Is your content marketing strategy missing the point? Even worse, is your brand story going untold and unshared? With so many different types of content available to tell your brand story, and so much potential for distribution, what can your company do to build credibility, virality, and personality?
In this, we would like to share with you some of the best opinions from across the web, including ‘Is your content like spinach?’ and ‘Creative Content Ideas that Aren’t just Articles.’ We hope that the information will help to improve your content and brand personality.
Photographs can be used either unaltered, or modified to augment your content. Since most mobile devices now come equipped with easy-to-use cameras and image enhancement apps, anyone can quickly take, edit, and share photographs.
- Create social profiles on photo sharing sites. Is your brand on Instagram? Take advantage of Instagram, and other photography-focused social media sites to engage followers and spotlight your brand.
- Add photos to your other social profiles. Sharing photos on Facebook and Twitter will increase engagement and sharing. You can also engage proactively by re-sharing photographs posted to your followers’ accounts — be sure to ask first! Take a look at Marketo’s Facebook page to see social photo sharing in action.
- Use text to provide additional context. Don’t leave everything up to the caption — it’s just as simple to add a few lines of text inside of a photo. This is particularly useful on visual sites like Pinterest, where visitors are scrolling through hundreds of photos.
- Feature photos on your blog posts. A compelling photograph will draw readers in.
- Show your fun side with memes and photobombs. Try adding a funny caption to your photographs, especially if you can tap into a pre-existing meme (search for “Grumpy Cat meme” or “Willy Wonka meme” if you aren’t sure what we mean).
- Before & After photos are unique and highly sharable content. They are also a good way to show the benefits of a change and promote the services your company offers that will enable said change. Even if you work in an industry that isn’t known as “creative,” don’t let that stop you from creating interesting Before & After topics. In finance that might be contrasting balance sheets; in contracting or construction, it might be pictures of a remodeled room or backyard space.
Videos are increasingly filmed and consumed on mobile devices. But from a brand perspective, video quality matters. Content marketers can choose to broaden their offerings with high quality, professional videos (usually with a high price tag); “low budget” footage captured via a mobile device, computer, or camera; and/or enhanced slideshows or webinars augmented with audio.
- Take videos of live events. This is a great way to turn a live event into a ready-made asset. Marketo recently filmed their electric Smart Car giveaway, which (with a little editing) created an awesome asset.
- Create how-to and styling videos. How-to and styling videos explain to prospects and customers how to use your product, and put your product in context. These kinds of videos are also good for entertaining your prospects and pulling them in — the “Will It Blend?” videos are a great example.
- Enhance blog posts. Peppering your company blog with videos creates visual variety, and encourages visitors to stick around.
- Share videos on social media platforms. YouTube and SlideShare are the obvious channels, but you can also share videos on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
- Create Q and A Videos by Interviewing your company’s top brass or other experts in your field. Ask questions that your clients would want answered. Edit in a simple video-editing app like iMovie and post on your company blog. Keep each video short and sweet. If your video runs longer than three minutes (roughly the max threshold that users can handle before getting bored or deciding to come back later), break up your video into multiple parts and post each part as a piece of your ongoing content cycle.
Example: Startup Chat conducts regular Q&A video sessions through recorded Google Hangouts.
Example: Currently, Modern Marketing Partners is in the process of developing a time lapse video of a client building a garage. We look forward to sharing it.
As simplified drawings with text, cartoons are a great way to make your point clearly and dynamically. Cartoons are easy to understand, often funny, and highly shareable.
- Use cartoons to simplify your message. If you wrote a lengthy ebook on a subject, why not boil down some key points in an easily digestible form?
- Capture short attention spans. Not all of your potential readers have the time (or energy) to read a longer piece — especially during work hours. Give them a break with a short, funny cartoon.
Infographics present complex information using a combination of images and text to simplify core concepts. More frequently used by B2B organizations, infographics add visual interest to dense material. Consumer marketing firms can use infographics to attract consumer attention and simplify complicated information, like warnings and instructions.
Pick topics and data that your customers will be interested in and get creative with your infographic title. Work with a reputable design company to create branded infographics that tie back to your company’s aesthetic.
- Streamline information for a broad audience. Use infographics to convey complex information simply and appealingly.
- Incorporate infographics into your content offering to attract backlinks. Distribute your infographic widely to support your SEO strategy. Remember, quality counts — the better and more useful your infographic is, the more likely people will be to share it.
Example: Content management software Kapost creates great infographics targeting the struggles of marketers trying to manage content, as seen in their “The Climb to Content Marketing Software.”
While most presentations are intended for a live audience, you’ll get a bigger return on investment if you also post presentations online. To make presentations come alive without the aid of your charismatic presenter, your slides should be highly visual.
- Share presentations on social media. SlideShare is an excellent (and very popular) choice for sharing your slide presentations.
- Augment online presentations with additional text. While a live presentation calls for image-heavy slides and very little text, online presentations should have enough text that the information stands alone.
- Promote the presentation in a related blog post. A blog post gives you space to provide additional information and context for readers. It’s also a great way to reach a bigger portion of your audience.
Because ebooks tend to convey fairly complex information, it’s essential that you incorporate plenty of visual elements. Encourage your audience to stay tuned-in with photographs, charts, and videos. You’ll also need to consider your ebook’s visual style – even if your ebook isn’t illustrated, you still need attractive fonts and layouts.
- Incorporate a visual theme. As you write your ebooks, think about whether a visual theme could be incorporated into your narrative. If so, try to work that theme into the ebook’s language.
- Break up information in a visually appealing way. Use checklists, callouts, bullet points, and multiple header sizes to facilitate comprehension.
8. Activity books
Get your audience to have fun with your content! Activity books encourage your audience to get involved, engaged, entertained, and educated. Activity books aren’t created by very many companies — mostly because they require a lot of imagination — so if you do create one, it will stand out.
- Target your activities. Go for a blend of purely fun activities, and activities that will educate your audience in the process. For example, you might include a word-matching game, which requires readers to understand relevant vocabulary.
- Encourage sharing. Create puzzles and activities that can be completed as a group, to facilitate team-building. You should also encourage your audience to share their completed activities on social profiles, ideally under a single hashtag.
9. Live Twitter Chats and Podcasts
If your business has a healthy Twitter following, engage your fans in a live Twitter chat at a pre-set time. You can lead up to the event with promotional Tweets and it’s a great way to answer questions in a live, real-time (albeit a 140 character) format.
#Blogchat is a weekly Sunday night Twitter chat with the blog community to discuss trends and obstacles. Averaging 800 participants each chat, it shows that even a non-workday event can garner a lot of following if it’s valuable.
Podcasts are fantastic ways to inject a more human element into your business. They’re also a good opportunity for promotion leading up to the broadcast. After your podcast’s initial air-date, store the audio file on your website and allow users to listen at their leisure.
Example: Accenture offers a variety of podcasts specific to certain industry needs.
Valuable prizes can be a great way to entice your clients into spending more time online with your business. Offering a high-value prize can garner lots of interest, or even offering a gratis suite of services that your company provides can incentivize your clients into evangelizing for your business. Writing about the contest and profiling the winners (through writing, images, or video) are creative ways to flesh out your content marketing efforts.
Example: Twitter will partner with other professional services, such as Hubspot or MailChimp, to sell their new advertising options through an exclusive signup.
Your company’s content marketing plan should contain a variety of creative content types, not just basic articles. By mixing up your content offerings, you engage your clients while having more fun yourself. Modern Marketing Partners understands the value of creative and personable content. We invite you to follow us on Twitter (@ModMktgPartners), sign up for our marketing newsletter, and contact us for more information.