Content creates exposure, builds trust and captures leads. But what does the future hold in store?
All good content marketing campaigns begin with a strategy that’s planned well in advance. If you want to stay one step ahead of your rivals, now is the time to put together your content marketing editorial calendar for the new year.
Organic reach across most social media platforms is decreasing. It’s as low as 1% for some Facebook pages! ….Scary stuff, but it just means you need to up your content creation game and find better points of contact with your customers.
So where are the content opportunities for the next few months? In this article, we’ll take a look at the content types you have to include in your next editorial calendar refresh, along with why and how to use each type.
Editorial Calendar Content Types Infographic
1. Long-Form Content
Long form content is any content that’s at least 1,200 words, and which offers in-depth analysis, answers and solutions.
Why should you use long-form content?
Use it to boost rankings: According to research from SerpIQ Google prefers long-form content. Your audience prefers it, too, with data showing that shares of 1,000+ word content have increased by 11.3% since 2017.
Not just this, but Google has updated their algorithm (again). The result of this being that longer content is favourable to the algorithm. You should be writing longer content that offers more depth and value. The benefit of using long-form content is that it offers more value to the end-user, which as a result increases the chances that you’ll secure more backlinks (backlinks are awesome for SEO).
How to use long-form content?
We get it, long-form content sounds tricky because, well, how do you come up with ideas for 2,000+ words topics?
If you’re stuck for an idea, and not sure how to create great content that works, the best thing to do is produce a skyscraper post. This is when you take an existing, well-performing piece of content in your niche – and do it better.
For example, you would start by finding popular articles in your niche and then work out how you could take these existing pieces of content and make them even better. What new angle can you come up with? What weakness does the existing article have? What has the author missed out?
Then, add more words, more data, more research, more answers – more value.
The next step is to then reach out to those who linked to the original piece of content (you can find these websites by using an SEO tool) and show them that you’ve got an even better piece of content.
This technique works because, unlike creating a long-form piece of content from scratch, you already know that a particular piece of content on a particular topic is performing well. The audience is there. Rather than waste all week creating a long-form article that no one wants to see, you know that you’re working on something that there is demand for.
Quizzes might not have come onto your radar yet, but get this: more and more businesses are exploring this rising content type.
Source: The Elephant Pants
The Elephant Pants were a totally unknown brand before they used their eye-catching quiz “Which Pair of Elephant Pants Are You?” to kickstart their launch. Just 5 short, easy-to-answer questions made up the quiz, and when the results came in, the quiz took the user back to their Kickstarter page. This is where the conversions would happen.
Then there was Cloud Sherpas, a software company that created a quiz called “How Mature Is Your ServiceNow Instance?” to generate more leads. The idea behind the quiz was to improve the way the user engaged with the brand’s offerings. Due to the way the questions were presented, Cloud Sherpas were able to separate higher quality leads from lower quality ones.
Source: Cloud Sherpas
And let’s not forget Disney, a huge corporation that has made quizzes a key part of its site’s content. Quizzes such as “Could You Be a Mouseketeer” are massively popular with their target audience and help to keep engagement strong.
Why should you use quizzes?
When you think about it, it’s very hard for a B2B business to produce content that jumps out at people. As a result, we often fall back on content that’s cliched, lifeless and disengaging.
Quizzes are the perfect antidote. They generate more engagement, and people just love filling out short quizzes. Interactive content is the way to go.
Not just that, but quizzes can help you gather more leads by helping you learn more about your customers.
Each time someone signs up to do a quiz, make sure to grab their email address. Include a CTA at the end of your quiz, too.
There are a number of different types of online quizzes you can choose from, including outcome-based quizzes and trivia quizzes.
Quizzes can include images and videos, and often they can be about your brand or niche.
How to use quizzes?
Simply use existing quiz creation software, such as TypeForm. Whatever quiz you make, always keep your audience in mind and make it as fun as you can.
Videos have been super popular for years, but they’re growing in popularity all the time. According to Cisco videos will make up over 80% of all online traffic by 2021. In 2018, the number of businesses using videos on their landing pages has risen by 49%, with videos increasing conversions by as much as 80%.
The landscape has changed slightly, however, as social videos – such as live streaming – begin to take precedence. Indeed, stats show that 77% of businesses now use videos on their social media channels, while more than 2 billion people have watched live videos on Facebook.
This means that you need to take to platforms like Facebook and Instagram and produce engaging video content.
A video can be an interactive live stream, but it can also be a video that explains what it is that your business does. It can also be a Q&A or an interview.
Why should you use video?
80% of social audiences would rather watch a live video than read a blog, while Q&A videos work because they’re interactive and help to position yourself as the expert in your niche.
Interviews, meanwhile, also help to position yourself in the market better, and because you’ll be interviewing an expert, you’ll also gain more exposure and traffic.
