New And Innovative Content Marketing Tactics Are Going To Help With Lead Generation
Now that 2020 is behind us, we’re back to work, refreshed and revived, ready to kill it and in our case, generate leads, sales opportunities and new customers.
But to do that, we’ll have to try out some new tricks in 2021. The old content marketing playbook is pretty tired, and when everyone is executing it the same way, your content marketing performance is going to suffer.
Once your competition starts adding infographics, e-books and tip guides to their websites, your content isn’t going to look as interesting.
The key, as with everything in marketing, is to stay ahead of the curve. Or as one of my favorite athletes, Wayne Gretzky, says, “Skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.”
Here are some creative content marketing strategies for you to consider adding to your content marketing plans for 2021 and beyond.
Content Experiences, NOT Virtual Events
2020 was the year of the virtual event. With trade shows and conferences canceled, event management companies and their sponsoring partners all moved to virtual events. After attending a handful of these events, I think the participant experience was mediocre, even in the best situations.
I’m sure in some cases virtual events will continue to be a viable tactic for some companies in some industries.
But I think we have a bigger opportunity to do what we’re calling content experiences, or weeklong content-oriented events. Think about these as a blend of Netflix, when content is streamed and available on-demand, Shark Week, where content is all geared to a theme, and a music festival, where content is available over the course of the week for attendees to enjoy when and as they like.
A great example is our content week experience, The Butterfly Project, which launches on Friday, January 8 and runs through Friday, January 15. It includes:
- Recorded video sessions with experts
- A release of content offers like playbooks, workbooks and guides
- Fun components like a Spotify playlist
- Giveaways to get people engaged
- Live office hours for people to ask questions of speakers and experts
Each day, we release more content, like episodes in a Netflix series. Eventually all of the content is available to registrants. People sign up and get access to the entire collection of content.
When this event ends, we will have created a campaign-specific set of content including video, recorded sessions, recorded ask-me-anything sessions and fresh new educational content for our prospects that we can use in lead nurture campaigns, on our website to drive leads and in the sales process to increase engagement. Instead of doing this one at a time, we did it all at once and can use it for the rest of the year.
But more importantly, we’re delivering a more unique and remarkable content experience for people to participate in that positions us correctly, tells our story and drives leads for the business.
Training And Certifications
If all your competitors are offering e-books, whitepapers, blog articles and tip guides, what are you going to do to raise the bar? One of the answers is training and certifications.
When you think about it, these are simply more detailed sets of educational content. Instead of a single e-book, you’re providing a course. You’re certifying that the person who took the course understood the material with a simple quiz. You’re also gamifying the material by giving those who pass your quiz a badge, signifying their accomplishments.
Almost any business can create online training materials, build an interactive quiz and award a badge when people pass the quiz. Better yet, we can find a way to apply this approach to almost any business.
Here are a few examples from businesses that might seem to be a poor fit for this approach.
An accounting firm or any company that provides professional services – they’re looking for people who have family offices and want to switch accounting firms. Offer Family Office Management Certifications to be a more effective office manager.
A company that sells safety products – they’re looking for safety managers at companies with large workforces and factories. Offer Safety Certifications; these can be all-encompassing or a series of certifications in more specific areas of safety management. Yes, government certifications are available, but other certifications would be attractive to safety managers. For example, certifications around specific products like eye washes or ear protection.
A company that offers a database of resources geared around handling disasters and emergencies in local communities can offer Emergency Preparedness Certifications for local officials. This can include understanding what resources are available, processes for responding quickly and communication standards for effectively dealing with emergencies.
All of these examples can be delivered online with simple certifications. Once people complete the course work and quiz, you have potential leads and sales opportunities.
In addition, the people completing the certifications are now trained based on your methodology. They know you and your company, and you helped them advance their career and professional standing. This increases the chances of them wanting to talk to you more about how you can help them and their companies.
Podcasting exploded in 2020, and I would make this recommendation about podcasting, but today’s technology makes the difference between having a podcast (entirely audio) and a webcast (audio and video) almost unnoticeable.
