Content is King was a term originally coined by Bill Gates in a 1996 essay. Since then, it’s a buzzword that has been (and still is) relentlessly thrown around by marketing blogs, and digital marketers.
However annoying you find the phrase, the basic idea behind it remains even more true today than it did 20 years ago – although now, a more appropriate phrase may be ‘Quality Content is King’.
The simple concept is that any website that lacks meaningful content will be a failure, no matter how gorgeously or intricately designed. Content marketing can have a hugely significant effect on your bottom line, but if it’s not done well, you’re wasting your time.
Although types of content can be seemingly infinite, it can be extremely helpful to break it down into categories when it comes to thinking about what content your audience responds to, and the channels on which it should be published (website? social media? email? all three?).
The simple concept is that any website that lacks meaningful content will be a failure, no matter how gorgeously or intricately designed.
What is Content and What Types of Content are There?
Online content has been described as everything from ‘Google food’ to the air your website breathes, but one thing is certain, without it success in modern business is near impossible and quality matters. Not only does your content need to appeal to a wide audience, it must entertain, engage, inform and play a central role in developing meaningful relationships. Whether you sell t-shirts, toasters or tiling services, when it comes to your online marketing, content is king – let’s take a closer look at some of the many jewels in its crown.
There is a reason why articles are the number one type of content online these days; it’s because they work, and according to HubSpot “companies that blog are 13x more likely to generate a positive marketing ROI”. Articles can help to establish your brand voice, open a line of communication with your audience and keep them coming back; however, as with anything, too much of the same thing can get boring fast. If you are stuck in a rut with your article styles, try one of the following.
Looking for a sure-fire way to engage your audience? Try making their life easier by offering the solutions they need for free via how-to articles. Apart from establishing yourself as an expert in your industry, sharing your skills and knowledge will help build trust and make it more likely that people will support you.
Talking about past successes can be a great way to show what your business can do, especially if you include plenty of quotes from those happy customers. For best results, carefully describe the problem your client faced – including any previous attempts they made to solve it – and then tell everyone exactly what you did to fix it and why it worked.
Whether there is ground-breaking software being released, new legislation on the horizon or an exciting event coming up, talking about what’s going on in your industry is guaranteed to spark some interest. Be sure to discuss those closer-to-home issues as well, particularly if you are expanding, rebranding or have won an industry award.
Studies have found that not only do lists make it easier for our brains to process information, but by reducing the amount of mental effort required they can actually make us feel happier. Consider incorporating one of the following lists into your content marketing strategy.
Everyone loves the text-style list because apart from being easy to scan, digest and share, breaking information up into list format also makes it more memorable. Numbered lists are particularly popular, in part because using numerals in a topic makes it more likely to stand out.
Humour offers a great way to engage your customers, relate to them and show the human side of your business. Making someone laugh won’t just get their attention; it will increase the chance of them sharing your content and coming back for more, but steer clear of anything that could be considered offensive.
Regardless of what you do or sell, photo lists offer an easy way to show off all those features and benefits without boring people with endless details. However, be sure that those images look professional because your business will be judged on their quality.
With the online world now awash with written content, images are playing an increasingly important role in establishing visibility. From high definition home pages through to photo-laden tweets, the right images can help you stand out; convey your brand message and increase the likelihood of your content being shared. Looking to freshen up your online marketing? Try one of the following.
Businesses large and small are now showing more of what goes on behind the scenes as it offers a creative way to capture your brand’s unique style and personality. Whether you post photos of key staff members in action or head shots of the entire team, personal pictures add an authentic look and feel and make your business easier to relate to.
While memes may not offer a lot in terms of in-depth content they can sure be a lot of fun, and entertaining your audience is guaranteed to keep them coming back. Creating your own memes is easy thanks to tools such as Quick Meme; however, use them sparingly as they can weaken your brand messaging if you go overboard.
