From blogs to infographics to video, all forms of marketing content should be able to do three things: Create a meaningful difference for the brand, attract and retain interest from target prospects, and build deeper connections with these prospects through ongoing, related messaging campaigns.
Strong marketing organizations do these things through content that’s powerful. And what makes it powerful is its ability to combine elements to inspire audiences.
For instance, the content marketing platform entity NewsCred says content marketing is all about “stories that stay with us. Stunning visuals. High-tech experiences with a human touch. And measurable, meaningful business results.”
A perfect example comes from one of the 2018 winners of the company’s Top 50 awards, representing the best of content marketing: Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom magazine engages target customers with a clean, well illustrated layout, intriguing stories about customers and the company, and opportunities for prospects to interact with the brand by sharing their own stories.
All of these dimensions of content combine to achieve the three overarching goals: they build resonance for the brand, keep and retain customer interest, and nurture leads along through repeated and progressive messaging that carries a consistent tone and feel throughout.
What makes Mazda’s magazine effective is this combination of content. It works because it’s multidimensional. Using multiple forms of content is important for brands, for a couple of reasons. For one, different audiences are engaged by different forms of content. Another is that having multiple forms of content helps build trust and engagement among prospects, especially when they see consistent messaging presented to them in a variety of ways. The format may be different, but the message and tone remain the same.
There are many different forms of content, and while not all of them are right for every campaign, each one can be right for certain prospects at certain points in their buyer journey.
Different Types of Content
We use a variety of content formats with our clients to achieve specific marketing goals and to engage prospects according to their own preferences at any point in time. Some of the formats we use:
- Copy: What many organizations think about when it comes to content, brand-oriented copy can be long or short, taking the form of blogs, summaries, news stories and even social posts. The only true requirement of copy is that it be written to convey a specific message in a specific way, using a tone that reflects the brand identity as well as what’s most relevant and engaging to the target audience.
- Imagery: Content also needs to include compelling imagery, such as photography, graphics, charts, symbols and illustrations to attract and retain prospects’ attention while also conveying the brand’s tone and messaging strategy. Images may be created to stand alone or they may be designed to be combined with other forms of content.
- Technical Content: Ideal for buyers with the time and obligation to research complicated or high investment acquisitions, technical content such as white papers or resource guides will engage buyers if it educates and inspires them with stories and information that are relevant to their own interests. Brands who want to create these types of content need to talk with subject matter experts to uncover audience-specific insights, and then present them through compelling copy and imagery.
- Visual Content: Brands can bring their stories to life by combining imagery, design, sound and copy to work together to express a specific message. A terrific example is video content. When done well, video should incorporate a compelling concept, and use copy, imagery and audio to share a specific message with target prospects. One of the most compelling forms of content, it can also be the most demanding to create. Producing effective video content is a multi-phase process that includes concepting, storyboarding, visual direction and editing. Ultimately, the final product needs to engage audiences while making the most of the time they contribute to viewing it.
Brands should use and combine these various forms of content to communicate their messaging strategy with specific target prospects, at specific times and places, and during specific phases of the buyer’s journey.
We help our clients build solid content strategies by working with them to understand their target audiences and what it takes to engage them at certain times and places. This includes structuring interrelated content to nurture leads through their buying journey and using a consistent tone to convey the most powerful message. And we’re always happy to chat about the tones, messages and formats that might make the most sense for each brand.If you’d like to have a conversation with us about building or refreshing your brand’s content strategy, please get in touch with us.