‘Content marketing can speed your sales cycle.’
Do you agree or disagree with me?
Let me stake my claim by sharing:
It’s true my friends, by educating prospects and customers about your products and services without having your sales team searching, or worse, creating new presentations, videos, graphics and stories, you are clearly speeding AND helping your customers.
Right? Less time in sales = More sales and more value.
Ok, but not all content formats are equally effective at accomplishing this goal.
In this post, we’ll discuss 24 different types of content that you can use to educate your audience and speed up your sales process.
Top-of-funnel or awareness-generating formats are expected to have a large reach. As the name suggests, the goal is to introduce your brand and build your audience’s awareness, so they can eventually work their way down through conversion funnels by researching brands, comparing products and services, etc., before finally reaching the point where they are ready to make a purchase.
Tell your story and position yourself as an expert. Tell the story of why you started your business, how it began, what led to its creation. Highlight the struggles you endured, what you learned in the process and why your business is uniquely positioned to offer value to your customers.
Be specific about how you help people (beyond your product or service offering). You can tell this story through video (like our example), blog posts, SlideShare decks, infographics, etc.
The goal? To communicate and connect with your target audience, establish yourself as a thought leader, and position your expertise in the context of current trends.
The homepage video is a unique content marketing format that can help you make a big impact on your message. It’s often the first piece of content people see when they go to your website, so it has the opportunity to really set the tone for your brand and leave an impression.
It works best on B2C (business-to-consumer) sites, where many of your potential customers might be unfamiliar with you and may not feel comfortable navigating a site without a clear understanding of what you’re about.
The most effective visuals tell a story that supports your brand’s personality and help to answer the question “what’s in it for me?”.
The majority of content marketers across all industries use visual formats to communicate their brand’s message. Infographics are a great way to convey a lot of information in a quick and easy-to-understand manner, while images or photos can help to tell stories about your product or service in an emotional way.
Social Media Videos are one of the best ways to tell your brand’s story, but they can also be used for product demonstrations, how-to guides, and more. Decide what content you want to deliver through video by defining your goals ahead of time (what do you need your audience to know or accomplish?).
Then figure out what type of video will help you accomplish those goals. For example, is it more effective to create an explainer video or a DIY walkthrough? If you want to educate your audience, an explainer video is a perfect way to do so. But if you’re looking for something more interactive, a walkthrough can help people learn how to use your product or service in just four steps.
Roundups, also known as round-up posts, are a great way to drive traffic to your site and build links. These types of posts give readers a comprehensive list of links related to a specific topic or theme, often with commentary from the writer.
Interviews can be used in much the same way. If you have an established following and you know other people in your industry, consider interviewing them and sharing the conversations with your audience.
These formats can be used to position yourself as a thought-leader and build relationships within your industry.
Think of guest posts as an opportunity for joint collaboration. Find popular blogs that are related to your industry or niche, then reach out with a request to write a guest post for them.
If you want the content on your site to be more diverse and help promote different voices, posting other people’s work is another great way of doing so. It’s a great way to diversify your content and engage with other brands in your space.
Press releases are a tried-and-true method for driving traffic to your website, so if you have something newsworthy to share, don’t be afraid to use this format.
Reporters often need sources from experts or influencers in a particular field, and if you can position yourself as that person by sharing industry news through some of the above content marketing formats, it can be a great way to increase visibility for your brand.
However, press releases aren’t just about getting free publicity – they can help you build authority and increase your site’s SEO. Content that is relevant to your brand and industry is more likely to be shared, which will result in greater visibility for your business online.
Original research is another content marketing format that can be used to position you as an expert in your field. If you’re working at a B2B (business-to-business) company, for example, this could mean creating industry white papers or case studies based on your own experience.
Content of this nature can be used to showcase your knowledge and expertise, while also putting you in a position where you can build relationships or engage with other experts in your field.
Content that is meant to be shared with social media, which can then lead to more in-depth content. Content that drives customers/prospects to the top of the funnel.
The how-to format is another great way to build trust and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Content that explains “how” or “why” something works, or “how to” do something, gives the reader a step-by-step guide for accomplishing tasks.
How-to articles can be used to educate your audience or even lead them through a sales funnel. For example, let’s say you have a lead magnet that helps people learn how to take better care of their car. You could write a lengthy article on the benefits of regularly changing your car’s oil and include this link as one possible step in your lead magnet.
Resource posts are another great way to provide value to your audience and establish yourself as an expert in your field. Content of this nature can take a variety of formats, but the point is to share relevant content on a specific topic from industry influencers or other relevant sources.
This type of content is particularly useful if you’re looking to establish yourself as an expert, or grow your site’s reputation and authority in your industry.
Video content is a great way to offer additional value and further engage with your audience, and how-to videos are another great format to consider. You can create a product or instructional videos that walk users through a process, steps to accomplish a task, or demonstrate how to utilize your product or service.
Content that is visual in nature can be more appealing to some audiences than text-based posts, so it’s a great way to enhance the other content formats you’re using.
Welcome series emails are a great way to add value and further engage with your email list subscribers by providing helpful content in addition to a new product or service update. Content of this nature can include things like behind-the-scenes looks, how-to videos, coupons for early-bird registrants, etc.
