Content marketing is a smart and powerful way to engage audiences and generate valuable leads. With the right content and the right platform, your prospects will appreciate your efforts to educate and entertain them with a good story.
So, what makes the content “right?” We all know that customer behavior and preferences are apt to change, as many are bombarded with information every day. They need informative and trusted sources to which to turn. How can you become one?
In April 2015, UBM Tech’s research team asked 485 business technology professionals about the types of content they trust to make purchasing decisions. We’ll share a few of the results and our analysis to help you benchmark the types of content your company should leverage for your marketing campaigns.
Think like a journalist. Don’t use content marketing to sell, sell, sell. It needs an objective flair. Prospects and customers appreciate well-researched, thought-provoking content. Be sure that your writers are asking/answering the same kinds of questions a journalist would. Quite simply: Why does this content matter to me?
If you are creating content assets for the early and mid-stages of the buying cycle, don’t tell readers how great your products and services are. Let prospects know you understand their business challenges, you are up on current trends in their markets, and that you are aware of the need for something that will alleviate their pain points. Use research from credible third parties or work with a third party to create new, custom research. The fact is, 64% of tech pros deem content more credible if it's from an independent source. 77% use research to track industry trends, and half use it to make a business case for a solution purchase.
If you are creating later stage content, give reasons why your solutions are better and back it up with proof points. What is innovative about your product or solution? How does it differ from competitors’ solutions? Why does it matter to me/my business? Quite simply, what is it that makes you unique? Skip the marketing fluff and double up on real-world applications and technical depth.
When I was a journalism student in college, many of my friends would ask me to edit their papers. Many times, I would write (in red ink, naturally) at the top of the paper, “What’s the point?” I’ve asked the same question many times throughout my editing career. If the point isn’t crystal clear, the content needs a makeover.
Don’t overwhelm readers: Regardless of the format, size matters. IT pros tell us that webinars should be in the 30-60 minute range; white papers should be six pages or less; research reports should be 10 pages or less. To see the full rundown of ideal lengths for different types of content, check out our infographic.
There’s life beyond the white paper. White papers have been a tried and true way to educate readers about industry trends or solutions. These days, IT pros rely on a variety of content types to educate or to make a business case. The most popular formats include webinars, online articles, newsletters, research, video and others.
No one likes old sushi. Or stale content. Timeliness matters. Almost 40% of those we surveyed said they would only consider content that is less than a year old. You may not have the resources to refresh your content annually, but beware of old, outdated material that may have been fabulous at one point, but is starting to smell bad in your current campaign.
Are you reading this on a mobile device? Probably! Eighty six percent of those we surveyed said they view content on a mobile device. So, be sure to build content that’s well suited for mobile platforms – short documents like this but also podcasts and radio shows are very popular.
Show me! But keep it brief! Video is increasingly popular as a reliable content type for IT pros. Fifty four percent said they use it as part of their job. Whether it involves interviews with executives, demos on a show floor, comedic engagement, animations, documentaries, or anything else, marketers need to make every second count, but keep the seconds to a minimum. IT pros prefer videos that are five minutes or less, and we strongly recommend they be kept to two minutes.