Think you’re overwhelmed with the content tsunami on the internet today? Walk in a content marketer’s shoes for a day if you really want to know what overload feels like.
Let’s face it. The volume of digital content being published every second won’t be receding any time soon.
And for those businesses that have embraced Content Marketing to generate online awareness for their brand, enhance consideration, generate leads and nurture prospects, it’s essential to take a look at what you’re offering online visitors.
Can we just eat now please?
In case you haven’t noticed, reading, especially long form content on anything but a blog, has become the exception. Today, lots of words get in the way because people just want to “get it” (your message or value) more quickly. The result is that if you want your content to get noticed, consumed and hopeful acted on, it’s time to break your content down into smaller pieces. By doing this you won’t be asking too much of your audience to learn what you have to say or share.
Full disclosure—this strategy is designed to help with the “awareness” function at the top of your sales funnel. More in-depth, longer form content should be targeted and created to accommodate the “consideration” stage of a buying cycle.
Your content menu’s not complete without appetizers and entrees.
In a recent webinar, online guru, Mike Corak, Executive Vice-President of Strategy for Ethology, described these content differences as “feathers” and “bricks”. A more palatable distinction of these different content types is “appetizers” and “entrée’s”.
The idea of behind differentiating your content is to enhance persuasion and consumption of the valuable assets that just about any business now has to create. Because as anyone pursuing a content marketing strategy knows, you’re never creating enough content, ever.
Bite-sized for mobile.
Appetizers are bite-sized pieces of content that are stackable and easily digestible on mobile devices. With over 30% of the world now using smart phones as their go to device for internet content, this make sense.
Examples of content appetizers are things like short blog posts, Instagram photos, and Facebook or Twitter updates. With the exception of some long, in-depth blog posts, these content example all have the similarity of having a short shelf life. Consequently, they require continuous replenishment and creation.
Satisfying entrees help convert.
“Entree” content assets are the more permanent assets that require more resources and higher production values to produce. They also require more time and focus for your target audience to consume. Consequently, most organizations will end up with fewer of them in their content inventory.
These assets should be created with the objective of enhancing persuasion and furthering consideration of you, your services or solution. Here to, your goal should be to map your entrée content assets against your sales funnel in the “consideration” phase of purchase. These entrée’s should be created and produced with the goal to push your target prospect across finish line, close a sale and add revenue to the income side of the ledger.
Interestingly, many B2B organizations think entrée’s are the more important content assets. But by not creating enough appetizers, you’ll be missing the opportunity be seen and start a conversation with a prospect. Bottom line, you need appetizers first to generate awareness and interest so that you can nurture a prospect into a customer.
Moving pictures that can move the needle.
A great example of an “entrée” course is Video Content. Ethology disclosed that over 75% of consumption on mobile devices around the world in 2018 will be video. That’s a 66% jump from 2013. Yet, interestingly, Ethology also shared that in over 200 content audits that they conducted in 2014, fewer than 20% of companies had deployed non-text content. The take away is that successful content consumption by your target will improve when you vary the content types that you produce—especially video.
Can you hear the Podcast renaissance?
It’s generally understood that only about 15% of internet users listen to audio content. What this modest number masks is a great opportunity to tell a B2B story. Because audio usually has a very small digital footprint and it’s easy to stream audio without annoying delays—especially on mobile devices—you can pack a lot of content into an audio format.
Recent research by Edison uncovered that podcast listening grew by 25% in the US in 2014. That’s because prospects frequently listen to audio content while in their commute, exercising or just waiting for a meeting or some other activity to begin. The cool thing about audio is that it creates a bond with customers because it’s a bit unexpected or unique in delivering a story or message.
One of the best ways to use audio is to create content that shines a light on your best customers or stars on your team. Creating audio interviews and cutting them into short, punchy summaries is a great way to expand your content types.
By using tools like GarageBand, Adobe Audition, or Audacity (which is free) to record an audio interview, you’ll quickly have some great assets that can be polished into an engaging piece of content for light weight delivery to your prospects and customers. This post details a complete list of audio gear that you might consider for creating your own Podcasts.
Creation alone is no longer enough.
Due to the increasing competition of the content tsunami being produced, organic reach is on the decline. So creating a hungry-man buffet of all content types to enhance awareness through organic search may no longer be enough. The result is people will have a harder time finding your stuff even if you’re following best SEO practices when you publish.
What’s more, the organic reach of social networks is also declining. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and others are pushing users to promote content on their platforms with paid advertising.
What’s it mean to content marketers? If you’re serious about producing a steady stream of content that your prospects and customers will find relevant and valuable, you’re going to have to start considering how you’re going to market your marketing for it to get seen, shared and acted on. That means amplification of your content is now as important (or more) as the high quality content that you have to produce. Because if you invest in expensive asset creation and no one sees your effort, what’s the point?
What are you serving?
As you map your content calendar or adjust it for the upcoming year, consider what category each of content assets will fall into—appetizer or entrée. When you do this, you’ll quickly see that you may be producing content that is too heavily weighted to the consideration phase of the sales funnel and you need to step up your creation of stackable appetizers for that awareness phase.
When conceiving and planing all of your content, it’s essential to consider delivery to mobile devices, not just desktops. And as with everything you publish, be authentic and true to your online voice by producing assets with the quality and care that are required to reflect you or your brand online forever.
Best of luck in your creation kitchen. Your target is looking forward to what you’ll be serving up.