Content is everything in a post-COVID world – what should you focus on?
In a world saturated with content, it would almost seem like the last thing we should be recommending is that everyone focusses on creating more content…but that’s exactly what we are recommending.
COVID-19 has impacted on every business in every sector. For most, the impact has been a negative one and has required an urgent shift in strategy to tackle the new challenges faced within their sector. For a few, there has been some positives, especially those that were already performing well in the online space.
One of the biggest changes that many businesses face is a change in marketing strategies. Businesses that usually focused most of their budget on in-person trade shows have had to rethink their entire strategy. Even those who focus on direct response ads on platforms like Facebook or LinkedIn have seen declining conversion rates.
Marketing for many businesses needs to change and needs to change now if you want to maximise the opportunities to grow your business post-COVID.
And that’s where we believe content comes in.
Now more than ever, people are consuming content at a rate previously unheard of. According to Contently, the average B2B buyer consumes five pieces of content on average before they even talk to a sales rep and 17 pieces of content over the course of the sales lifecycle.
That’s an extraordinary amount of content to consume to make a purchase.
Then you read that 79% of those buyers report that content provided by sales rep is extremely influential in their decision to buy and you realise that content can make or break your business when it comes to getting a sale across the line.
So, it appears that content is going to play an important role for businesses getting back on their feet post-COVID, but what sort of content should you be focusing on?
Let’s take a closer look at the types of content that are going to help you stand out from the crowd.
Top of the Sales Funnel
The staple of many content strategies, blog posts are still going to be important for businesses who are looking to get potential customers into the top of the sales funnel.
Our strategy when creating blog posts has always been to focus on quality over quantity. Make sure you carry out your keyword research and look at the terms that are likely to drive the most relevant visitors to your website.
Think carefully about what you want visitors to do once they have read your post and understand that blogs are only a small part of any content strategy. Too many businesses think content strategy means blogs and now, more than ever, you need to focus your efforts into creating a diverse range of content that truly showcases what you are all about.
Similar to blog posts, infographics have been a staple of many a content marketing strategy and with good reason. They are very good at driving top of the sales funnel visitors when done well, however, they should only be one part of your content strategy, not the sole focus.
Infographics are still extremely powerful as a way of presenting content in a visual way. Over the years of working with clients in a number of sectors, we have found that the best-performing infographics tick two boxes – 1) they answer a question that a lot of people are asking and 2) they are unique.
Carrying our primary research to answer a commonly asked question is the best way to drive engagement through powerful infographics. Don’t just churn out an infographic based on information already available – take the time to do the research and present something new and unique.
Your content strategy needs to prioritise conversions and the content you create needs to make people stop and take notice of your brand.
Showcasing your products using video is a great way of bringing that product to life. Whilst most websites will showcase their products using images, why not show people what it can do, how it looks or how it can help.
Make your videos as true to life as possible. Sure, use professionals to create the videos, however, the customer has got to be able to see themselves using the product so make the videos realistic.
The key to converting prospects into customers through content marketing is to build trust. If you can weave in clips of actual customers using your products into your videos, this is a great way to build trust and make your content more true to life.
Whilst case studies have been around for a long time, they are an often underutilised content marketing tool.
What better way to showcase your products and services to prospective customers than letting them know about the results you have achieved with current customers?
We have also found that case studies are great content pieces for sharing through social platforms. They really seem to resonate with the audience on those platforms and can be the deal-breaker for customers who are considering other alternatives to your products and services.
A case study is like a really long review and we know how powerful reviews can be in helping customers to make up their mind about a purchase.
Use your case studies to showcase the challenges faced by your customer, how your product/service helped to overcome those challenges and the results of using your product/service. Use images and videos to help to bring your case studies to life or even make your case study into a video as a way of repurposing that content to push out through other channels.
Another underutilised content marketing weapon is the customer newsletter. Once you have got people into the top of your sales funnel and encouraged them to sign up to your newsletter, you have got to take full advantage of an audience who have actively signed up to hear from you.
Customer newsletters can make or break your engagement with your audience. Done badly, and they can really put a customer off and consign your newsletters to the spam folder forever, never to be read or seen by a potential customer.
When done really well, customer newsletters can drive sales time and time again and help to build a sense of trust with your audience thanks to the quality content you are sending direct to their inbox.
A content marketing tactic to fill many content marketers with dread is a webinar. To be honest, it’s not something we have really worked on at Digital Hothouse from a client perspective. We have, however, seen plenty of webinars and the reason they fill content marketers with fear is that they can be done really poorly.
There is nothing worse. The ones we have tuned into that have been bad leave you cringing at the way the presenter talks to the audience and they leave you completely switched off and often exiting before the webinar is even finished.
This doesn’t have to be the case. A webinar done well presents a great opportunity to engage with your audience, showcase your products or services and directly answer questions that prospective customers might have.
A really good webinar should surprise your audience. Build up your event through your relevant channels – email, social, your website etc and tease out snippets of the content that you will be including in your webinar. Then you need to make sure you deliver. Whether that’s a surprise guest, an exclusive download or a limited-time offer for attendees, always deliver something that takes your audience by surprise.
These are just some examples of the content you should be including within your content strategy. Other things that might work well for your business include:
- Templates and toolkits
- Competitive comparisons
- Free trials
However you choose to structure your content strategy, make sure you are customer-focussed and ensure you are delivering content that helps to build trust.
This global pandemic has made content impossible to ignore. It’s time to focus your attention on delivering inspiring and engaging content.
Content marketing should no longer be a side-project and something to support the other marketing activity you are carrying out. It should be front and centre.