We’ve covered everything from how to find your target audience to measuring your content marketing results. Now it’s time to look at some real content examples and strategies from businesses using different types of content to attract their target audience.
Content Strategy: Offering Free Useful Tools
While many businesses charge for their online toolset, others choose to create free tools to attract their target customers. For example, SEOgadget offers free tools for link building, content strategy, and infographics.
What are some benefits to offering free tools as a part of your content strategy? First off, people love to talk about the best tools – especially the free ones- in their industry with their audience. By creating free tools that are useful for your potential customers, you are likely to gain lots of great coverage by bloggers in your industry whose audience also will include your potential customers. This boils down to lots of links and lots of exposure for your business.
What can you learn from SEOgadget in terms of offering free tools?
- Make sure your tools work for your target audience and customer base. Service-based businesses may fear that releasing tools that could help their potential customers may encourage those customers to do things on their own instead of employing their services. In reality, your best customers will likely be the ones that are appreciative you offer free tools, but do not have the time to use them for their own business. Likewise, product-based businesses may fear that releasing free tools will prevent their customers from buying premium tools. In reality, if you make a useful free tool, people will be more inclined to pay for more features in premium tools.
- Get coverage for your tools. Seek out bloggers in your industry and let them know about your tools. Offer them special support while they try them out and make their experience as smooth as possible to encourage blog coverage of your free tools.
- Don’t stop improving your tools. First impressions are important. The last thing you would want is for a potential customer to have a bad experience with the free tool you have to offer, especially if you offer premium ones. Keep your tools as up-to-date and functional as possible.
Content Strategy: Designing Informative Infographics
Infographics are all the rage, and if you want to really make your infographics stand out, you should combine them on one page. For example, KISSmetrics serves up their collection of almost 50 marketing infographics on one page for easy access.
What are some benefits of creating infographics and offering them on one page? Asides from getting lots of links back to their website through the individual infographics themselves, they also have many links and social shares built up to this page as well. Plus many of those links will be on sites whose audiences would be interested in the analytics tool that KISSmetrics has to offer which means links and leads!
What can you learn from KISSmetrics in terms of designing informative infographics?
- Create infographic topics with your target customer base in mind. Infographics are a great way to demonstrate your business’ knowledge on a particular topic. If your infographics show that you are an expert in the area you offer products and services, you’ll likely gain more customers from them.
- Make infographics easy to share. Regardless of whether your goal is link building or not, make sure that each of your infographics are easy to share so your business can gain additional exposure among blogs and other websites.
- Make social sharing easy on infographic pages. Don’t forget that not everyone has a blog to share your infographic upon. Let them share it with their social media audience instead with easy to find social sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest.
Content Strategy: Providing Valuable Resources in a Variety of Formats
People like their content in different formats including blog posts, eBooks, reports, whitepapers, webinars, and videos. For example, HubSpot is a hub for marketers looking for free resources in all of the above formats.
What are some benefits to offering free resources in so many formats? Aside from attracting your target audience across the board, you can use these free resources for lead generation. HubSpot lets you download and view their resources for free in exchange for your information – name, email, phone number, company, website, and additional stats about your company. Because their resources are so good, they can go beyond just gathering your name and email address – information that they can use for their own customer database.
If you’re going for exposure over leads, having a wide variety of content also gives you the option of promoting your business on many different platforms. HubSpot could easily promote their videos on all of the main video hosting networks (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.), their webinar slide presentations on Slideshare, their free reports and whitepapers on document sharing sites, and their eBooks on Amazon as free Kindle downloads.
What can you learn from HubSpot in terms of providing valuable resources?
- Provide content in multiple formats to attract everyone. Some people would prefer to download an Ebook over watching a video and vice versa. Others might prefer the brevity of a whitepaper to an Ebook. By offering something to appeal to different learning styles, you’ll gain an even larger audience.
- Use your content to generate leads. When it comes down to the bottom line, leads are everything. Incorporate a system where those interested in your free content must at least provide a name and email address. Generally the less information you ask for, the more sign ups you will get.
- Include calls to action within you free content. Aside from gearing your content towards your potential customers, you should also make sure your potential customers know what steps to take next once they have consumed your content. These steps should include learning more about your services or asking for a demo of your products.
Remember that while these examples are from the marketing industry, there are great ways to create valuable tools and content for other industries as well. What are the best examples you’ve seen of businesses using content to gain exposure and attract customers?