If you missed our blog about getting started in content marketing, check that out before reading this blog. Alright. Caught up? Great! As you may have discovered already, content marketing has many facets, one being what type of content formats make sense for your business for each channel. In this blog we will cover content formats, writing for online audiences, and how to help your content be seen.
Choosing the Right Format for your Content Marketing
Regardless of the format, you choose for content marketing, the purpose of content remains the same — to connect with your audience. This audience will engage, share, learn, and potentially convert as customers. Crafting your content to this audience is the top priority. There are so many options, however, on types of content to be created. Let’s break them down together.
Blogs are typically published as a subsection of an existing site and can include original content or guest authored content. We highly recommend finding other people in your industry to guest blog on your site, and you on theirs, as it helps develop backlinks for both parties. Writing unique, quality blog posts can help increase publicity and give you interesting content to share across other channels such as social media. Don’t forget, it’s okay to ask people to share your content. This helps to promote the shareability factor that social media is so good at creating.
Infographics are informative and a great way to present educational material visually. Infographics work well online and can help present complex/statistical data in an engaging, creative way. Plus, if you go the extra mile and use a pdf tool such as Adobe Acrobat Pro, you can make your infographic searchable for crawlers. Giving you even more bang for your buck.
E-Books are educational, easy-to-read guides that are focused on a specific topic. This format provides readers with practical content and will help you stand out as an expert in your field.
Video can be anything from product demos to tutorials, and customer testimonials. Video allows brands to create useful and entertaining content that can be consumed on the go. For an added boost, closed caption your videos. This is incredibly important for staying ADA compliant, but more importantly, it is the right thing to do for people with hearing impairments and to be as accessible as possible to your entire audience.
It’s important to remember that successful content doesn’t have to go viral or reach millions of people. Focus on creating content tailored to your audience. Design it to move customers toward a specific goal or action. When getting into picking formats, be mindful of your main goal for that content.
There 4 main goals to consider with content creation
- To Entertain
- To Inspire
- To Educate
- To Convince
Let’s imagine this scenario:
Dave owns a flower shop. He might create videos showing what a day in the life looks like creating beautiful floral arrangements (entertaining). Dave could make a forum space on his website and get insight from his audience surrounding their questions about his business (inspiring). Dave might make his goal to educate and write blogs with tips surrounding how to properly maintain your summer garden (educating). Lastly, Dave could reach out to his past clients and see if they will write testimonials he can use on his site (convince).
Writing for Your Online Audience
When it comes to writing for your online audience always start with a good hook. A great opener is important to catch your reader’s attention quickly, draw them in, and keep them interested. Use a statistic or ask a question, but remember to keep your target audience in mind. Take some time to put yourself in your user’s headspace. Read it through their eyes and don’t be too salesy.
Incorporate Call-To-Actions (CTA) in your writing for content marketing. If there is something specific you want your reader to do, shout it out. Be creative and persuasive with your reader and tailor your CTA to your goals.
Creating content regularly can be hard to stay inspired, and blogger burnout is real. Try researching your competitors to see what topics they cover. As you research, keep a list of potential topics that you refer back to. This can help inform and inspire your next decisions in your writing. Try Google Search Console to see the keywords people use to find your website as well. This will give insight into how you can answer any questions that your audience might have. Be consistent in your writing style. Your brand should always be very clear in your writing.
Help Your Content Be Seen
You’ve spent all this time working on and crafting quality content, but now how do we get it seen. It’s important to understand how your audience engages online. Before you start haphazardly pushing content onto the internet, create a content promotion plan. Your content promotion plan will incorporate the following:
Owned Media refers to the content channels you manage. These are things such as your website, blog, and social media profiles. The benefits to pushing content here are the low costs and flexible options.
Earned Media refers to anything picked up by a third party such as another blogger that shares your content.
Paid Media refers to the channels you pay for. This can allow you to target campaigns to a specific audience based on your goals and budget.
Once you know where you want to post those pieces of content, it’s time to create a content marketing calendar. This will help you visualize what content is going where and when. Our friends over at Hubspot have created a great template to help you get started. Make your content calendar achievable! Your time frame should be realistic because if it isn’t your content will never reach its full potential.