Beyond the blog post: taking content marketing further

Content marketing is magic. It works twenty-four hours a day; spreading your business to new customers and delivering you warm leads.

Despite its power, many organisations miss out on prime content marketing opportunities.

We've put together this guide to inspire you with the possibilities. We've included our top tips, to make you an instant expert!

1: Awesome Infographics

Infographics hold a strange power over us. They excite the bit of the brain between creativity and logic. They are the fastest way to digest facts and learn something new.

This inforgraphic shares a message that is dramatic and surprising: Mosquitos and humans are the most dangerous animals to humans. The infographic went viral.

Top tips:

  • Make it interesting. Try hitting zeitgeist. Find some facts behind a news story, or summarise a current trend
  • Keep it simple. Test it out on strangers; see if they can easily digest the infographic and explain it to you
  • Use lots of "design". If it looks bad, people won't engage

Works great for:

  • Products aimed at a geeky or informed audience
  • Getting hard facts across in an engaging way

2: Slides & Slideshare

Slide decks make frequent appearances in online news and SlideShares receive a large volume of inbound interest. Despite their bad reputation from the corporate world, slide decks are a brilliant format for sharing information online. Slides are not just for presenting!

Slides are naturally short and skimmable. They're visual, summarised and allow easy flicking through. A slide deck can cover a whole topic. The breaking-down of a topic into slide-sized chunks helps readers digest the content easily.

Many slide decks have found massive audiences online because their content is useful. For example, the Netflix culture deck and the NSA slides were both widely read.

Top tips:

  • One key message per slide
  • Make it visual. Pages of bullet points wont cut it
  • Keep it short. There's very few cases where you need more than 20 slides

Works great for:

  • Sharing your expertise in a fun way
  • Giving an overview of a new product or service
  • How-to guides
  • Manifestos (e.g. your company culture)

3: Drip email campaigns

Creating email people want to receive is an art, but if you get it right, your content goes straight inboxes, where people look multiple times per day.

Top tips:

  • Keep it simple. One tip well explained beats an essay.
  • Make it bold and visual. People on average spend two seconds determining whether to read/click-through. Give a captivating visual to tease them into engaging.
  • Link through to relevant content. If people want to read more, give them somewhere to go.

Works great for:

  • How to guides
  • Product inspiration
  • A gentle introduction to a complex product

4: Whitepapers and case studies

When you need to build trust with your audience, whitepapers and case studies are a great option. They showcase your knowledge and establish your authority on a subject.

One of our clients explained to us that case studies were key to their enterprise sales. They saw a strong increase in conversion once they offered online case-studies. The case studies proved that they had the ability to solve customers' problems, and showed the brands they'd already helped.

There is a wide range of possible content - from a one-pager case study (e.g. how your solution worked well for a real client) through to an extended whitepaper (e.g. a study on the impact of using your product/service)

Top tips:

  • Photos, logos and illustrations bring whitepapers them to life
  • Make sure your content is easily skimmable. Include a good overall structure of headings and sections. Make sure a brief look at one page tells the reader the title and your organisation's aim

Works great for:

  • Enterprise products
  • New (or unproven) technologies
  • Establishing credibility within a field

5: Videos

Videos can achieve higher engagement & re-sharing than most other media. When visitors first hit a homepage, they will readily watch a video (but may never read the whole page).

Videos captivate audiences in a way static text could never. Showing live demonstrations, speeches and well produced shorts convey a huge amount of information and emotion. Videos require little effort from their viewers.

Videos, particularly of innovative products or funny events, can get a lot of re-sharing. Many young startups have found a video an inexpensive and powerful way to spread news about their vision.

Top tips:

  • Have a single message you want viewers to leave with. You can elaborate on the points, but know clearly what message should be taken away
  • Keep it short. A minute is a good length for introductory content
  • Production values have become important. Videos are easy to do badly, audiences are used to very high production values on TV and film
  • Make the video authentic. It needs to have a clear personality, embodying your organisation. Humanise the content; include humour or make it friendly and approachable.

Works great for:

  • Product launches, particularly innovative products
  • Product guides and introductions
  • Telling your story

We hope you've enjoyed this intro to content marketing. A great content marketing strategy is not just a few isolated publications, it's a continual stream of great quality content over time. Simply publishing a regular stream of small pieces of content will quickly amount to a formidable inbound machine. Start today!

Chris Finneral & David Mack

Founders, SketchDeck

http://sketchdeck.com

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