Because it can help with SEO and lead conversion, while also building thought leadership for your company and executives and/or subject matter experts. Plus, you can carve it up like a Thanksgiving turkey and share the slices where they’re most relevant.
With that in mind, here are four budget-friendly tips for those of us who don’t have the resources to create magazines or feature-length films but can knock out engaging 1,000-plus word pieces and compelling videos.
1. START WITH RESEARCH
If you’re going to ask your target audience to take several minutes out of their day to read an article or watch a video, it had better be relevant. Learn what challenges your audience is facing, and you’ll know what resonates with them.
When you strike a nerve with your audience, you’ll get much stronger results. You’re not asking them to read or view something — you’re giving them the tools they need to build their business and solve their problems.
To get inside your audiences’ heads most effectively, you’ll need to:
- Review persona research. You’ve probably done this already if you’ve developed any sort of marketing strategy at all. Rely on those insights. If you don’t have them, get them.
- Know industry trends and nuances. You might be aware of an industry trend, but do you understand whether it’s limited by geography? Or if it changes based on demographics? For example, a nursing shortage is hitting hospitals and healthcare centers across the U.S., but which areas are under duress the most, and why?
- Understand where your company, product, and service fit in. Your sales team can be an invaluable resource here. Presumably there’s a reason your product was developed, or new service was rolled out. What problem does it solve for your customers? How is it differentiated in the market? How is the sales team talking about it internally and with customers?
2. GIVE THEM SOMETHING ONLY YOU CAN
Your research isn’t over – not yet.
It’s time to tell your target audiences something they don’t already know, and tie that revelation to what you’re selling.
For example, you could:
- Add a few questions to customer surveys you’re already doing that will provide exclusive insights into the types of challenges your products/services can solve.
- Commission a study with a polling firm, where you can target the geographic and demographic specifics of an industry or consumer audience.
- Dedicate internal resources for an exclusive study that attracts interest in the highest levels of your industry.
The time and money spent on this can pay huge dividends. Polling might cost several thousand dollars or more, but it could also provide the base for a plethora of content pieces (which can themselves be sliced up and offered in bite-size chunks) that ultimately establish industry thought leadership for your company and subject-matter experts and generate tons of leads.
Another way to get original research is through social listening.
3. MAKE IT ENGAGING
If your writing isn’t compelling or video production is lame, you’re wasting your time… and could hurt your brand more than you help it. Think about what appeals to you — and your target audience. If you’re trying to reach Gen X engineers about a technical product, you’ll definitely use a different writing voice than you would for 20-something marketing professionals.
Regardless, these are some best practices for written work:
- Start with an outline. Even if you hated them in school, give it a try. The worst thing it could do is organize your thoughts.
- Use subheads. This isn’t a term paper – try to have skimmable sections, paragraphs that are only a couple sentences, and a variety of sentence lengths. Make it pleasing to the eye.
- Make it visual. People engage much more with visual content.
- Use — or hire — talent. If your internal team doesn’t have the time or skillset to pull off a long written piece, that’s okay. Have a professional writer tell your story (with plenty of input from your team), then have a strong editor or team of reviewers in-house ensure that it’s on-brand and compelling.
For videos, you’ll want to be very sensitive to the length — keep it under two minutes, unless it’s a webinar. In that case, make sure to tie in with a content platform to offer more information to viewers.
4. SHARE IT!
Your long content piece can be just the start of a content feast. Individual sections, or even single sentences, can be shared as hard-hitting attention-grabbers, or offered as part of a drip campaign to keep your audience asking for more.
Formats could include:
- White papers
- Presentations, including SlideShare
- Blog posts
- Emails, especially as part of a customer relationship management (CRM) strategy
- Social media posts, written and visual
- Web articles
- Native content (paid)
- Paid social media ads
You’ll also need to decide whether your content is gated or ungated to start, but you’ll want to set it free at some point to be sure you’re getting the maximum benefit from ll your hard work.
Incidentally, this post is less than 1,000 words. And that’s okay! That’s the final (bonus) tip: Make your content pieces only as long as they need to be. After all, the title of this post said “quick tips.”