Content marketing has become a powerful tool for online businesses, allowing them to leverage organic search (which is free) and increases their chances of going viral without breaking the bank. When you’re thinking about creating a content marketing strategy for your business, a few ideas probably come to mind right away: blogs, videos, how-to guides, and maybe even memes or reviews, depending on your niche.

However, there is more to content marketing than meets the eye, with new strategies trending every now and then. One apparent change in content marketing since its early days is that many search engines used to focus on only one aspect: blogs. Now, search engines care more about other forms of content marketing, such as images, videos, and even memes.

In any case, it’s important to include all aspects of content marketing into your overall strategy, especially if you want to stand out from the crowd, drive more leads, and increase sales.

Blogs

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” – as the saying goes, and blogs are no exception. They just work.

Blogs have proven to be resilient in the face of trendsetting content marketing strategies and we don’t see this medium dying any time soon. If your website doesn’t have a blog, you’re missing out. Blog posts provide potential customers with answers for their very specific pain points. More importantly, they improve your SEO and can be a cost-efficient method of boosting organic traffic.

SEO will continue to be the most integral component of your branding –  at least until Google and Bing change their algorithms to discontinue supporting blogs.

Although blog writing may appear cheap, the time it takes to write a well-researched article should not be underestimated. Brands without in-house writers often outsource their writing to reduce marketing costs.

Pro tip: When writing blogs, make sure to prioritize long-form content (with at least 2,000 words or more) to maximize your chances of ranking high on search engines. This will reduce your reliance on PPC ad spend while driving more organic traffic.

How-to Guides

How-to guides are extended versions of blog pieces and go in-depth with detailed discussions, breakdowns, strategies, and more. Some how-to guides are like mini-ebooks with a word count exceeding 10,000. From learning how to charge an electric bike to painting a chipped wall, how-to guides are highly effective at winning customer trust.

The goal is to solve a specific pain point affecting your customer base without peddling a product or software. This allows how-to guides to appear more empathetic to the target audience’s plight without exploiting them for their money. Of course, the long term goal always is to win their trust, which leads to desirable actions such as email sign ups and sales.

It is worth noting that some how-to guides are best explained as a video instead of as long-form writing. Certain gestures and actions can’t be summed up in words. This is where YouTube and Instagram Carousels are a better alternative. These formats allow for a more refined explanation of products and services with visual aids. Sometimes, it’s better to post a 30-second clip or a few photos to explain something instead of writing a full-fledged how-to guide.

Pro tip: Make sure your how-to guide simplifies a complex action into manageable items for the reader. Try to incorporate well-defined chronological steps because they can be more helpful to readers.

Whitepapers

Whitepapers get a lot of attention from prospects because they demonstrate important qualities such as experience, expertise, and ability. They are often confused with eBooks because of their lengthy content. But there is a key difference – whitepapers are less about words or more about numbers, data, and statistics.

This whitepaper written on Bitcoins about blockchain technology is a highly relevant example of an in-depth and visually stunning document that breaks down cryptocurrency using graphs and numbers.

Whitepaper content can come across as rather unappealing or inaccessible to most readers. In this case, it is always helpful to use simple words that break down complex ideas and an appealing design. Make sure the whitepaper’s format and page layout are easy for beginners to follow along.

Video Marketing

Video is highly relevant in search engine optimization. Simply type “how to use a wrench” on Google to see that nearly all top results are videos. And the statistics are very clear on the effectiveness of videos: 93% of brands that used video marketing on social media got what they wanted (more sales).

But making relevant videos is not always straightforward because it requires a greater marketing budget. For starters, you’ll need access to high-quality video footage, a camera (optional), and video editing skills. This makes it slightly more difficult for small businesses to publish videos regularly.

However, all it takes is a few informative and relevant videos to make a difference. Videos are especially effective for the following types of situations:

  • Demonstrating social proof with video testimonials of happy customers
  • Showing how a certain product is to be used
  • Giving a behind-the-scenes glimpse of product development
  • Interviews with industry experts
  • Taking a live Q/A session

You don’t need a studio-grade setup to make high quality videos. Your phone’s camera might do the job fine, as long as the video footage isn’t too grainy or pixelated. A big advantage of video marketing is that you can repurpose those videos to be used on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.

Podcasts

Podcasting is well on its way to becoming a billion-dollar market as influencers and brands alike flock to the medium in droves.

Sometimes people like audio stimuli as they go about their day-to-day business. Podcasts allow people to perform other tasks and learn more information. You can listen to a podcast while working out, cooking, running, driving, and more. Multitasking isn’t possible with blogs or videos.