Not only does video content require almost no effort from your audience, it is perfect for times when the only way to explain a product, service or event is to let people see it for themselves. Try one of the following types of video content and you may be pleasantly surprised by the results. (Take a look at your Facebook feed today, and you’ll see video is rapidly becoming by far the most common content type on Facebook)
Video reviews can be a fantastic way to highlight features and benefits of your products or services, not to mention have some fun. Blender maker Blendtec has shown exactly how it should be done with their hilarious ‘Will it Blend?’ campaign, with the “Will it Blend – iPad” video now having been viewed over seventeen million times.
Interviewing an expert in your industry will get you onto the radar of a whole lot of people as that famous name alone can be enough to cause a stir. Asking good questions and facilitating an interesting conversation will certainly help, but whatever you do, don’t try and show up the expert as it is sure to backfire.
Reporting live from a big industry event is a great way to turn heads. Not only will your audience appreciate being kept up to date on all the latest developments but being seen right there in the middle of the action will enhance your credibility. If you are livestreaming your video, create a hashtag or two to maximise the buzz.
While it may require a slightly larger investment of your time, money and effort, you can get a huge amount of mileage out of a professionally designed graphic. Graphics are more likely to stand out; they can make information easier to understand and they are suitable for sharing on almost any device. The following types of graphics are wildly popular right now.
Informational infographics (infographics)
Complex data or processes may be difficult for your audience to grasp but a few carefully crafted images and eye catching colours can make a world of difference. Focus on information that is most relevant to your customers, ensure that any statistics are up to date and don’t be afraid to get a little crazy with your design. Tools such as Easel.ly make infographics easy.
Quotes as an image
While a picture may be worth a thousand words, the right words displayed as an image can certainly tug at the heart-strings. A thoughtful quote paired with the right image can create a strong emotional impact, making this a wonderful way to deepen the bond between your customers and your brand. Research shows quotes are particularly shareable, and sharing beautiful image quotes on social media an be an extremely effective way of increasing audience engagement.
The reason modern marketing is all about engagement is because people love it; in fact, a recent study looked at 100 million articles online and found that 8 of the 10 most popular in 2013-14 were actually quizzes. Connect with your audience in a whole new way with the following fun formats:
Even simple quizzes can be an ultra-magnetic way to engage your audience, because not only do most people love putting their knowledge to the test but if there is a prize to be won all the better! Apart from being a fun way to connect with your customers, those quiz results can be a goldmine of consumer information.
If you are looking to dig a little deeper into the minds of your audience a survey can certainly help, but if you are hoping for many participants keep it on the short and sweet side of the scale. There is also a definite art to creating insightful survey questions making this one type of content where it is wise to invest in professional help.
Hosting a fun game online can do wonders for your visibility and provide valuable information about the opinions, attitudes and tendencies of your audience. This clever type of content can even help your business solve problems, such as choosing your next logo or troubleshooting product designs.
The best promotions will always be those that offer the greatest value to your customers, as this will lead to the maximum amount of positive buzz. If your business could use a boost, the following ideas will get results fast.
Giving away products, services or even recognition in exchange for content can be extremely effective because whether you need ‘likes’, reviews, ideas or photos of people using your products, all you have to do is offer a worthwhile reward. Yelp is one such business that rewards its devoted followers in this way, with Yelp Elite regularly treated to invitation-only gatherings in exchange for their reviews.
E Books are downloadable resources (usually 10,000 words or more) that act as a virtual textbook for your products or services. A quality E-Book should include an attractive design, plenty of pictures and be written in a way that is easy to understand, and when done well it can promote your business and collect quality leads at the same time.
While a steady flow of quality content can do wonders for your online visibility, for maximum benefit that content needs to be optimised. For example, it should be written in simple language, designed for short attention spans, look great on any device and, of course, be search engine friendly. If you need help with your online content talk to the professionals at If You Build It. We have the skills, knowledge and experience to ensure your online content gets the results your business needs.