It never hurts to have a shneaky peek over the fence to see how your neighbour is keeping the yard.
Have they mowed the lawn? Are the Christmas decorations still up? And what is the name of that designer patio furniture?
We’re humans; we’re nosy by nature. If you channel that curiosity in the right way though, there’s value to be found. When it comes to marketing for instance, taking a look at your neighbours can help you understand the types of content that content marketers are creating.
How can this information help? Apart from adding a fabulous new outdoor set to your garden, you can better understand how your competitors are reaching their customers and what formats are most popular for engaging with prospects.
If you read no further, at least know this: these are the most common types of content that content marketers are creating in 2020, according to our report on content marketing:
- Landing Pages
- Videos and Vlogs
- Case Studies
- eBooks and Whitepapers
If you want to know why they’re the most commonly created types of content, then say no more.
A massive 86 percent of the Irish content marketers we surveyed for our report, Irish Content Marketing: In Search of Strategy, use email in their campaigns. That’s an impressive amount of people who all feel the same way.
Don’t agree? Consider this: only 36 percent of people can agree that pepperoni is the best pizza topping. It’s a classic!
There are a few reasons why email is popular in content marketing:
- It’s an easy method to open up a one-to-one line of communication with prospects and customers.
- On-page elements and the fact it’s delivered individually help bolster branding efforts.
- Average click through rates (CTR) are one to two percentage points higher than other channels, like display, search and website landing pages.
- Pulling analytics on performance is simple.
- It’s a breeze to create, write and send (though, we wouldn’t say the same of optimising it for success).
In short, email usually has marketers feeling like the first bite of an amazing slice of pizza when they’re doing it right.
Is email dead? Well, have you ever seen a man look as happy as Schmidt does eating that pie?
Every content marketer has had the dreaded question from a parent or relative at some point.
“What is it that you do for a living?”
Blogs are usually the go-to answer as the type of content that content marketers create. Our report says as much, with 73 percent of marketers saying blogs have a home in their strategies.
It’s easy to see the appeal. A blog is one of the main avenues that a company has to rank on the first page of Google for searches that are valuable to them. That’s incredibly sought after real estate considering that nearly three in every four people don’t bother to go past the first page.
Blogs play an important role in the buyer’s journey, helping prospects move through the awareness and consideration stages to their decision. They also provide valuable linking opportunities, which contribute to the health and authority of the website.
When it comes to reaching an audience you don’t already have, blogs are the building blocks of a successful inbound strategy.
3. Landing Pages
Landing pages are the showers of the internet. They’re always there when you need them, even if you’re only using them for 10 minutes at a time. They help people go from dirty to clean; from prospect to lead.
But if you’ve ever used a faulty shower head then you know it can be frustrating and lead you to replacing it. Here’s where landing pages and showers differ (you know, among other ways): if a landing page has a bad user experience, prospects will leave instead of trying to fix the fault. They won’t submit their details, download the asset and enter an email workflow. They’ll just vanish.
Over two-thirds of respondents to our report use landing pages in their content marketing campaigns. They’re the bedrock of a content marketing strategy and whether its goal is to educate customers about services or host a valuable asset to attract leads, they’re not going away anytime soon.
All types of content aren’t created equal though. Review the analytics to make sure your landing page isn’t a faulty shower head, turning people off the experience. Depending on what your goal is for website visitors, this could take the form of a high bounce rate, a high exit rate or a low conversion rate.
If a problem is there, don’t hesitate to replace it.
4. Videos and Vlogs
It’s the era of YouTube, Instagram and whatever TikTok is, so it’s no surprise to see videos and vlogs being used by 53 percent of Irish marketers. Consumers have come to expect brands to communicate with them across a number of different channels.
There’s an underlying reason why it’s so popular and it’s not because the last marketing campaign failed to impress the executives.
Social media algorithms favour video as a choice of content because it’s so great at driving engagement – which is what ultimately ends up creating a snowball effect for impressions.
