I'm going to take a wild guess and say that when content was addressed in your last marketing meeting, the next part of the discussion involved brainstorming for a written piece of content — most likely a blog post.
Was I close?
Don't get me wrong; blog content is exceptionally valuable when it comes to generating leads and nurturing your audience through the inbound funnel, but starting and stopping at written articles alone will only halt further opportunities. Plus, you'd be surprised how much more your team can churn out when you open up the possibilities for content creation rather than box them in with writing only articles for the blog.
By utilizing various mediums to create and distribute content, companies can amplify their efforts, build greater influence, and see higher engagement in the long-term. So, if you don't enjoy writing a plethora of articles, don't have capacity, or simply need a boost of creativity (don't we all?), here are a seven trends that work very well:
Gated content is an opportunity we're still seeing many companies miss, which is a shame because it also happens to be a powerful step in your lead generation efforts. While there are dos and don'ts to creating great gated content, it can usually be produced by re-purposing content you already have. Creating comprehensive deep dives out of a few relevant blog posts that address customer pain points and industry trends enables your company to create content worth the download, capture leads, and grow your email list.
For a guide on creating the most effective, downloadable collateral, check out our guide to gated content.
If you understand the value of content, you're probably aware that visuals can make all the difference in terms of engagement. In fact, researchers found that colored visuals increase people's willingness to read a piece of content by 80 percent. And that makes a lot of sense considering we're less inclined to get excited to read a 1,000-word article that's been slapped on TextEdit in the most boring fashion versus an article with quality visuals exemplifying those insights. We need visuals to both entice us to read and also to better comprehend what it is that we're reading.
While our team utilizes in-house designers for infographics, using tools like Visage and Canva to create engaging graphics to complement your content can be the differentiating factor for successful content.
On the Influence & Co. blog, we tested embedding videos within posts for our article on secrets to becoming a thought leader, LinkedIn publishing best practices, and how to build a high-powered content team, and we've seen a lot of value in that content.
I also recently discovered Blab, a company that’s applying Periscope-like principles to how companies can interact with audiences. The tool allows people to tune in and engage with people all over the world on various discussions, debates, live workshops, and more, and that could be a great tool for video content as well.
Brands are really getting creative with ways to engage their followers. American Express is a company with a strategy we love. It uses Instagram to share company updates but also step outside the box with its #MemberMoments series that showcases how cardholders use their rewards.
If you're not already sending a weekly newsletter to your contacts, I highly recommend adding that to your priority list. An email newsletter is a fantastic way to showcase the content your leads probably missed, and it serves as a resource for other industry news and updates.
Our I&Co. Weekly newsletter provides a digest of the latest in content marketing, thought leadership, social media, sales, and more that our audience seems to really enjoy. It's an opportunity for us to share the high-quality content we create while also featuring other great examples from companies in our space.
As you may have read on our blog before, I'm kind of a podcast fiend. Podcasts are growing in popularity, and they're excellent when it comes to reaching your audience and serving as a go-to resource in your space.
The best podcasts I find feature experts coming together to discuss various topics or trends in casual conversations that are thought-provoking, yet easy to understand. It allows audiences to gain insights into who these individuals (and the companies they represent) really are while also educating them in a different way.
Engaging with audiences via webinars is a strategy our team knows well and loves doing, and it's something our audience continues to tune in for. Similar to podcasts, hosting or partnering with another organization for a webinar is a fantastic opportunity to engage your target market in a way that's casual, yet informative and valuable. Plus, it gives you the chance to repurpose those awesome graphics you created with Canva or Visage in your slides.
Our team has partnered with companies like Kissmetrics, Relevance, Scripted, AddThis, and, most recently, LinkedIn to further the discussion about content marketing, social media, thought leadership, and more. Webinars are your chance to dive deep into topics your audience loves by hosting experts to discuss trends and developments, and you can provide that critical human element your audience needs to feel connected to your brand — and, often, the element they can't find through reading blog content alone.
Clearly, staying within the boundaries of the written-content box can prevent you from fully engaging with your audience, and it's something many companies struggle with. Thankfully, there are tools and platforms to help you take advantage of all the different ways to connect with your audience. So step outside the box by using your standard blog content to fuel other channels. You won't regret it.