By adding additional value to your welcome series emails, you can encourage users to keep checking their inbox for updates and remain engaged with your brand after the initial transaction.
Another useful content marketing format for B2B companies, webinars, and live events can be used to share up-to-date industry news with your audience. Content of this nature can include presentations on new research or thought leadership that takes place during a live event or prerecorded interviews that take place over the phone or via video chat.
Webinars are another great way to build trust with your audience by sharing knowledge and expertise. Content of this nature can also be used as an opportunity to position you or one of your employees as an industry thought leader, which is why it’s important for this content to remain high-quality.
Another great way to add value and establish yourself as an expert in your field is with a “why we care about you” video series. Content of this nature is one-off videos that introduce audiences to the people behind your company or organization. Introducing your audience to who you are as a team can help build trust and further engage with them.
Localized content is great if you’re targeting a specific geographical area or just looking to boost brand awareness in general. Content of this type can include blog posts about seasonal topics, discounts for local businesses, local event announcements, etc.
Localized content can also be used as another way to promote your products or services if you’re looking for alternative lead generation ideas.
Email outreach is another content strategy that can be used to grow your B2B email list but is also great for lead generation in general. Content of this type typically includes marketing messages with links to free resources, content assets, or sign-up forms for events or webinars.
When creating emails of this nature it’s important to remember that they should add value and not just include a link to an opt-in page. Content formats like these should be personalized and provide additional value other than just asking users to subscribe to your email updates.
When developing your content strategy for bottom-of-the-funnel lead generation tactics, it’s important to remember that you need a diverse mix of content formats. By using this many different types of content on your site or blog, users are likely to stick around longer rather than quickly bouncing back to Google search results.
Content upgrades are easily one of the most effective B2B lead generation strategies, and they are extremely easy to execute. Content of this type is typically associated with blog posts that serve as an introduction or overview of a topic, then provide additional value through downloadable assets like an eBook, checklist, worksheet, etc.
Content upgrades are great because they give users something they can reference later on, plus users have the option to continue engaging with your brand via email by downloading the asset.
Content of this type is also very shareable across various social channels thanks to its ease of access and sharability which can help you gain even more exposure.
Sales enablement articles are another way to increase exposure for your brand while also providing additional value for the user. Content of this type is typically created for sales teams and provides tips, strategies, and best practices that can be used in a variety of sales scenarios.
Content formats like these allow you to establish yourself or one of your employees as an expert in their field which can help build trust with users.
Landing pages are an effective yet simple content format that can be used for lead generation. Content of this type is typically associated with offers, discounts, exclusive content, etc.
Customers are more likely to buy products or services that they perceive have high value, which is why it’s important to give something of value in a post. The ability to evaluate the effectiveness of any given marketing campaign or ad is significantly easier. nIn this case, there may be immediate benefits for your users since items such as these are typically inexpensive and represent a good use of funds.
Industry reports are another type of useful content that can be used to share up-to-date industry news and engage with your audience. Content of this nature is typically created for large industries and is based on data and insights from a variety of sources (surveys, case studies, industry events, etc.).
Industry reports are another content format that provides additional value for both the consumer and distributor. Content of this nature can also help you gain exposure as an expert in your field by partnering with niche research companies.
Testimonials are another simple, yet highly effective B2B lead generation technique. Content of this type is typically associated with quotes from industry experts or customers who can vouch for what you’re offering and why it’s useful.
Users are more likely to buy from a brand that has positive social proof, such as an engaged community or other forms of endorsements. This sort of content is particularly lucrative since it provides social proof for your business and reminds consumers that there is a genuine individual who can give honest feedback about your firm.
formats like these should be personalized and provide additional value other than just asking users to subscribe to your email updates. Content of this type would typically include a free resource or report as an incentive for getting in touch with you.
These sorts of content help establish your brand as a thought leader and it’s a great way to encourage engagement beyond email through downloads and social sharing. Content of this type also has the potential to go viral, which will have a positive effect on your brand’s exposure and reputation
Content of this type would typically include a list of features accompanied by a brief profile of a customer who can speak to how it’s helped them solve a problem or make an impact. Content of this type can help you establish trust with users by showcasing your product or service in action.
Content of this nature is typically used by B2B brands who are targeting customers who can directly benefit from their products like other businesses or people within an industry. Content formats like these also allow the brand to highlight specific strengths and speak to why they’re a better choice than competitors.
This type of content is generally generated after people do something on your site (such as sign up for an event or subscribe to a newsletter). The unique material of this sort should be personalized and may include customized quotations, testimonies, and so on.
This sort of content provides the user with value beyond simply confirming their registration or signup. Content of this nature can also provide an opportunity for you to build rapport with the user, establish yourself as a thought leader in your field, and encourage brand loyalty.
These are only a few examples of how you can use content formats to your advantage. In order to maximize the potential of each one, it’s essential to have a well-defined strategy in place. That’s where we come in.
We specialize in helping businesses create and implement successful content strategies that attract new customers and keep them coming back for more. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you take your content strategy to the next level.
If you want to succeed, learn how to address your customer’s pain points and create a masterful, brand story that engages, and sells – even while you sleep