Are you looking for use some advanced content marketing methods for getting your message out and generating leads? Here are six types of more demanding but also worthwhile kinds of content that just might be what you need to get the emails and phone calls coming in.

I’ll telling you right up front - these content marketing tools require more time, material and effort. You don’t have to use all of them but it’s good to be aware of them when you think about trying something different to create leads.

 

Demanding but effective types of content

White papers

  • More than 60% of B2B marketers use white papers in content marketing
  • More than 50% of them describe them as very effective

White papers, longer documents presenting subjects from the perspective of “hard” data, are one of the most time-consuming forms of content. It’s also one of the most important content marketing tactics there are.

White papers are similar to ebooks but need a more formal style and focus on data and surveys. Information presented in white papers is supported by footnotes and sources and the whole text appeals to a more serious and advanced audience.

You need a lot of time for white papers so you need to carefully consider if they’re right for you before getting started.

Form and structure

Even though it’s not something for light reading, you still need to be sure that your white paper is readable and accessible. As in every type of content described here, use headers, bold, underlining and visual cues to help readers make their way.

The longer your document is, the more important the table of content becomes. Use chapter titles that are clear and refer to material covered there and make it easy for readers to go to exactly what they’re looking for.

It’s important to use graphics to make visual distinctions between important sections like those that contain statistical data. Use charts to illustrate the meaning of stats. To increase the marketing potential, put something that identifies you in the document - logo, colors, etc. - so you stay in readers’ minds.

What to watch out for

Take care to ensure the credibility of the sources of the information that you use. White papers contain a lot of “hard” data and it’s important that they be accurate. Avoid stories and anecdotes and don’t unnecessarily drag out your text.

When and how best to use

  • When you create text for advanced readers looking for detailed and reliable information
  • When you want to build your reputation as a specialist and trusted source of information

Ebooks

  • Ebooks are becoming more popular every year, with huge yearly jumps in the value of the market
  • 72% of ebook readers read them to learn something and not just for entertainment
  • 55% of marketers say ebooks are effective marketing tools

Ebooks created as part of a content marketing strategy are often the “light” version of a white paper or guide. You can be more descriptive in them, use less data and the tone is less formal. They don’t require exact sources although can always include them. They have more of a “book” style and include opinions while taking readers step by step through a process.

Form and structure

If your ebook has over a certain number of pages, you need to be careful to organize your table of contents while remembering that ebooks are often read on a number of different devices like phones and tablets so be sure to publish them in formats like pdf, mobi and epub. If you don’t plan to publish your book on paper and you’re not restricted by the number of pages, pay attention to the amount of whitespace and divide paragraphs as you would in blog articles and always do what you can to make everything easier to read.

What to watch out for

Remember that not everyone has time to read things from beginning to end. Try to keep your language fairly straightforward and direct. Ebooks should be an easy to digest bit of educational material and not a masterpiece of linguistic achievement so keep it simple. If the ebook doesn’t have to be printed, try to present graphic information to make reading and understanding easier.

When and how best to use

  • For creating general guides that are too long for a blog
  • For collecting email addresses for downloading the ebook

Case studies

  • 71% of content marketers use case studies
  • 63% of marketers say they are a very effective form of marketing content

Case studies are a form of content that use practical example to illustrate and explain events, methods and processes. This is a very informative variety of content marketing but requires accuracy and effort to do well.

The priority of case studies is to provide practical methods of the application of theoretical knowledge. For this, you’ll need to cast an analytical eye on the things you describe. Focus on presenting solutions for problems your readers may have.

Get an idea of what your readers are interested in and what they want to learn before you start working on a case study. Make sure your content and language are matched to the level of knowledge and make a content plan.

Form and structure

Case studies should contain graphics and charts because they help to get your point across and ensure that readers understand what you are presenting. Use terminology and references that are appropriate for the level of familiarity your readers have with the subject.

General case study plan:

  • Headline: Who, what and how, the goals you have – 10 to 15 words.
  • The challenge that was faced: Describe the situation and what you wanted to change and why.
  • The solution: A description of how you addressed the problem and what was changed with which methods.
  • Results: Show what changed and what results were achieved. Use “before” and “after” examples and focus of data and statistics instead of vague terms.
  • Call to action: Add a call to action like “Contact us” to take immediate advantage of any interest that readers may have after reading the case study.

