Everyone loves a good blog post. Or do they? When it comes to creating content that connects with your audience, the type of content you produce is just as important as what it has to say. That’s a good reason to diversify your content formats — and to pay special attention to the types of content that people most want to consume.
According to NetLine’s 2020 State of B2B Content Consumption Report, there are three kinds of content that people like to engage with most, and no, none of them require a pivot to video. Below, we’ve broken down what you need to know about each type so that you can start putting them to work in your marketing strategy.
eBooks, which vary widely in terms of both scope and length, are excellent tools for engaging with (and expanding) your audience. And download per download, they’re far and away the most impactful type of content you can create.
In NetLine’s report, the success of the eBook format is traced to its versatility. Within their pages, they can contain anything from in-depth case studies to industry-guiding thought leadership, leaving your business a lot of room to adapt the message to what benefits you.
For the reader, effective eBooks provide an in-depth look at whatever they’re trying to learn about. More so than with articles on your blog, there’s an expectation with an eBook that it’s going to be a true deep dive — so much so that readers are willing to exchange their contact information with you in order to get access.
To make sure you get the most out of your eBook, focus on producing high-quality, highly informative content, and pair it with eye-catching design to keep readers interested. And gate it, but don’t put into place too many barriers to obtaining it — just a form and a button should be all that people need to do to gain access.
2. White Papers
Coming in hot at number two of the content people most want to consume is whitepapers. NetLine describes them as “the closest things content marketers have to scientific studies.”
Whitepapers boost brand authority in big ways, serving a similar purpose to eBooks while focusing primarily on data and formal conclusions. They’re less about pushing a certain product or service and more about staking yourself out as a company that really knows what it’s doing. They also serve to assist you in gathering more contacts.
In the world of content marketing, where it seems like every topic has already been dissected and re-dissected over and over again, a white paper is your opportunity to present something totally original. Because you’re using your own data and insights, your final product is something that your audience won’t find anywhere else, and that helps it stand out from the competition.
Keep your format top of mind when creating a whitepaper to prevent it from getting dry. Include a formal summary at the beginning that breaks down the key points readers will find within, and further summarize the main takeaways throughout the piece with call-out boxes and sidebars.
We don’t know about you, but we love a good guide — and so do consumers. Guides are “designed to walk a reader through a topic or procedure step-by-step from start to finish,” explains NetLine, and this definition helps explain why they tend to be such a hit.
As an authority in your field, your customers expect you to know things that they don’t. By their nature, guides are an opportunity for you to prove you do while engaging with your audience in a more colloquial tone. And because they break down confusing tactics in a friendly and more personable way, they do a great job at helping you build trust and likeability in addition to brand authority.
There’s a ton of potential in utilizing guides in content marketing, especially in terms of SEO. Strategize on the topics that you know you can lend authority to, and produce guides that are targeted to leads at various stages of the buyer’s journey. There’s also lots of distribution potential — including emails, social media, and gated landing pages — and any informative, well-written guide is always going to have traction with its audience.
What’s On The Horizon?
We’re all for planning ahead, which is why we also scoped out what type of content is turning a corner in terms of popularity, according to the NetLine report. And it looks like webinars take the cake.
Per the report, webinars have a smaller reach since they’re mostly associated with prospects who are further down the funnel, but they’re also massively successful in serving their purpose. And with so many live events being canceled, it makes sense to focus on online events more and capitalize on digital engagement as much as possible.
The best content strategy: focus on what works. That means turning your attention to the formats listed above — and keeping an eye out for what’s coming.
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