Have you ever had a salad with just lettuce? You open up a to-go container to find a pile of wilted romaine and a packet of oily dressing. Pretty unappealing, right?
A salad is only as delightful as the ingredients that add flavor, color, and depth to the plate. Even the most beautiful greens still need other vegetables and some protein to jazz them up.
The same goes for your content. A strong blog presence sets the foundation for your creative offerings, but it can’t stand on its own. To gain traction among your ideal audience, you need to diversify your tried-and-true favorites with cutting edge, interactive forms. Here’s our recipe for a strong, balanced content plan that leaves your audience engaged and entertained.
1. Build a Strong Blog Base
Blog posts are the lettuce of the content marketing world — they’re a pretty awesome base for a lot of cool stuff. Industry experts suggest you kickstart a strong content marketing effort by maintaining a consistent blog schedule. Regular posts paired with a strong amplification strategy create a base readership you can build on for years to come.
HubSpot explains why: Their research indicates that companies that publish 16+ posts per month receive 3.5x the traffic and 4.5x the leads of peers that publish less than 5 posts a month. HubSpot also noted that over 75% of blog views come from old content — a library of blog posts will continue to generate leads way past their original publication dates. In particular, 400 posts serves a benchmark for increased leads. Set your sights on that number, always with quality and audience engagement in mind.
Image Source: HubSpot
Image Source: HubSpot
Within a company blog, keep your articles diverse. Below are a few ways to shake up your mix, adding variety to traditional, static blog content:
- Swap content: Ask a content marketer from a partner company to trade articles with you for a few days. Both of you benefit from a wider network and different exposure.
- Go in-depth: Develop extensive tutorials that align with your products — they are great for boosting organic search leads!
- Bring in an expert: Enlist your co-workers to each contribute an article a month. The diversity of voices bring light to the range of expertise, while showing a united front, boosting brand image.
- Borrow the best: Curate rather than craft content once a week to save time and give yourself a break.
2. Diversify Your Content Formats
All great salads need a nice variety of base ingredients – maybe cucumbers, some goat cheese, and red onion. Your content strategy is the same way.
By adding some ingredients to your strategy beyond blog posts, you create a richer experience for leads and showcase your own creativity. Marketers create new content types every day, so there are always new ways to innovate and keep your audience’s attention:
- Graphic Visualizations
- User Generated Content
- Research Reports
- Tools and Calculators
Throwing all these different content types into your website at once would be a crazy undertaking — overwhelming both for you and for your audience. Instead, identify two or three content types that speak to your buyer personas and offer a new perspective on your topic.
Enriching your strategy with new forms can revolutionize your stats. Brafton, a content marketing agency, diversified a client’s content with five content types — blog posts, testimonials, videos, and downloadable ebooks and whitepapers — and increased organic leads by 94%!
Alternatively, you could pour your energy into one content type, and integrate your strategy so well that you raise the bar in your industry. NextView Ventures, a venture capital group, homed in on a podcast as the optimal venue to highlight entrepreneurial know-how and amplify their reach. Their podcast, Traction: How Startups Start, has gained a strong following because of its personal and unconventional stories, which offer on-the-ground advice for early entrepreneurs.
When it comes to different content types, you don’t have to create everything from scratch. According to a study from Curata, only 22% of marketers have a specific process in place to ensure “optimal content reuse and repurpose.”
That’s the key: reuse and repurpose your content in a few different forms, drawing on your awesome backlog of blog posts to build something extraordinary.
3. Differentiate with Interactive Content
My favorite salads include some more unconventional ingredients – don’t those roasted beets look awesome? Your content can stand out too (but it might not be quite as delicious).
The diverse content forms we included above all have one characteristic in common — they are all passive. With these formats, your audience sits back and absorbs your ideas without directly engaging in the process.
Despite the incredible variation in these types, on the whole, they are not as effective at helping companies to stand out because they lack a depth of experience. DemandMetric found that interactive content, on the other hand, differentiates a company from its competitors 88% of the time, compared to 55% for static content.
Interactive content is the clearest way to break through the noise. Interactive experiences are among the most innovative and most effective ways to increase engagement, capture leads, and nurture prospective clients through the sales funnel with a 70% conversion rate.
Incorporating interactivity into your strategy is easier than you think — weave it into passive content to add extra depth and engagement. At SnapApp, we often add quizzes to the bottom of our blog posts to reinforce learning and to make it a little more fun to for our audience. It’s just as easy to drop interactive elements into whitepapers, research reports, videos, data visualizations, and infographics for a multi-layered experience.
4. Tap Into Niche Social Channels
Your diversification strategy doesn’t stop once promotion starts. Use broad social channels like Facebook and Twitter, pushing content across multiple channels. Tools like Buffer and Hootsuite make it easier to diversify your reach without sacrificing time.
Just as with your content types, expand beyond the status quo. Dig into niche and fringe social channels connected to your target buyers. Convert with Content started the job for you, listing 60+ niche social media networks for marketers to tap into with their content.
Ozmosis, for example, is a dynamic platform for healthcare professionals who want to discuss the news of the day and ask questions. Savvy healthcare-related companies can gain incredible exposure through their targeted group.
CafeMom, another niche network, includes a “sisterhood” of over 1 million mothers who discuss the blessings and challenges of parenthood — a dream for a company speaking to young moms.
With a wide range of social networks at your fingertips, putting in the time to get creative with how you distribute your content can help you better reach your audience.
In 2016, marketers will create more content than ever before – how will your content stand out? Offer up a wide variety of content to capture your audience’s attention and increase your odds of resonating with the right person at the right time.