There are plenty of words that we encounter every day that cover a category, but that can also apply to dozens of variations of that category. “Food” is an example. That one term can cover an impossibly broad array of combinations, from the very simple and plain (a piece of toast) to the very complex and multi-faceted (macadamia crusted crispy skinned salmon fillet served with a bed of wild rice and pesto).
The same concept can apply to “content”. Unfortunately, too many people who think about content simply stick to the “toast” version of content, which in this case, means blogs. Don’t get me wrong, toast, like a good blog, can be brilliant and can become the platform for all sorts of amazing creations.
But it’s also just a starting point. So if you want to branch out past the simple content marketing options, what are your options?
Videos are probably the fastest growing but still most under-utilised form of content and content marketing that there is. The under-utilised part is easy to explain. Creating video used to be the preserve of large companies with big advertising budgets. Lights, cameras, and action did not come cheap. And a poor quality video with bad production values often did more harm than good.
But that was the past. Smartphone cameras and video shooting ability now match what was once only commercially available in terms of quality. And there is no need for thousands of dollars of extra equipment to edit, clean up, and publish the video. Free applications (apps) and programs that can be downloaded straight to a phone will do the job brilliantly.
Video marketing is especially useful for “how-to” style videos. A plumber talking viewers through how to change a washer (with video to support the explanation), a landscaper showing how to prepare a yard area for work, or even a hairdresser showing how to achieve a “salon” look at home are all prime examples, but there are dozens more.
Video also has the added bonus of helping your website rank more prominently on search results and appear in both the text-based “all” feed as well as the “video” results section.
White Papers and Ebooks
White papers and ebooks are also a strong content marketing option. Unlike blog posts, which are typically anywhere between 600 and 1500 words, white papers and ebooks are in longer form.
A white paper is typically on a topic that would benefit from having a longer form of expression. Going back to our previous example, it’s unlikely that our plumber would create an ebook or white paper on how to change that tap washer. But he or she might think that an ebook covering how to choose energy efficient plumbing and water heating options for a new home might be of real usefulness for a target market of homeowners and renovators.
Case studies are also one of the most effective forms of content because they answer the “why” question more effectively than almost any other form of content. For some businesses, the “why” question is easily answered. But for others, especially those that are selling a solution to a problem that a customer might not know they have, or might not think is big enough to solve, a case study is perfect.
Financial planning, home maintenance, aged care services and security services are all examples of this kind of business. Case studies allow companies to define the problem and make it more personal and relatable by being able to present it in a story-based format. They can then show how their advice or product helped with that problem in a much more natural way.
Help With Written Content
Even though you know it is important, if writing content is a challenge for you then you should consider outsourcing it. A good content provider will be able to recommend the types of content that is best for you, and will help put together a calendar that will give light and shade to your website and social media properties….. some long posts, some short snippets – even aggregated posts from other sources that could form the basis of a newsletter.
I invite you to contact me today to discuss what services my team and I can offer you.