When it comes to marketing, content is king. And while blogging should still be at the heart of any business’s digital marketing initiatives, there’s no need to stop there!
It’s important to embrace new and emerging marketing trends (as well as the age-old tried and tested ones), to design a unique content strategy that your business will actually use.
Here are some innovative and highly engaging alternatives to blogging that are sure to entice your online audience.
With the rising influence of platforms like TikTok and Instagram Stories, it should come as no surprise that video is becoming an increasingly vital component of any company’s marketing.
Whether it’s recorded interviews with the CEO, a visual testimonial from a satisfied client or something more creative, video content tends to sink in faster and leave a lasting impression for longer.
Now, just to be clear, investing in video content doesn’t mean you need to break the bank on a Michael Bay-esque production with high-end equipment and extravagant effects.
For example; asking the kitchen staff to post a 10-second Instagram video of this morning’s batch of blueberry muffins is all it takes to drive engagement. This will place your café front of mind for your followers – some of whom might suddenly decide to swing by for a muffin on their daily commute.
In the wake of COVID-19, large corporations and small businesses alike stepped up their “video game” (no pun intended), as it was the most effective way to maintain an emotional connection between the consumer and the brand. Videos can be personal, and convey a much clearer message.
Edinburgh-based Bellfield Brewery was extremely innovative in its use of video marketing to build hype around its post-lockdown reopening.
The independent bar/brewery posted a POV video that took the viewer on a journey from sanitizing their hands at the door and writing their name and number on a clipboard (as part of the UK Government’s “Track & Trace” initiative), before following the social distancing arrows on the floor right up to the bar.
From here, the camera panned across the tap list so that every item on the menu was clearly visible. A finger suddenly emerged to point at one of the taps, and a masked bartender poured the pint, took contactless payment, and guided the customer over to their designated table.
Finally, the customer brought the beverage up to their face (the camera) and the video cut to the brewery’s logo, plus some reopening details. A genius piece of video content marketing, and the whole thing was likely filmed on a smartphone… enough said!
2. Interactive Maps, Charts and Graphs
We all love a good GIF, right? Well, aside from providing us with an endless supply of funny memes and pop culture references, the same process can be applied to maps, graphs and charts, in order to show changing statistics on a timeline.
For example, you could create a world map that displays each country’s growing population on a loop, in 10-year increments from 1820 to 2020. Or perhaps you’d like to create a pie chart revealing each generation’s share of global spending power, where the pie slices shift and fluctuate as the timeline ticks through the last 50 years.
Not only is this type of engaging visual useful for breaking up large chunks of written text, but it’s often a very clear and concise way to convey important data. When it comes to SEO, the more data the better!
3. User-Generated Content (UGC)
Remember all that talk about posting fun little Instagram videos and other social media content earlier? Well, user-generated content or UGC is when this content is created and shared by the customers, not the brand.
As an example, if one of those daily commuters I mentioned were to take a picture of their blueberry muffin with a big bite taken out of it, and post it to Facebook and Instagram with the relevant hashtags, this would be user-generated content.
The same applies if the customer:
- Rates this café on TripAdvisor and writes a review
- Responds to someone’s “any good local cafes?” question on Quora by suggesting they try this particular café
- Writes a “10 Things to do in London” blog, which mentions this café
- Posts a “24 Hours in London” video on YouTube, which features this café
A good way to tap into this resource is to reward customers with discounts, merchandise and other gifts for creating high-quality user-generated content surrounding your brand. It also ensures that most UGC related to your business is positive.
4. Quizzes, Surveys and Feedback Forms
It’s baffling how many businesses overlook the most straightforward method for discovering exactly what their customers want… just ask them!
Quizzes, surveys and feedback forms are an excellent way to gain marketing insights, and you’ll find that long-term repeat customers are generally quite happy to have a say in the future success of your business.
You can send a form by email following a purchase, use it to bulk up a monthly e-newsletter, or get creative with quizzes and use them to gamify your social media channels. Online travel agents like Expedia and Skyscanner do this all the time, with “Name These 20 Cities” or “Guess the Locations of These 15 Statues” style pop quizzes.
5. Case Studies
Whether you’re looking to add more SEO content to your website or expand some existing client testimonials into fully-fledged case studies, this kind of content is a great way to substantiate your claims of being efficient, reliable and professional.
The average consumer’s trust in traditional advertising has dropped off in recent years, and people like to form an opinion of your brand based on neutral third parties – reviews, ratings, user-generated content and word-of-mouth referrals.
Even though case studies still come from the brand itself, it’s a previous or existing customer who is endorsing your business – this goes a long way in building brand trust.
Final Tip: Don’t Forget To Recycle, Reuse And Repurpose Old Content
If your business has produced a library of eBooks and whitepapers, why not break them down into several chunks of short-form content to post as blogs separately? You can also do the opposite; compile several existing blogs into a comprehensive “Ultimate Guide” style eBook to offer as a downloadable PDF on your website.
This allows you to request an email address upon download, and voila – your email subscriber list just grew by one!
Just be sure to avoid the common small business SEO mistake of duplicating content – take some time to tweak, adjust and reword in order to stay on Google’s good side. Remember… SEO is not about sprinkling a few keywords in here and there; SEO should be part of your complete digital marketing strategy.
Enjoyed this article on content? Then you might enjoy these other articles:
- Clever Content Optimisation Tactics Necessary to Avoid Common SEO Mistakes
- How To Ensure Your Content Marketing Strategy Has ROI
- How Effective Is Video Content Marketing Really?
- How Many of These Video Marketing Mistakes Are You Making?
- How User Generated Content Improves SEO, Traffic And Sales
- Writing longer content that ranks
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