By Barbara Pfeiffer, The Partner Marketing Group
Content marketing is more than just blogging and creating an occasional eBook. We’ve written in the past about visual content, but what other types of content and formats can you add to your portfolio to keep your readers engaged and interested? If you’re stuck in a rut, here are some content ideas to get you moving!
- Expert Compilations. Who are the top experts in your target industries? For your solutions? Interview them for a compiled article or eBook. Typical compilations are built around a single question that all experts weigh in on. Where do you find your experts? Look to service professionals (accountants, lawyers, business consultants), software publishers and partners that target your space with complementary solutions. Do a search on LinkedIn to see who is writing about the topic you are covering. Don’t forget your own employees, as well as your customers. Be prepared to share your plans for distributing your piece so they see the value in taking their time. Consider paying as well – particularly if you are reaching out to thought leaders who typically get paid for their expertise.
- Employee Stories. We talk a lot about customer stories with our clients (and that should always be on your content “to do” list), but what about your employees? People like to do business with people. Bringing your staff and their experiences to the forefront of your marketing can help build those relationships. How? Have your employees talk about their work and what they like most about working for your company. Focus on their experiences with customers as much as possible. Share stories of employee or company-wide community projects as well. Use video, short stories or quotes and images (like the successful IBM campaign pictured) and share on your website, LinkedIn and other social sites to get these messages out. As an article in Fast Company illustrates, these campaigns have the advantage of helping with recruiting goals too.
- Podcasts. Podcasting is one of the fast-growing content mediums in general, and one of the least used in technology marketing. Likely because of unfamiliarity with the platform, this is real content “whitespace” for the companies willing to take the plunge. If you’re ready – start by looking within your company for the people who will do best with this medium. Generally, these will be your best presenters or public speakers. Based on their areas of expertise, outline what you want to share and who your audience is. Consider a series on tips and tricks (for your existing customers) or a look at new technologies.
- Slides. According to a report from Social Media Examiner, more than 85% of content marketers are not using SlideShare to distribute content. Yet the site has over 70 million unique visitors each MONTH. Google indexes every presentation, making this a powerful way to get more organic traffic for your content and your site. You can link from your presentation to your site or embed a form to collect viewer information. The caveat to SlideShare is it’s a visual medium. Uploading decks with hundreds of bullets in 10-point type won’t help you. You should go for very visual decks – consider one image and point per slide and put the rest of the information in your notes. (Tip – go to SlideShare and search on “how to create great slides”) What to share? Look at old webinars, seminars or events, presentations. You may need to refresh the decks or do some additional design, but it’s a good start. Also consider other content forms. Do you have a longer form blog that can be broken into different points and re-imagined as a slide deck? Pretty much any content can be re-purposed into a slide set so don’t limit yourself.
- Surveys. Truly original content is difficult to create but well worth it for the attention it drives and the credibility it can bring. One way to create original content is by conducting your own research through a survey. Survey your customers and share the results in an eBook or article.
- Long-Form Articles. Longer articles (over 2,000 words) tend to rank higher in Google. They are also great for LinkedIn Publisher (which is also indexed by Google.) Add them to your blog and put some simple design behind them to make them available as downloads or in your resources library.
- Use Case Scenarios. I cheated here a bit. We’ve actually discussed use case scenarios in our visual content blog but it’s truly worth repeating. As we shared there, this may be the single most valuable data visualization content out there. This is particularly true for technology marketers who need to explain complicated processes and solutions. Here is one of our sample use cases:
- Event Content. This is probably not groundbreaking, but I’m still surprised at how few marketers build events into their content plans. If you are attending industry conferences and events, you have a wealth of content you should be sharing. Tweeting, summarizing sessions, sharing speaker quotes, tradeshow floor experiences and new solutions.
- Book Summaries (and lists). Even for those influencers with HUGE followings (think Bill Gates, Richard Branson, etc.) book summaries and reading lists are the most liked and commented on posts. Start your own series of book summaries and reviews along with an end of year must-read list. Ask your entire company to participate and share their reviews and recommendations. As a little “extra” here’s a short list of some of my favorites from 2017.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy, Sheryl Sandberg
Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked, Adam Alter
Magpie Murders: A Novel Hardcover – Deckle Edge, June 6, 2017, Anthony Horowitz
I hope at least one of these content ideas I’ve shared will spark something for you. I’ll be sharing additional ideas in upcoming blogs and, in the meantime, please reach out if you need help bringing your content to life in new ways. Have a unique idea or must-read book of your own you’d like to share? Please comment and let us know!