You can invite celebrities, influencers, and industry experts to provide their insights to listeners, while giving you the added benefit of generating new leads for your brand.

You can later upload bite-sized pieces of the podcast as smaller videos on YouTube and other social media platforms. It’s just as easy to write a detailed blog post using information from the podcast.

Webinars

Brands use Webinars to educate their customers and help them understand a variety of subjects, such as how to use a product, provide insights on a specific topic, and solve a problem. Most webinars tend to be long (over 1 hour) since they contain actionable advice, usually aimed at ht beginner.

Most webinars are designed to be interactive and encourage the viewer to engage with the presenter. This provides prospects and customers to ask questions and raise their concerns, if any. The presenter will have the opportunity to answer these questions in real-time, which creates a more personal connection than other forms of content.

Memes

Memes create a very special connection between brands and their prospects. They tell stories in a humorous, almost relatable way to prospect in a split second instead of creating long-form content. Popular shows, TV series, and cartoons are often featured in memes and GIFs.

Unlike videos and podcasts, memes are compatible across multiple platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and internet forums such as Reddit. Most messaging services such as Facebook Messenger and Telegram have integrated memes that prospects can use.

A perfectly executed meme has all the recipes of a viral post that can become trending on social media. In many ways, memes are an art form that requires a nuanced understanding of the internet’s language and the latest trends. Staying in touch with the latest trends on the intent can help with that.

Pro tip: Before publishing memes, try to define your brand’s voice and tone. You don’t want the content to drift too far off-topic.

eBook

Think of eBooks as a hybrid between blogs and ads. They are long-form versions of blogs that provide clients with valuable information with no strings attached. The end goal isn’t to promote a certain product or service but to provide users with solutions to their problems.

Businesses can create eBooks for free to download and use their landing page to distribute them. Prospects can download the eBook by subscribing to a newsletter or provide their email address to receive a copy of the eBook file.

If someone downloads your eBook, they have demonstrated interest in your brand or product. This means they will be more receptive to your sales pitches and ads.

The best eBooks provide actionable tips to help your target audience achieve their desired goals.

Case Studies

Case studies are a great example of conversion-driven marketing that can generate leads for your marketing funnel. They are especially useful for expensive products and services. This type of content tries to convince prospects that the product carries a high ROI and will minimize their risk.

Case studies are especially effective in the B2B industry because their investments usually carry more risk. The most common example of a case study is to tell the story of a successful business partnership between a brand and its client. In many ways, case studies document a client’s success story and highlight the key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant in their industry.

Your case study can focus on several objectives, including:

  • Reducing the cost of doing business
  • Generating more leads
  • Converting prospects
  • Increasing revenue
  • Becoming more energy-efficient

Case studies can be repurposed into other forms of content to be uploaded on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest (as an infographic case study. You can also upload a video case study on YouTube.

Influencers

Influencers in the industry can be particularly useful to your marketing campaign. Featuring influencers on your platform can attract an audience you didn’t previously have access to. The best way to reach an influencer is to send them an email with a pitch that grabs their attention.

Try to create a  personalized pitch to help you get a better response rate from influencers and show you are genuinely interested in connecting with them. Just keep the message brief and to the point because influencers are busy. They will probably not read the whole email if they don’t have any idea of what you want in a few sentences.

Instead, you can mention a few bits and pieces of inflation to excite them.

Email Marketing

Content and email marketing go hand in hand to create the most effective way of building brand loyalty. The idea is to engage existing customers by sending them emails that contain promo codes, freebies, and updates about new products and features.

In fact, according to a report by Litmus, emails generate $36 for every $1 spent, which is unparalleled when it comes to ROI.

The best way to use email marketing is to segment your audience to send them relevant emails. Many autoresponders let you create distinct lists of subscribers based on how they interact with your emails. A key component of email marketing is to write catchy subjects that piqué subscribers’ interest. Make sure to use A/B testing to test what works and what doesn’t.

You can link additional content in your emails, such as calls to action. These links should be easy to identify and make it learn what type of content they lead to.

Pro tip:  Try to make your emails as interesting and eye-catching as possible. Nobody is going to pay attention to your email if it is not visually intriguing.

Wrapping Up

Your business can generate new leads and convert prospects organically with good content marketing ideas. Content creation is an ongoing process, and it is driven primarily by market trends. Successful content marketing requires an in-depth understanding of how online users behave when they interact with different media.

Identifying what works for you depends on your business model, audience, and industry. It helps to take a diversified approach to content marketing for the best results. Don’t be afraid to test new ideas to see how your audience responds.

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