Remember that you can create extra related content in the form of articles, graphics, reports and microcontent.

What to watch out for

The presentation of the process is not the case study. Try to explain what you’re sharing so to make the lessons clear for the reader. Put yourself in the place of the reader and describe events in a way that a layman can understand them clearly. The goal is the introduce the reader to new ideas, expand existing knowledge and offer plans for putting it into practice.

When and how best to use

  • When you want to teach through real examples
  • When you want to show what your company or product can do
  • When you want to show that your solution helps businesses

Infographics

  • Infographics are 30 times more likely to be read than regular text
  • People remember 80% of what they see and 20% of what they read

Infographics are one of the most frequently shared forms of content. Like some other kinds of content marketing, they are great tools for building traffic on your site. They require some graphic skills to do right but they pay off if properly promoted.

Information presented in visual form is much more accessible and easily processed. As mentioned earlier, pictures are processed sixty thousand times faster than text. We’re visual creatures so why not take advantage of that in your content marketing?

Piktochart is a very useful tool for creating infographics and offers a basic version for free.

Form and structure

Infographics are typically long and narrow with text from top to bottom like an internet page. Keep your statements to the point, short and direct, and stay away from long passages.

Use icons and vector illustrations, like those found on flaticon.com, to visually present what you would otherwise use text for. Don’t be afraid of using whitespace to make things easier to read. The most important thing is to make your infographic easy to visually navigate so keeping things simple should be your priority.

What to watch out for

If your infographic is very colourful and contains lots of additional visual elements, it can become too busy. Put elements together in such a way that they lead the eye on a path from top to bottom.

To make the content fit together, apply the principle of the reverse pyramid. At the beginning, set out what the infographic is all about and then go from general to specific. Put links at the bottom for any references you made in the content of the infographic.

When and how best to use

  • When you want to drive traffic to your site
  • When you want to present information visually
  • When you want to create text that is quickly read

Interviews with thought leaders

  • 81% of marketers that tried influencer marketing say it was effective
  • 51% of marketers say influencer marketing gains more valuable customers based on their trust in the influencer

Conducting interviews can be time consuming and difficult to arrange but they get attention. They show readers that you recognise that someone has something interesting to say and you went through the trouble of setting up the conversation. Readers like them because they offer a different point of view and insider information. They’re also good from a content marketing perspective because they appeal to the fans of the person being interviewed, giving you a chance to expose them to you and your brand.

Form and structure

Interviews are a back-and-forth conversation so make sure they are correctly presented in text form and don’t be afraid to edit them for content and relevance.

What to watch out for

You sometimes have to “clean up” the recorded interview to make speech conform to the rules of written language. Keep the meaning the same and stay faithful to facts but try to keep the flow of the conversation intact. Always be sure that you have full consent to publish the contents of the interview.

When and how best to use

  • When you want to enhance your reputation by association with others
  • To enhance your credibility as an authority
  • To develop relationships with opinion leaders

Educational films

  • Like some other forms of content here, visual communication works faster and better
  • Widely available tools make creating video easier than ever

Video is all over the internet. Film engages us like nothing else and we live in an age when people actually make a living from producing films for Youtube and everyone has a high-quality video camera in their pocket. Creating films for content marketing can be time consuming and costly depending on what you want to do and it may not be for everyone but the benefits can be amazing if it fits your needs.

Form and structure

As with articles, text presented in films should use the principle of the inverted pyramid and go from general to specific. Use video to show things that you can’t communicate in text.

What to watch out for

Don’t make your films too long - from five to twenty mintues should be enough. If you’re posting to social media pages, you’ll have to shorten them more to stay within time or file size limits.

When and how best to use

  • When you have a budget for producing films
  • When you want to tell a story and engage viewers
  • When you’re targeting an audience between 15 and 30 years old who are active users of Youtube, Snapchat and Vine

Summary

Content marketing is a must in today’s world but you have lots of choices when it comes to which one is best for you. Create content that speaks to the needs and interests of your audience and always be on the lookout for new ways to reach them. Stick to a good plan and watch traffic to your site rise and your reputation as an expert grow.

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