I cover content marketing, entrepreneurship and startups. I am the founder of iScribblers, helping businesses with their content marketing. I love connecting with entrepreneurs and business owners to demystify their success and failure stories.
The four main types of content metrics are consumption, share, lead generation and sales metrics. Different brands measure the success of content marketing differently.
For example, if a customer watches your video all the way through and engages with it, your video marketing is considered successful. If your customer downloads your e-book in exchange for sharing their email id, you’ve captured a lead and can be considered successful.
Your readers engage with your content because it is useful to them or entertains them, but not every form of content is useful. Are you looking to boost conversions, traffic and engagement? The following 7 type of content resources will drive the highest user interactions.
#1. Infographics – A study showed that after three days a person remembers only 10% of written or spoken information but retains almost 65% of visual information.
It’s no surprise that people love knowing facts, figures and statistics. They are much more likely to remember this information when it is contained in an infographic. The reason being it is easily digestible and readers enjoy looking at an infographic. Also, 90% of the information transmitted to the brain is visual and 65% population are visual learners. Infographics are good when your content has data heavy research, numbers and statistics.
The best part? Infographics get shared upto 3X times more than any other content, according to a study.
Create fresh design with bright colors, include new researches or studies from your industry, add an embed code for visitors to share it on their website or blog and add a “pin it” button for readers to share the infographic on Pinterest.
#2. Videos – Cisco predicts that by 2019 the global internet traffic from videos will make up 80% of all internet traffic.
Most people will be viewing your content via their mobile devices. Reading text on mobile is often painful. Moreover, reading long form content is time consuming. That’s why people prefer to watch videos. Not only do they grab the audience’s attention but lead to higher engagement on social media, and more conversions.
(Image courtesy: HubSpot)
Consider sharing online video interviews with valuable inputs for your audience. Instead of writing an about us section you could share the same information as a video. GoPro added a video in their about us section to make their brand story more personal and authentic. You can explain the features of your product in form of videos. It becomes easier for your audience to understand. Ramit Sethi frequently uses video interviews as a part of the content marketing strategy for his courses.
The power of videos lies in helping the consumer immediately with something they don’t know about. The added benefit is building your authority and reputation as a subject expert.
#3. How to guides – The importance of long form content is huge today. It appears on Google when long tail keywords are searched for. It is designed to answer all the questions your customer will have about a specific topic. So that they don’t have to search the internet and can find it in one place. The ideal post is known to be around 1,500 words long according to experts.
The long form meaty how-to-guides help improve your SEO by improving the on-site time and help to capture new leads.
While creating how-to-guides, make them visually appealing because readability is equally dependent on presentation and layout as it is on great writing style. Reading long chunks of text is difficult, include quotes, checklists and bullet points. You don’t have to talk specifically about your product. Solve a problem specific to your industry and show how your product solves it.
#4. Opinion pieces – Strong opinions on hot topics or issues may polarize your audience. This could be a major industry change or to oppose the quote of some thought leader. When you address the popular topic, the audience that resonates with your thinking will think more highly of your brand. The more strong your position, the higher its shareability and readability leading to a spike in search potential. Don’t share your opinion constantly, making it a daily thing becomes repulsive. Publish them with caution. Be civil, not angry otherwise it degenerates into people bashing. Be clear and humble about your opinion and position.
#5. Case studies – A case study explains in a storytelling format “here’s what we do, this is how we do, the results we get and how we help the client”.
The 3 important elements of a compelling case study are:
The setup – Build up the world and the context. Show the problem the customer faces and the negative impact it has on his life.
The confrontation – He looks through the available solutions and comes up with bigger problems and bottlenecks. He is at a loss for what to do.
The solution – Give him the solution, that is your product and demonstrate how it changes his life.
While writing a case study don’t pull it off as a pure marketing effort. Using a storytelling format makes it more relatable. Adding only success stories makes it cheesy and unrealistic, add failures to make it a reality and not fantasy. Your readers will be using these case studies to follow the same path, don’t disappoint them.
#6. Research and original data – Statistics and data hold a lot of value, they’re used to prove a point. You can drive traffic, build trust and establish your reputation as a thought leader by sharing your findings with others. Doing research for gathering original data is hard work, and people respect that. What’s the best part? People share it.
Invest time and effort in finding a good topic and research about it in-depth. Think about the best practices in your domain that need data to be proven. You could conduct a survey of your customers or partner with a research agency to collect the data you need. Release the findings of the study as a new report.
Alternately, data that you regularly check or report could be converted into a content. For example, information such as most clicked titles, types of content that get the most views or the longest viewed content pieces could be compiled and converted into a study and posted on your blog. To get a greater mileage, create an infographic about the research and share it with the audience.
#7. Interactive content – A study reported that 81% marketers believe that interactive content grabs attention more effectively than static content.
The content industry has moved past the stage of read-it-and-consume it format of content. Instead the audience better interacts with content that engages them.
In Ion Interactive’s SlideShare presentation “Interactive Content Marketing That Gets Results” Mathew Sweezey from Pardot says “Content is no longer novel. Just having it provides no value to consumers. Marketers must produce content that adds value in order to engage with the customers. The true measure of content is the experience the person has with it”.
The most popular form of interactive content is the quiz (you’d probably have taken them on BuzzFeed). The quizzes are two way form of interaction with the users participating with it than just consuming it. The Atlantic reported that The New York Times' most popular story of 2013 was not an article but a quiz. Include quizzes, polls and calculators as a part of your e-book or blog.
The three types of content not effective anymore:
Creating content means investment of your time and efforts. The following three types of content have faded out of relevance. Don’t waste your time in creating them.
#1. Generic articles – These are the overly broad articles that lack valuable and actionable insights. General information articles such as “What is content marketing” or “How to reduce weight (nothing new except eat less and exercise more)”. It is irrelevant because it has been written about a million times. People can make out when the information is repackaged. This reduces their trust in your brand and turns them away.
#2. Clickbait – Clickbait is popular in the content marketing domain, yet it is dying a gradual death. This includes headlines designed to grab the reader’s attention immediately and then bring them to a website where the content fails to match the hyper generated by the title. Historically profitable, this tactic is proving to be dangerous due to the growing disinterest of the users, possibility of negative reputation and a crackdown on such publishers by social media platforms. Write powerful headlines but don’t resort to clickbaits.
#3. Filler content – Filler content means content written to fill space, which does not address a specific problem or niche.
Only write content that fulfils a purpose. This could be promoting a new product, informing the audience about a specific topic or a comprehensive guide. Ask yourself these questions before creating content: What is my purpose behind writing this article? Whom am I writing this for? What value will this article provide? What problem does this article solve? Don’t publish the article if you’re unable to answer these questions.
One thing that isn’t specific to the content format is - only produce unique and relevant content adding value to your audience.
- Priyanka Desai is the founder of iScribblers, helping businesses with their content marketing. Views expressed are her own.