We use the word “content” all the time in B2B digital marketing.
Content drives engagement, delights and assists your audience, and gives people confidence in your brand.
Companies that actively generate digital marketing content often focus on blogs and industry articles, which can be very effective, but aren’t the only types of content that exist.
The SageFrog 2021 B2B Marketing Mix Report shows that content creation remains among the top priorities for digital marketers, and the accessibility and potential speed of production make it easy to understand why.
But hiring an intern to write blog after blog about your products will likely generate little buzz. The most successful marketers are continuously pushing the boundaries and going beyond the blog to create engaging pieces that generate more leads and sales.
By focusing on your target audience’s key challenges and the steps they take to seek solutions, you can develop genuinely insightful, interesting, and informative pieces that drive customer interaction and strengthen the value of your brand.
Let’s look at some of the various non-blog content resources your digital marketing team can consider as you develop your 2021 content marketing campaign.
Ebooks are long-form resources that take significant effort to produce, but the results can be well worth it. At the core of a practical eBook is a well-written piece that offers a deeper level of insight beyond the answers your customers can find in short blogs and Google snippets. An eBook is an opportunity to dig into thought leadership surrounding methodologies and solutions about your products, services, or industry. eBooks also offer substantial space for custom graphics, images, and other visual elements that don’t often get included in average blog posts.
Marketing eBooks don’t have to be hundreds or even tens of pages long, but careful consideration must be made to ensure an eBook is the right vehicle to deliver your content. This begs the old age question: to gate or not to gate!? You could spend weeks developing the most gorgeous and well-written eBook, but if you gate it behind a form while similar information is available to your audience by another brand for “free,” you may risk losing leads or downloads.
Case studies are like juiced-up testimonials that showcase specific instances where your products or services have clearly demonstrated their value. These real-life examples help attract and convert by providing familiar industry scenarios and describing exactly how you helped make things better. Case studies should be primarily educational but allow you to discuss your capabilities and quantifiable benefits.
Start with a relatable client scenario that demanded an above-and-beyond response, and provide details of how you solved the client’s needs from beginning to end. At the end, recap the key benefits or capabilities you provided, and give people a way to connect with you. These guided industry stories help trigger memories among readers of times they’ve been in the same situation, serving as a fantastic way to convince people to reach out to you for help.
Whitepapers are persuasive, authoritative pieces where you discuss a particular issue or topic and provide your proven stance or solution. Whitepapers are typically denser than blogs but more concise than an eBook. Similar to a case study, a whitepaper can showcase those critical pain points your target customers face but takes the angle of explaining all the research and development you’ve done to support the efficacy of your methods. These pieces help solidify your place as a trusted expert and thought leader in your industry and often hold value and relevance for years with only minor routine copy and design updates.
Infographics have become a staple of communication at all levels of customer and client engagement. These visual representations of data and information help get your messages across without requiring your audience to read every single word of a study or article. Infographics can present information in a variety of easily digestible ways with heavy use of photographs, icons, diagrams, illustrations, and graphic representations of timelines, operational processes, or rankings. Visually unique and striking infographics with bursts of interesting information that hook the viewer make for highly shareable pieces that can generate a lot of attention and build recognition and trust.
Checklists position you as an expert in a particular process or procedure. They can supplement your existing products and services with step-by-step breakdowns and how-tos for maximizing efficacy or could be an adjacent resource that acts as a “definitive guide” to a commonly sought process or procedure. In demonstrating your expertise through the checklist format, you showcase your ability to present critical information in streamlined and understandable chunks as well as consistency in your approach to problems. Checklists should be easy to use and share, and regularly reviewed for accuracy as you update your processes and best practices.
Videos offer limitless flexibility, bound only by your imagination, time, and money. It might often seem like marketing budgets never include enough of those elements, but there are tons of easily accessible online resources designed to help businesses create simple instructional videos, product overviews, and other marketing-focused video content. Often, all you need is a camera, microphone, and YouTube account. Of course, investing more resources into professional marketing video production opens up more creative options.
Better production quality makes your videos more attractive, professional, and authoritative, but it’s not critical. When planning a video content piece, think about what ideas or concepts would be best delivered to your audience through images and sounds as opposed to reading text on a page.
Besides the product and process-related video ideas mentioned previously, secondary resources and interest pieces such as expert interviews or industry news podcasts can help solidify your position as a trusted, go-to industry name.
Digital Marketing Beyond Content Creation
The content ideas listed above are just a few of the most common non-blog pieces that B2B digital marketers are considering for the 2021 campaigns. The 2021 Marketing Mix Report shows that, while content creation will continue to be a pillar of digital marketing, it’s far from the only priority.
Website development still leads the way, and social media, email marketing, and digital advertising are among just a few of the other tactics that all come together to form a fully optimized marketing campaign.