Then there are videos on Instagram Stories, which 1/3 people watch each day. Meanwhile, Instagram recently launched IGTV, which allows you to put content out on your very own channel. Here, you can create how-to videos, host interviews, and answer your customers’ most pressing questions. And now that Instagram has finally surpassed 1 billion users, this is a trend to jump on ASAP.
Facebook, of course, should still be the platform of choice for marketers. Over 100 million hours of video are watched on Facebook each day.
How to use video?
Live streaming sounds easy enough – you just film yourself on your phone, right?
Most new smartphones have fantastic cameras and are made to film good quality videos, so, on the technical side, most of the people should be covered.
Then, just choose a topic you know people will engage with and focus on delivering as much value as possible. To do this, you can use your analytics – such as Facebook Insights or Google Analytics – to determine what content and topics your users prefer to see. What’s got the most engagement in the past? What questions are people asking on your page?
Interact with your audience throughout the video and give them a reason to keep watching to the end.
When you decide to produce video content other than live streams – such as a pre-recorded Q&A or an interview – it’s important that you add subtitles. This is because 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound, while only 12% of people who watch Instagram videos actually turn the sound on!
A podcast is a digital audio file that your audience can download and listen to when they want.
A podcast can be a bunch of episodes released as a series, and you can interview guests and offer a crazy amount of value to your audience.
Why should you use podcasts?
In 2018, Apple confirmed that there are “over 525,000 active shows” available to download from iTunes. Meanwhile, a whopping 44% of the U.S. population claims to have listened to a podcast at least once, while 50% of all homes are “podcast fans.”
Source: Nielsen Q3 2017 Podcast Insights
This means that podcasts are a great way to reach your audience with a different kind of content to what we’ve covered so far.
Podcasts help you reach new audiences because they’re a great alternative to videos when your followers can’t watch something visual (perhaps they’re driving!), and they help you to grab more leads via subscribers.
Plus, podcasts are a great way for you to engage with your audience, position yourself as the expert and build a proper relationship with them.
How to use podcasts?
Podcasts are easy to create and don’t require a lot of cash. All you need to get started is a good pair of headphones and a good microphone.
Podcast editing software can be totally free and easy to use.
Once you’ve created your episode(s), you need to upload the files to your website and promote it. To promote it, put the word out on social media and make the most of the different distribution channels.
A contest is self-explanatory and you can host it anywhere on social media.
Facebook has primarily performed best for contests, but Instagram works amazingly well, too – according to research, Instagram contests can grow your following by as much as 70% – as does Twitter.
There are numerous types of contests you can create
- Photo contest
- Caption contest
- Branded contest
- “Comment to Win”
There are numerous success stories involving brands using content to generate more leads. Take KFC, for example. Back in 2010, the fast-food company held a Twitter contest centred around creative answers. It worked like this: Applicants had just 140 characters to explain why they deserved to win a $20,000 scholarship and had to include the #KFCscholar hashtag.
2,800 people took part, which means that KFC was effectively spending $7.14 to “buy” new leads who engaged with their brand. When you can get this kind of engagement from a contest, it’s nothing other than wildly successful.
And how about a branded contest? Eggo is one such brand who once held a two-part brand contest on Facebook called The Great Eggo Waffle Off with the aim of improving their brand exposure. The first part involved their followers submitting a tasty recipe for waffles, while the second part involved their followers voting for the best recipe. The winner received $5,000.
This is a type of brand-related contest because Eggo asked their fans for user-generated content centred on Eggo’s waffle product. As a result, they managed to generate a wealth of photos of their product on Facebook!
Why should you use contests?
Contests are absolutely brilliant for engagement. They boost the awareness of your brand and you can even start to build a community around them.
Moreover, you can also collect more leads. Because who doesn’t like to win things?!
How to use contests?
It’s pretty easy to run a contest. All you need to do is pick the contest you want to go with, decide a prize and choose a theme.
Before you run a contest on either Facebook or Instagram, you need to know the rules. For example, on Facebook, you need to make it absolutely clear that your content isn’t in any way sponsored, endorsed or administered by for associated with Facebook.
There are also rules for collecting entries. While it’s forbidden to ask entrants to share a post on their profile to enter your contest, you can collect entrants by asking your followers to like or comment on a specific post on your page, send you a DM or publish to your page.
If you’re planning a Facebook contest to get more traffic to your website, Facebook contest rules are the best source of information.
Instagram has rules that you need to follow, too, but there are also things that aren’t rules that you need to know in order to increase your chances of success. For example, if you make following your account necessary in order for someone to participate, you will noticeably boost the number of followers you have.
And while asking people to ‘tag a friend’ isn’t against the rules, it will annoy those who haven’t asked to be tagged. This can harm your brand.
What is against the rules is “inaccurately tagging content or encouraging users to inaccurately tag content.”
And like Facebook, you need to include the “acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated, with Instagram.”
These are the 5 content types you have to include in your editorial calendar. All 5 can boost engagement, leads, and conversions. Because there’s a lot to do, the time to start is now.