Over recent months and years, content marketing has enjoyed a phenomenal growth in popularity. It's gradually become THE marketing strategy you need to embrace, and its growth shows no signs of slowing down.
Put simply, content marketing is all about the creation and targeted distribution of interesting and useful content, which can help build brand awareness, generate leads and support SEO. But which types of content should you be using, and how do you get started? We've identified the top 4...
Blogs - a truncation of the term 'web logs' - have been around basically as long as the internet itself. They continue to be a powerful and expressive way to communicate with friends, family and, of course, potential customers!
Blogs are short-to-medium written articles which can cover basically any subject. They're generally around 500-1000 words per article - although there's no minimum or maximum length.
They're great for businesses because they generate leads. In fact, B2B companies which blog have been shown to generate 67% more leads per month than those which don't.
Those leads convert well into customers, too. 57% of businesses say they've acquired a customer through a company blog.
Each blog you post represents another page to be discovered by search engines, and - if you're using appropriate keywords and creating high-quality content - blogging is fantastic for SEO. It's been found to give websites 434% more indexed pages and a staggering 97% more inbound links.
This kind of organic back-link is invaluable in building the credibility and authority of your page, which is an essential component of search engine algorithms.
Blogging produces other benefits, too - perhaps less tangible, but every bit as important. It can really help develop an authoritative, trustworthy voice for your brand, and - if you're really good at it - position your business as an industry thought leader.
We're all consuming more and more content each and every day - it's one of the most awesome things about the internet. Blogs are at the forefront of that content consumption; 77% of internet users regularly read one or more. Getting involved in blogging gives you access to a huge volume of potential new customers.
It takes a certain amount of time to create great blog articles, but if you've got that time, why not give it a go?
There are a number of different methods, but Wordpress is probably our favourite. You can set up a free blog through Wordpress.com, or visit Wordpress.org to download and install Wordpress's back-end CMS system into your website. You can purchase professional themes which make your blog look amazing with no coding knowledge required. Once you're set up, it's all about creating great content...alternatively, you can let us take care of it!
Infographics are visual representations of information, data or knowledge. Their widespread use is a fairly modern trend in online marketing, but their premise - that data is easier to understand when presented visually - has actually been around for as long as people have.
From cave paintings, to hieroglyphics, all the way through to more modern uses like Harry Beck's London Underground map, infographics have always helped us distill large amounts of data - often either uninspiring or even incomprehensible as plain text - into a vibrant, colourful, engaging and understandable form.
That being said, there's no doubt that infographics have enjoyed a quite ridiculous growth in popularity over recent years. Since 2010, infographic search volumes have increased by over 800%.
Why? Well, we homo sapiens are a visual bunch - it's been said that 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and we digest visual images an astonishing 60,000 times faster.The brain is like a sponge for visual content - and it's no surprise, because as much as half of it is dedicated solely to visual function.
Infographics are, very simply, a fun and stimulating way to share and receive knowledge. The ones which feature cool, engaging content are really powerful because they help us learn and discover - without the hard work. Edutainment at its finest!
As such, great infographics tend to generate a high amount of shares and social engagement as we share that newly-acquired knowledge with our friends. And, because they generally carry your logo and branding, your brand travels wherever that infographic does, raising awareness and spreading your message far and wide.
With the continued explosion of the internet and social media, we now consume content in more volume than ever before, and visual content is at the cutting edge of this trend. For example, a high-quality infographic is a whopping 30 times more likely to be read than a text article. The potential audience for your infographics is, frankly, enormous!
And what's the bottom line? Well...all this helps YOUR bottom line! Publishers who use infographics grow in traffic an average of 12% more than those who don't.
If you have an in-house design team, you can spend some time researching some stats around a subject of interest and then task them with creating a beautiful infographic. Alternatively, you can outsource it. Here at Wyzowl we're proud to offer a full service - planning, creating and promoting infographics for you. You can be as involved (or uninvolved) as you like in this process!
The whole concept of producing 'e-books' strikes sheer, unadulterated terror into the heart of some marketers. I mean, they're great to read - but WRITING A BOOK. Writing. A. Book! It sounds like just about one of the most arduous undertakings imaginable.
The good news is, it really isn't that difficult! For starters, most marketing e-books aren't really 'books' - they're just PDFs that you can design and publish in-house, or outsource pretty affordably to a design studio like us!
