
If you don’t have time to blog or you don’t want to use company time to blog, you can invite guest posts, pay a freelancer, or hire an agency to write blog posts for you; there are lots of options. However, many agree that blogs do pay for themselves over time. Once the blog is out there, you only pay for it once, but it can generate leads for years.
Is your business already on social media? Don’t neglect your social media channels as another platform where you can share and create content.
Being active on the right social media channels is one of the best ways to build engagement with your target audience and drive awareness of your brand.
If a customer has had a good experience with a company on social media, 71% of those consumers would recommend that brand.
Before just posting at random on social, it’s a good idea to come up with some SMART marketing goals to help you determine measurable outcomes for your social media campaign. You may decide that you want to gain a certain number of shares or followers by a set period of time. Some CRM platforms can measure how many times posts have been shared, liked, and clicked, giving you a clearer picture of whether your social media efforts are paying off or if you need to adjust your tactics.
When sharing on social media, share any content relevant to your audience such as:
- Images and other visual graphics
- News articles
- Company news
- Press releases
- Company blogs
- Other non-competitor business blogs
It’s a good idea to share both internal (yours) and external (other people's) content to drive the best engagement with your audience.
In a world where time is precious and people are busy, video has become ever more popular. In fact, 4 times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it, so there’s definitely a place for video content in your business’s marketing strategy. Videos are a good way to condense information into a visual format that is easier to digest and more readily sharable.
You can create videos about your services or products, to explain what your business offers; you can create videos about your company, so users can connect with your brand on a personal level; or you can create videos about interesting topics that are helpful to your audience.
Creating video can be costly, but HubSpot has some advice here on how to create quality video on a small budget. Video content is, perhaps, one of the most difficult types of content to create, but it can generate more returns and is viewed more often than other types of content.
Your business is probably already sending out emails on a regular basis, but did you know that email marketing has a whopping 3800% ROI? Email marketing is an easy form of content that only costs as much as it takes to write the email, set it up for automation, and go.
What makes emails so great? Emails can be personalised, action-orientated, and clearly measurable, and often provide instant results. The results of your email efforts can be closely analysed, since you’ll be able to report on metrics such as open rate, click-through rate, and engagement. If you want to get even more in-depth with email marketing, it’s worth considering A/B testing to experiment with different subject lines and hone your efforts based on the results.
The types of emails businesses can create include:
- Welcome emails
- Thank you emails when potential customers download an eBook or subscribe to your blog
- Blog roundups or newsletters
- Lead nurturing emails providing helpful information, advice, or links to content readers find interesting
- New product emails
- We’re hiring emails
- Announcement emails
The rules of email marketing are changing slightly due to the oncoming GDPR legislation so make sure you understand the rules. This doesn’t spell the end of emails, though; your business simply needs to have a clear opt-out process in place and ensure all of your contacts have agreed to receiving your marketing messages.
Another easy to implement content solution is press releases. Press releases can be offered to news sources, blogs, or website owners, and be released immediately or at a specified time.
When creating content for a press release, you can share information on new hires, acquisitions, mergers, exciting company news, events you’re involved in, and anything else that will promote your business and services. Press releases often promote something significant and specific, so ensure you’ve got something to shout about before you start writing.
Creating visual content, such as infographics, is an excellent way to help your business stand out from the crowd. Infographics are an incredibly popular medium, and are liked and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content. If that wasn’t impressive enough, an infographic is 30 times more likely to be read than a text-only article.
Like videos, infographics provide easy-to-read content in a digestible and visual format. The best infographics should strike the perfect balance between copy and images – a little text goes a long way, as does a unique design.
Here are some excellent examples of great infographics that can offer some inspiration...
An eBook, in the marketing world, is known as a content offer and is a well-designed, shortened version of a book, offering helpful content to the reader. eBooks tend to be longer than your general pieces of content. They can be a collection of related blogs repackaged with a table of contents and a better design, or they can be brand new content all together. PDF-style eBooks are easy to create and are a great way to get started with your content marketing.
Your eBook needs to be comprehensive and valuable enough that your potential customer will want to ‘pay’ for it with their details (email address and name, usually). You want to create content that will help your readers in some way with a solution to a problem they may have. Once you’ve created an eBook, you can link to your eBook via a CTA from a related blog, that links to a landing page where your reader can fill out a form and get the eBook sent to their email. This process is generally the beginning of email marketing and lead nurturing.
Case studies are an excellent way to showcase your success as a business. What problems did someone have before they came to you and how did you solve those problems? You want a case study to be an inspirational success story that will show why you’re a great business to work with.
It’s advisable to write case studies in a way that doesn’t feel like marketing material to the reader. You can begin with a summary of the case study and a preview of the outcome you delivered for a client. Then explain the challenges that the business faced before you came along, and write out the solution that you provided. You can break all of this information down into steps as required. Discuss the results of your services and how you achieved success, before wrapping up the case study with a next step for the reader – direct contact details or a link to your contact us page.
Many customers have questions, but aren’t quite ready to get in touch yet, which is why Q&A sections can help answer a customer’s most common questions. Question and Answer sections can be written as an FAQ webpage to provide helpful information. Alternatively, you can write a Q&A as a blog, interviewing an existing client, an industry thought leader, or your CEO. Q&As provide easy-to-digest information and quick answers for your readers.
This kind of content also has a higher likelihood of being featured in Google’s ‘answer’ box featured snippet if it is optimised for the right keywords. It’s also a good way to engage with your audience, as you can ask them what they’d like to know and you can answer.
If you've ever watched a TED Talk, you'll understand the power of webinars. Studies show that 20% to 40% of webinar attendees turn into leads. As a result, 58% of marketers use webinars as part of their content marketing efforts. A webinar is a seminar conducted over the internet. Webinars position companies as both experts in their field and thought leaders – both of which are great titles for your company to hold.
Customers often like webinars because they feel they are getting valuable, educational information, presented in a different but easily accessible format. Some webinars are live and others are available for set periods of time; your business can experiment with either or both of these varieties.
A webinar is a great opportunity to sell your product passively. If you’re unsure how to create a webinar, Lifewire explains how.
Keep in mind that before you begin crafting your content you must understand your target customers (and write customer profiles). After all, it’s difficult to write to an audience without understanding the problems they may face. You have to know what content will be appropriate (or inappropriate) for that particular audience.
Even though we have ten types of content listed here (and this list is by no means exhaustive), you don’t have to create every type of content to be successful. Find what works for your business and get creative! It’s a good idea to vary your content marketing strategy and analyse it to see what works.
Want to Understand What Content Your Audience Would Like?
Download our free Customer Profile Template in order to understand your audience better, know what content is most suited to them, and start your writing journey. Our downloadable templates make things easier for you.