There is an entire world of content out there beyond blogs. It’s true, they are one of the most widely used forms of content. 4 out of 5 brands use blogs as part of their marketing strategy. They’re cited as the most effective type of content for lead generation – the number one concern of B2B marketers in 2017.
They also may be the best gateway content for many small businesses. Digital marketing expert Neil Patel recommends establishing a blog on your website and then adding in other forms of content to boost website traffic and conversion rates.
But, when it comes to content marketing, blogs are just the beginning.
In-Person Events and Webinars
What’s the most effective type of content for B2B marketing for overall marketing goals? According to the B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends 2016 report, the most effective tactic isn’t publishing a blog. It’s event marketing. According to Content Marketing Institute, 75 percent of B2B marketers say in-person events are the most effective tactic. Webinars are the second most effective.
What do events and webinars have in common? Human interaction. They offer a group environment that can be leveraged for networking and relationship building. This is where brands can put a face to the services, building trust with potential customers.
These types of content also serve as an opportunity for marketers to learn more about their target audience. Q&A segments can reveal insights about what your buyers’ concerns and expectations are – the type of knowledge you’re not going to find in a customer feedback survey.
The most dramatic benefit of events and webinars is their ability to establish brand authority. One successful event has more potency than hundreds of blog posts.
What about B2C marketing?
A recent study of content marketing trends in Europe, which involved 2,600 marketers from various industries, found that blog posts and articles, followed by email newsletters, are the most effective content forms. Another survey with a focus on B2C industries revealed newsletters to be the most effective, followed by in-person events.
Email newsletters play a key role in nurturing leads. They are used to keep your audience interested and to educate leads as they move through the sales funnel. They are also key for your customer retention strategies. This is where marketers can send out segmented deals and offers to re-engage or reward existing customers.
What is the best frequency for emailing your newsletter? The most successful business bloggers send out a newsletter with info about their latest blog posts once a week. Whether weekly, monthly, or quarterly, as with your blog posting schedule, consistency is important.
Visual Content Marketing
What about video marketing? Infographics? While visual media is yet to be nominated as the most effective form of content, it is the favorite by many experts for the future. By 2019, video is expected to claim more than 80 percent of all web traffic. In the US, it may account for as much as 85 percent of traffic.
Video is known to be a powerful inbound tactic. As many as 65 percent of business decision makers visit a brand’s website after watching a video and 39 percent contact the vendor. If 21st-century society continues its futile attempt to move at the speed of light, the convenience and easy recall of video will make it a perfect medium for communicating with on-the-go consumers who don’t have time for blogs.
Infographics, as well as online presentations, are rising content marketing tools. Like video, they’re easy-to-digest and great for conveying information quickly. They’re also frequently shared across the web, motivating social media engagement, and back links to help boost your SEO. They will score a few points in the brand authority category as well.
More brands are using social media as part of their content marketing strategy than blogs. While Instagram posts and LinkedIn articles may not be the most powerful sales tools, social is where you can build interest around your business and express relevance. This is where a brand stays current and in the minds of consumers with:
- Announcements of news, updates, deals, and, of course, blog posts
- Customer service – 59 percent of US users believe social media has made it easier to have their customer service issues resolved
- Reach – the easiest way to reach a broad audience, and also to get the message out to demographics that are heavy social media users, such as millennials and baby boomers, is with social media content
White papers, case studies, eBooks. These are the icing on the cake of content. They’re not flashy. They’re not primed for sharing. What they are is useful and potent. Here is the heavy-value content that convinces leads to convert, seals the purchase, and reaffirms to your audience that a brand is worth doing business with.
- Case studies, in particular, are an ideal material for social proof. They provide real-world evidence that a brand’s product or services work.
- White papers go deeper than blog posts, revealing unique industry insights backed by research. They help to fortify a brand as an authority. Digital marketers can repurpose their white papers into informative blog posts, getting more value out of the initial investment.
- eBooks are all of the above and more. They can be a series of repurposed blog posts, bringing together relatable topics in one place. They can have the depth of industry research of white papers or include the real-world experience of case studies. The real draw of eBooks is that they are the outlet for unique, even creative content. This is where marketers can veer away from the style, tone, and format of all the brand blog posts and newsletters. As long as it’s industry relevant and provides value. It’s also a platform for a more thoughtful use of design to make the content that much more inviting to the audience.
Blogs Are the Backbone of Your Content Marketing
These are only some of the different types of content, that aren’t blogs. There are more – apps, podcasts, online games, free tools, quizzes. Can a content marketing strategy be successful without a blog?
While blogs are only one of many forms of content, they are still the core for most marketers. Blogs are where we attract organic traffic, connect with consumers, and let the world know how worth it a brand really is. They are also where we write about our webinars and events, what we link to in our email and social media marketing, where we integrate our visual media, showcase our white papers and eBooks to download, or feature our case studies. They’re the backbone.
What would happen to you if you didn’t have a backbone? You’d flop. Why do that to your marketing?