Regardless of how effective we all know content marketing is, creating consistent, high-quality content is a struggle. You have to think up ideas, find the time actually produce the piece, and then invest more time in promoting that piece.
But, the main reason most content creators struggle is because they fall into the trap of thinking “content = blog post.” Which is so not the case.
In relation to content marketing, content is at its heart information, which can be presented in a variety of formats including videos, white papers, e-books, infographics, research reports, podcasts, how-to guides, pictures and many others.
Getting past the struggle of creating consistent content requires taking a step outside the blog post ‘box’ and considering lesser used forms of content.
Here are a few formats that will help you do just that.
If you have information best suited to a classroom or training setting, a webinar is a fantastic way to present that content. Webinars (web based seminars) can be hosted live, or recorded and watched at your audience’s convenience.
A few examples of solid webinar content include:
- A SaaS company shows customers how to use a brand new feature of their service.
- An organic make-up company gives a tutorial on how to use their products to create a date night look.
- A corporate law firm discusses a new law being proposed, and talks about what that means for their audience.
- A marketing company talks about a new Google update and how that will affect small businesses.
As an added benefit, since webinars are normally live events, you also have the opportunity to create multiple pieces of content around the live event. For example, you could write a recap blog post or upload a recording of the event to YouTube.
Not sure where to start with webinars? Consider expanding a blog post into a longer presentation, or taking a chapter from an eBook and digging into the details.
Or, just ask your audience. Take a question you answer often and turn it into the basis of an informative webinar.
Confession time – I kind of hate videos. I would much rather read an article than watch a video.
But, the same can’t be said for the majority of online users. Just like Shakira’s hips, the numbers don’t lie:
- Videos increase understanding by 74%
- People spend 1/3 of the time they are online watching videos
- Each day 100 million people watch a video online
There is no question that video is an effective means of reaching your audience – and you likely already know it can be pretty effective.
But, what you might not realize is it doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated.
The majority of computers, laptops, phones, and tablets have a half decent video camera. You do not need Hollywood-level equipment to produce a stellar video – you just need good content.
Here are a few ideas for getting the video ideas flowing:
- A conversation between two staff members about a hot topic in your industry
- A short demo of your product
- Discuss a recent post you published and add more details
- Interview an industry expert
- Interview your company's founder/CEO/sales director, etc.
- Do a behind-the-scenes tour
Just remember to keep videos relatively short. If you expect to go over the 15 minute mark, consider whether the topic might be more effectively covered in a webinar, particularly if you are planning to share the video on social.
Podcasts have experienced quite a revival in the last year or so. In fact, the “number of unique monthly podcast listeners has tripled to 75 million from 25 million five years ago” according RawVoice, which tracks podcast downloads.
And, just like videos, you don’t need million dollar equipment to get started.
Here are a few ideas:
- Strip the audio file from a webinar and publish as a podcast
- Record a Skype conversation about a news topic in your industry
- Interview an industry expert
- Record quotes from attendees at a live event and edit into a cohesive podcast
- Pull audio from a longer video (if visuals are not necessary)
- Host a call-in session where your audience can ask questions
Podcasts can also complement other types of content well. For example, your podcast could be embedded in a more detailed blog post or accompany slides.
For most people, creating consistent content often means creating at least one or two blog posts a month. When you are barely able to do that, it can be overwhelming to consider taking on a piece of ‘big’ content.
The beauty of ‘big’ pieces of content, such as eBooks, whitepapers, and in-depth research documents, is that they tend to have a longer shelf life than a blog post. So, while you might write a blog post that becomes stale in just a few months, a well-researched white paper could be relevant for years.
In addition to their longer shelf life, ‘big’ content also allows you to go into more details and provide audience members who are dedicated to your industry with more meaty details.
So, what is an over-booked marketer or business owner to do if they want to create larger content?
- Collaborate: Find a company in your field who is not a direct competitor and team up. Maybe they write and your design guy makes it look good. Or maybe they do the research and you do the writing. In addition to requiring less work, collaborating can also increase the reach of your content.
- Outsource: Consider hiring a writer or an entire company to produce a more in-depth piece for content for you. You can either turn the project over completely, or just hire out the parts you don’t have the band width for.
- Long Term Goal: Blog posts need to be published regularly, you can produce a larger piece of content over several months. Break the content piece down into smaller pieces and work steadily over a few months instead of trying to push it out in weeks.
If you aren’t ready to start recording videos and an eBook is out of your reach, a content upgrade might be just what you need to up your content game.
So, what is a content upgrade?
According to Crazy Egg: “A content upgrade is ‘bonus’ content that is extremely specific to your post or page’s content – given away for free, in exchange for an email address.”
For example, you write a post detailing how small business can manage their own social media accounts. Your content upgrade is a check list of weekly social media steps, for example: “Schedule 10 posts, check for reviews,” etc.
Or, you publish a blog post titled “15 Sources For Free Stock Photos” and offer an upgrade of “10 additional free photo sources.”
There are three key aspects of a successful content upgrade: it has to be free, useful, and very closely to your content.
These short pieces of content generally won’t take more than an hour to create, and they give your audience the thrill of a free bonus.
As an added advantage, it will help you grow your email list, which you can then use to get more reach for future pieces of content. It is a whole cycle of win.
Creating consistently good content your audience actually wants to read and share doesn’t have to be a struggle. With so many different content mediums, there is likely at least one format – besides blog posts – that will work with your schedule and your audience.
Have you stepped outside the blog post ‘box’? What format has been most effective for you?
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