They don't even have to be particularly copy-heavy; many guides suggest that you aim for upwards of 5000 words, but, as with any type of content, we'd always suggest you focus more on quality than quantity. Some of our favourite e-books have been mainly image-based with just a few lines of text per page. Of course, in saying that, it's important that your e-book is 'weighty' enough to justify your audience downloading it, or you can disappoint them and unnecessarily damage your brand.
We've found that the best way to use an e-book is to host it on a landing page and ask users to enter their e-mail address before they download it. You'll find that most users have no problem doing this - after all, they're getting free, useful content from you. This makes e-books an effective tool to help grow your e-mail list, allowing you to subsequently target a range of potential new users with offers, promotions, discounts or communications. What's more, because you've most likely written on a subject area that's close to your industry, you'll know they're at least a little bit interested in your products, so these are often really rich, targeted leads for you to work with.
On the subject of content, you're probably wondering exactly what you should write about. It's always a good idea to choose a subject you have a certain amount of knowledge about already, although you can always carry out research to plug any gaps. It's good to find a niche to help you stand out from the crowd - check out this useful article to help you on your way.
An e-book is an exceptional way to add authority to your brand. There's a certain gravitas associated with 'publishing' and marketing an e-book, and it's that confidence in your knowledge that can help further position your brand as a thought leader.
You can create the copy for your e-book using a simple word processing software like Microsoft Word or OpenOffice Writer. If you have designers in-house, you can ask them to produce the PDF document, or, if you don't, you can outsource this to a design studio. Of course, you can let us do the hard work for you - like all our content, we create e-books for a fixed fee with no hidden extras. Have a play with our Pricing Calculator to get a quote! Once you have the completed document, we can advise you on where to position it to get the maximum ROI, grow your e-mail list and develop solid sales leads.
Ok, a disclaimer: we have to admit, video is a particular passion of ours - we've made over 1000 of them so far, and we still reckon video is the undisputed King of Content.
In a relatively short amount of time, video has gone from an online luxury to an integral part of basically all our online experiences. Every day, 100 million internet users watch an online video, and a THIRD of all online activity is now spent watching them!
Video is a really versatile thing, and you can choose from a number of different styles and strategies to get the best return.
Of course, for starters, you can get a website 'home page' or explainer video, which is basically a 1-2 minute elevator pitch about your business, service or product. Put simply, we think every business should have one of these - why? Because they increase people's understanding of your product or service by 74%, make your website 50 times more likely to appear on the first page of search engine results, and because 80% of your online visitors will watch a video while only 20% will actually read all your content. These and more facts available here!
But, with online video being so widespread, it's also a great idea to diversify your video output. For example, if you've created infographics before, have you considered turning them into videographics? For a deliciously affordable price you can have these graphics animated into a dynamic, engaging video piece to share on your website and beyond.
One of the major appeals of video is that it can be highly shareable - particularly when it entertains us and makes us laugh. Explainer videos are awesome for the reasons outlined above, but, because they're fairly corporate, it's not generally realistic to expect your users to share with their friends once they've finished watching. If you're looking for your content to go far and be shared far beyond your target audience, why not consider doing something a little bit outside the box with your video output and make some fun, shareable videos? Speaking from experience, our series of 'Useless Fact' videos are pretty silly, and far from 'salesy' but they're also some of our most highly viewed videos because they're fun, short, and shareable - and every time someone watches one, they're exposed to our brand.
Identify which 'style' of video you'd like to pursue and take it from there; if you're lucky enough to have the skills and software in-house to create awesome videos, then get to work and make it happen! Of course, if you don't, we're here to become an extension of your marketing team for as long as you need us.
There's little doubt in our mind that content is not only the present, but the future of marketing too. It's pretty easy to get started - but it takes time, determination, passion and expertise to create winning content and supercharge your business in the long run. A whopping 93% of B2B marketers are using content marketing right now...but only 44% of them have a documented content strategy.
Our newly launched Content Marketing Agency is all about bringing order to that chaos and making the process easier for you and your team. We take care of planning, creating and promoting your content pieces, working to fixed prices and set turnarounds. Essentially, we become an extension of your own team and help you create fantastic content while you concentrate on the gazillion other jobs you have to do! Why not get in touch with us for a friendly chat?