What’s your preferred content type? eBook? Video? Blog? Whitepaper? Do you prefer bite-sized ‘snackable’ content? Or in-depth, detailed analysis? What do your buyer personas prefer?
As always, there's a lot of discussion about content trends and what makes a good piece of content. Sadly, there's no one simple answer. The truth is brutal — the best piece of content is the one that your audience engages with.
We're all overloaded with content. There's so much out there now. And a lot of the content out there is amazing, so why is so much of that content never read? Most likely, it's not in a format that works for you or the topic you’re trying to discuss.
I'm time poor. I suspect we are all time poor. So, I consume my content in shorter formats. Things like eBooks don't work for me. They are generally too long — not getting to the point quick enough or simply losing me with 'in-company' TLAs and industry jargon. Sound familiar?
Take my colleague Virginia — she loves an eBook. She'll happily sit and read from cover to cover, whether it’s a physical book, an audiobook or reading it from a screen. And then Katy she prefers video. Whether that's a short engaging snippet she spots on her social feeds, or a longer, explainer type video on a company website — that’s a format that works for her.
Each of us consumes content in a different way. What you and I like, might not suit Virginia, Katy, Lisa, Emma, Emily or Fionna (my esteemed colleagues). So why are so many B2B marketers still thinking of content in very linear forms? And why are so many spending lots of budget developing one premium piece of content and then wondering why it's not flying off the (virtual) shelves?
When you look at the analysis of your audience and how they interact with you, ask yourself if your audience is fully engaged up to the point they download an eBook, or white paper or technical document? Then nothing? Chances are, they’ve gone into a bit of a black hole.
Could you, and should you, be looking at your content journey in a different way? Rather than 'one premium' piece of content, can you look at it as multiple pieces of content to engage with your audience in the format THEY choose to take on messages? What other formats are working for you? What formats are working for them?
We've talked about the buyer journey before and how it's our job as content creators to enable your target audience to buy from you and yet we put so many obstacles in the way. They spend much of their time researching their questions before they get to you. According to Salesforce, 72% of the B2B buyer journey starts online before any interaction with you and, according to Google, the average B2B buyer conducts 12 searches before engaging with a specific brand's website. Marketers must work hard just to keep the buyers’ attention and engage them in a way that suits them.
I've shared this graphic before, but it's a good way of showing how many different content formats can be used to engage your audience, tell your story and drive people along that buyer journey. Things don't work in a linear fashion now, so we must be prepared for them to select the pieces that work for them, for the time they have available and that answer their questions in that very moment.
Does your content do that?
Do a little survey with your team — sales and marketing — or even your friends and family. Ask them how much content they download and actually read or watch. And ask what their preferred content format is. A great question to include is “What are your views on gated versus ungated content?”
You might be surprised by the answers they give you.
Of course, we'd also recommend you take the time to look at your overall content strategy. We have a seven-step programme (it's free to use!) to help you get started. Or call us for help in giving your content programme an extra boost. We'd love to talk to you.