As consumers broaden their online activities and search habits, it becomes increasingly difficult for businesses to expand their content marketing efforts and keep pace.
However, savvy small business owners realize it’s about more than just the content itself. The most effective content marketing campaigns give thought to how the central message is framed and conveyed, and to do that you’ll need to define its purpose.
Create a Single Message
Focusing your marketing message can help define the parameters for your next content marketing campaign and ensure you use the right forms. With that in mind, consider whether you’re attempting to:
- Inform, teach, inspire or educate
- Entertain or pique people’s interest
- Persuade or encourage
- Start a dialogue or create debate
This practice lends itself well to information consumption habits. Recent studies by 3M Corporation and Zabisco suggest 90 percent of all information transmitted to the brain is visual, and you’ll need to make sure the central message is immediately apparent, even at a glance (HubSpot).
In the context of content marketing, this means audiences will respond to visual forms of communication, but there will be no one-size-fits-all approach. Below is a look at seven content formats that attract and receive the most attention online.
Mixed or Rich Media
The written word can be a powerful thing when supported by key images, interactive graphics, charts or some other kind of visual medium; however, your choice should reflect the preferences of your demographic to capture and hold their attention. Content that contains rich media addresses and solves a specific problem. It is often used as a lead generation tool with storytelling elements dispersed by social media channels. That said, the concept can be used to great effect in the construction of shareable blog articles.
The online landscape has changed over the last few weeks and months with the introduction of Google’s “Mobilegeddon” algorithm update following a prolonged push toward mobile optimization. Additionally, Nielsen research indicates iPhone and Android users who are 18 and over spend 30 hours a month, or 65 percent more of their time, using apps to access the information they want when compared to just two years ago. The marriage of mobile apps and effective content marketing strategies is becoming the new paradigm in online audience engagement.
Digital Publishing and E-Books
These are the electronic equivalent of traditional print publications and benefit from cost-effective digital distribution channels. As such, deep content of 15,000 words or more may be best suited for this particular format as it is more likely to be taken seriously. This is not to say that short-form content has nothing to gain from receiving the e-book treatment, just that results will vary.
It isn’t difficult to see what advantages online video campaigns hold as their ability to go viral more often than other forms of content. Consider Lace Anchors and the company’s branded video, which addresses a major concern many have about their footwear and attire: Whether it makes them look cool. Besides achieving a high standard, the video and its related tutorials have gone on to receive hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube.
Infographics and Words in Pictures
When it comes to infographics, color is king as it can say a lot about your business. Last year, Shutterstock released its third annual infographic on design-trend data using data from 350 million all-time downloads to explore recent and emerging trends from around the globe.
Findings indicate flat designs receive 200% more downloads, searches for images with an Instagram style filters were up 661%. Meanwhile, searches for pictures portraying people often create an emotional bond and saw search queries rise to 347%. If that isn’t an argument for the validity and effectiveness of infographics and the power of a well-formed and visual idea, then what is?
Animation and Animated Content
While animation is often regarded as a way to simplify a message it can become a useful tool in managing audience perception. By using fictional characters, settings and scenarios, businesses can tailor their message and ensure it reaches the right people in an approachable and accessible format. That said, animations are ideally positioned within social sharing circles and best of all, result in measurable and replicable outcomes, making them a winning combination by anyone’s standard.
Podcasts and Audio Recordings
Rounding out the list are pre-recorded radio shows, commonly referred to as podcasts. When coupled with distribution on popular directories like iTunes and promoted efficiently, podcast archives benefit from an inherent timelessness. According to podcaster Ryan Hanley “In theory, podcasts create brand fanatics, people who are deeply invested in who we are as people and as business professionals. This is essence of long-form content marketing” (Search Engine Journal).
Needless to say these content formats will not work for every business or every business model. Ultimately, your content marketing tactics and format should be well-informed by research into the online behavior of your target audience and it must meet their needs. If you can do that, you’re likely to hit upon an effective content marketing mix.
This article has been edited and condensed.
Savannah Flynn is a public relations specialist and online marketing enthusiast writing on behalf of WebpageFX. She is devoted to staying on top of the latest online marketing, social media and public relations trends. Connect with @WebpageFX on Twitter.