If you are like most firms, your 2016 content marketing plan looks a lot like your 2015 content marketing plan. Maybe it is time to consider a few new tools that, while not required, could supercharge your marketing efforts.

Content marketing layers content upon content

With content marketing, think of your content as layers. You need content that will entice readers to your website. Once there they find additional content that will keep them coming back for more.

Blog posts, articles and videos that share valuable—or motivating—information will drive people to your website. Premium pieces like executive guides, webinars, reports, white papers, etc., serve more as a repository of educational content and opportunities for greater engagement. These build your credibility and, over time, convert visitors to prospects and prospects to clients.

This post discusses two highly effective marketing tools: video and webinars. Neither type of content is explicitly required for a content marketing program. But, when done effectively, videos and webinars boost web traffic and may speed the conversion from prospect to customer.

Many firms are reluctant to invest in these extra efforts because they’re not sure how to pull them off effectively or where they fit in the sales funnel.

Video casts a wider net

Different types of content serve different points in the sales funnel.

Think of the top of the funnel content as a big fishing net pulling people to your website. Easy to access and consume, content at this level shouldn’t be kept behind a registration form or require your web visitors to exchange their email address in order to read the content or watch the video. While a consistently updated and on-point blog is the foundation of your content program and will fill the top of your funnel, strategically mixing in some video can improve your results.

Turn to video when your firm needs to convey emotion or communicate your brand story. Complex concepts that can be difficult to convey in succinct web copy are often perfect for video. Firm overview videos are a valuable addition to your websites homepage because they nicely capture your firm’s services, positioning and culture in a way that motivates prospects to learn more about you.

According to statistics provided by Hubspot, a whopping 81% of people share their brand video on their website. A few other compelling metrics from the same source tell us that

  • 75% of business executives watch business related videos at least weekly, and
  • 54% of senior executives share work-related videos with their colleagues.

Video is also a great way to promote your firm’s special projects or community outreach initiatives. Testimonial and how-to videos can be valuable assets, as well. Just remember, video alone probably won’t convert prospects to clients, but it is effective in bringing people to your website where the conversion work can be handled by your longer-form, middle-of-the-funnel content.

Webinars introduce you to your prospects

The natural extension of your blog is to demonstrate your expertise in content that is valuable enough for a prospect to exchange their email address for. Things like executive guides, reports, books, and webinars are all effective middle-of-the funnel pieces that encourage engagement.

Of these, webinars present the best opportunity to actually interact with your prospective customers. Whether you are on your own, or you sponsor a webinar with a colleague or a partner firm, webinars encourage discussion and reduce barriers to conversion. They also give your prospects the opportunity to hear from you directly, ask questions in real time, and gain a deeper understanding of how you can help them.

And the marketing benefits of a webinar live well past the recording date.

Make sure you include an offer at the end of the webinar for further engagement. For instance, a webinar on “Key Features of a High Performing Website” could end with an offer for a complimentary website assessment.

As soon as possible after the webinar, email the registrants with a link to download the slides. Not only is this a way to reconnect with the participants, it gives you access to those who registered but could not attend. These are powerful conversion opportunities that drive deeper engagement or a request for a proposal.

Also consider publishing the transcript on your website as well as uploading the presentation slides to SlideShare. Both of these measures will help it be found in a Google search, further widening your net.

Help prospects move down your funnel

Again, marketing video and webinars are not essential pieces of a content marketing program, but when used strategically, they can greatly enhance your efforts.

Use video to share the emotion of your brand’s story, and use webinars to demonstrate your expertise and abilities. Consider including one or both in this year’s content marketing program. They are sure to help move prospects from the top of your sales funnel to the bottom.