LinkedIn’s case study on Gong.io, a revenue intelligence technology company, is a great example of how businesses are achieving this. Gong.io hosted a book giveaway but instead of having users register via their website or a form, they simply directed them to post a comment on the LinkedIn announcement post. At the same time, the company had its employees create short video reviews of the very books they were giving away so that they could capitalise on the short bursts of engagement the page was getting.
Social traction begets social traction. Before Gong.io knew it, it went from 4,000 to 26,000 followers on LinkedIn in under a year. Many of the followers came from this campaign alone, showing just how powerful video can be in under the right circumstances.
5. Case Studies
It’s a surprise that only 47 percent of Irish marketers have created a case study in the past year. The goal of content marketing to an extent is to provide value to the reader.
You could argue there’s nothing more valuable than showing them how your company provides value.
Case studies are a vital part of decision-stage content, especially in longer sales cycles that have multiple decision-makers involved. Where your previous content may well have gotten you on the list of the final six or eight options, it could very well be a case study that wins the purchase. You won’t often get many chances to impress.
Companies are starting to understand that case studies don’t have to be drab; they can be pretty fab. Unique web designs and videos can give new life to how a case study is portrayed. Look no further than Square, a company primarily known for its Point-Of-Sale (POS) product, for inspiration. Its documentary series shows how its business is helping others realise dreams of their own.
There was a point in content marketing where infographics were all the rage. Want to show your clients how to build your product? Infographic. How about compare each of your products? An infographic will do that.
While infographics have evolved to have more elaborate designs, so has the industry and its favourite way to promote information. Videos, interactive assets and eBooks have taken away much of the functionality that infographics once enjoyed.
It’s easy to see why just 45 percent of marketers are using them nowadays.
They still serve a valuable purpose though. They remain an effective way to convey information in a friendly, bite-sized format – which is arguably more necessary nowadays than before, where companies perhaps used to have more of visitors’ attention spans to work with.
Infographics are also a way to make information fun to digest while still supporting great SEO practices, as businesses can preface or explain the asset using keyword phrases and user intent.
7. eBooks and Whitepapers
As far as downloadable assets go, there are none more popular than eBooks and whitepapers. But with only 41 percent of Irish marketers using them in the last year, research suggests they’re not the staple type of content in a content marketing strategy that they once were.
Each have different functionalities. An eBook should be designed to be more pleasurable to read, where a whitepaper is more of a functional format; its goal is to deliver (often dense) information.
In the content marketing community, whitepapers are nearing extinction. That largely has to do with the strides that design has made and the renewed emphasis on the customer experience in the face of heightened competition.
EBooks are generally a salesperson’s best friend. They can clearly explain services and dive in-depth on products, letting the sales team focus more on pushing the intangibles that the company can provide.
While eBooks have been the defacto for reports, we’re beginning to see that change now with the improved functionality that web pages provide. Here at 256, we even opted for a web page to host our content marketing report instead of an eBook.
(Although we did print an eBook out for our favourite people).
With just 33 percent of Irish marketers using them in the past year, we’re left with webinars. The figure is likely lower than it should be given the split between audio formats for B2B and B2C.
Webinars are ideal for B2B audiences as they give a format for salespeople or product experts to go in-depth on a niche subject and field questions from the audience after. Where podcasts are slightly more suited in B2C because they’re so popular with consumers already.
Put another way, there’s not a great deal of people who want to listen to a weekly podcast about predicting when factory machinery will need a maintenance check thanks to its energy usage contrasted with OEM specifications.
That’s better as a once-off, let’s chat about it type of webinar. On the other hand, there’s a good chance that a weekly podcast about fashion will do well. It’s something that changes often and can attract a large audience.
Regardless, webinars and podcasts certainly have their place as valuable types of content in content marketing strategies. At the end of the day, it’s getting the most value out of them via promotion that’s the trickiest part of it all.