For example, Joe Rogan and his The Joe Rogan Experience podcast (one of the most successful podcasts in history) is available in audio format on Spotify and audio with video on other streaming services. Once you start recording, whether you do simply the audio or audio with video makes almost no difference.
The advantages of having a podcast or webcast far outweigh the effort.
You get regular subscribers who look forward to seeing or hearing the new content when it’s published.
You can invite guests on your show, and these guests can be potential prospects. In this case, you’ve married your account-based marketing (ABM) tactics with your content marketing tactics, and you’re inviting your top prospects to be on your show.
You can invite potential or current partners on your show and run joint marketing campaigns to cross-promote the show. This gives you access to their lists and their prospects, introducing your company to many more new people who can become leads for your business.
You can highlight customers, giving them a platform to talk about their business and help tell their story related to your business and your contribution to their success.
You can bring industry experts on the show and expose your company to them as additional sources of leads and referrals.
And while all these are excellent on their own, you are able to create a steady stream of regular content (both video and audio) that positions your company, your company’s story and your value in your industry in a way that is different than many of your competitors.
This content helps get your site ranked on Google, provides content to drive social media engagement and shares, can be leveraged in the sales process and converts visitors on your website.
The benefits far outweigh the effort to create a content calendar for the show, a format for the show and a process to invite guests on the show. The rest is easy – record the show on Zoom and share the video/audio recordings as described above. It’s a no-brainer in 2021.
It might sound a little old school, but as the author of three books, printed books remain a major piece of content for Square 2 and continue to drive significant business to this day.
What’s different about books today is how easy they are to publish. While it would be great to have a commercial publisher approach you with a book deal, rarely do those include any upfront money. So self-publishing a book is a better, more viable option. It’s easy, and a number of reputable firms make it even easier, including setting you up on Amazon and other electronic book sales platforms once your book is done.
The big obstacle for most people is what to write about. Simply put, write about what you know. Consider it a doctrine for your platform that helps position your company and tell your story.
In each of the three books we wrote, writing a book helped crystalize our own methodology and approach to our company.
Take “Conscious Capitalism” and “Conscious Leadership,” both written by John Mackey, CEO at Whole Foods. These books helped define the Whole Foods story and position them as more than a healthy option in the grocery store industry.
“Smash The Funnel” created a buyer journey model that companies use (Square 2 included) to map their customer and prospect buyer journeys to improve those experiences and help their companies grow.
You can do something similar. In fact, we’ve had a number of clients write a book as part of their content marketing strategy. With the help of a ghost writer, they successfully brought books to market and used them to drive leads for their companies.
We did talk a little about video as it pertained to the podcast/webcast section, but this is different. Creating a set of video assets on a regular basis can take your content marketing efforts to the next level.
There are so many places where video can supplement your written content. In no way am I suggesting that you not publish written or designed content, but video is quickly becoming one of the most important aspects of your content marketing program.
You should heavily feature video on your website. Video helps tell the story when reading requires much more time and effort. Video keeps people on your site longer. It also drives conversions and clicks, signaling more value to Google and helping these pages rank.
Video helps landing pages convert at a higher rate, driving leads.
Video is more likely to be shared and can be leverage on your social media sites. There is no campaign or campaign tactic that can’t be improved with the use of video.
Get your customers involved and help them shoot videos that tell your story. These can be shared with prospects, leveraged on your website and featured on social media. These reference reels help in the sales process as well.
The uses for video content are almost endless, and today shooting video is just as easy as using it in your campaigns. Smartphones are now equipped with high-quality video cameras, and most have editing software in the operating systems. Almost anyone can add music and graphics with little to no previous experience.
If you want to do something more complex, finding a video production resource is easy. Once the footage is ready, getting a person to edit, clean up and brand your videos no longer requires a massive investment in a video production team.
Consider adding video to your content marketing strategy in 2021. The uses are almost too numerous to list here and the benefits are equally numerous. In no time, you’ll notice the clicks, leads and sales opportunities coming from the addition of video content in your content marketing plans this year.
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