A Web marketer's job can be made much easier when meaningful and valuable content is available to promote.
There is no shortage of platforms on which to promote content, or channels through which to promote your content, or ways to construct messages about your content.
But where many Web professionals fall short is in the assembling of the content itself. Too often, online workers will recycle dated material, tired messaging and straight-up boring content. On the other hand, when you have content that by its very nature leads to deeper levels of engagement, it will show in the volume of conversions.
So, what types of content drive engagement?
It is likely that they are already at your disposal and, if not, you should start creating it. There's actually quite a bit of content that you as a Web marketer and search engine optimization professional should have in your asset library. Videos, images, interviews, product manuals – just check out WM’s article on knowledge-base optimization. But many content types don’t really lead to high levels of engagement (return visits, more pageviews, additional downloads), so it's important to accurately know the value of your content assets.
Let’s look at a few vital content assets that all marketers should be regularly promoting on social networks and private forums, within email newsletters, on your own website, through display and search-based advertising and, of course, within the Google and Bing natural search results.
Product/Feature Releases: There seems to be a general feeling in our industry that it’s not wise to be overly self-promotional. I agree in some respects but disagree in many others. It’s hard to argue, particularly when it comes to those with an established audience, that there remains a need to notify users of advancements about your business. Case in point – product/feature releases.
Not only are they a powerful way to keep messaging fresh and compelling, it’s also worth mentioning and should be in your lineup of options to promote content when the aim is to drive engagement. People like “new” and recently added features, and products definitely fit the bill. The key to driving engagement with product release-focused content is to carefully select the platforms on which to promote that content. For example, product releases are ideal for social media followers but not great for cold prospects that can be reached elsewhere.
Webinars/White Papers: Marketers jump at the chance to promote a webinar or a white paper. The reason is simple: It’s easy – easier than nearly any other form of content promotion. Production of these content types aside, buyers are naturally drawn to webinars and white papers because they provide information, meaningful/valuable insights that can be immediately used.
That’s one of the things that the three content types featured here all provide – valuable information. Webinars and white papers are perfect for nearly any channel (social media and search) but can be most effectively used in advertising, when the challenge is to educate, entertain and inform in a matter of seconds. When you show up with something as valuable as free information, the likelihood you will generate more clicks than the competition is all but guaranteed.
Feature Articles: The term "content marketing" is poorly defined. With so many opportunities to promote content and so many formats, it’s not uncommon that marketers opt for the fastest solution, and that is rarely the feature article. If you’re staffing a team of writers, or are skilled at producing/publishing content, then it would be a shame not to leverage feature-ready, long-form articles (starting at 800-1,000 words).
Search engines give preferential treatment to long-form content over short-form – at least in my experience – so dedicating yourself to regularly producing information in this manner will serve you well. Long-form, insight-rich content increases the time on site (and even page views) and drives sharing and additional on-site activity, particularly when linking to your own content. With the exception of advertising, features articles can be used within any promotional channel – particularly in search and social media.
Content is king and the level of quality does matter a lot, but marketers can give themselves a leg up by focusing on the types of content that have proved they can deepen engagement and increase conversions.