Hardly a day goes by when we don’t need to learn something. Sometimes we’re simply curious, other times we need to accomplish a task or build a skill, and then other times we’re just trying to not look stupid, which explains why I’m always Googling the details of U.S. history. But no matter the reason, our first instinct is almost always to get online and find a blog, video, tutorial or TV show that knows the answer.
The effectiveness of content marketing grew out of this need to learn. Marketers figured that if someone was going to Google “how to grow good tomatoes”, then a gardening tools or soil company should be the one to tell them the answer. In a situation like this, the brand who made the educational content is abled to impress the potential customer, be seen as an expert, introduce their products in a way that’s far less “salsey” than a commercial, and generally increase traffic to their website.
But there’re far more content choices than just a blog, and all of them can be monstrously effective depending the brand and the marketing goal. The following list covers a number of those content forms by showcasing the real-world brands successfully creating them. If any of these brands resemble your business or organization, then the content form they create may just be right for you!
- (Blog series) The professional staffing and recruitment firm Aerotek taps into an internal panel of recruiters and industry experts for their Business Insights blog series, affirming Aerotek as a true thought leader and driving some serious traffic to their website.
- (Video series) The Search Engine Optimization software Moz, produces Whiteboard Friday, a series in which the brand’s mustached mascot covers an aspect of SEO each week. The simple yet highly informative series shows just what you can do if you put someone who’s knowledgeable and passionate in front of a camera.
- (e-book) Distributed through a number of online tactics, Evergreen Health’s The World’s Easiest Health Insurance Guide (Ever) is an e-book that’s not only used to drive web traffic, collect leads and enhance the company’s brand, it also supports their mission to demystify healthcare and aid individuals and families.
- (Mobile phone app) The University of Michigan College Engineering’s ‘One Cool Thing’ mobile phone app delivers a story each day on innovation, revolution and history in the world engineering, engaging prospective students with a serious passion for the industry.
- (Podcast) Created in partnership with the Umpqua Bank, the Open Account podcast teaches us everything we want to know but are afraid to ask about money.
- (Documentary) In an attempt to promote their brand while promoting the importance of vegetarianism, MorningStar Farms produced the documentary “The Veg Effect.” In this case, the informative documentary actually encourages (truthfully, we hope) the audience to use the brand’s product!
- (e-course) InVision–a website prototyping app–offers a free 9 part e-course on the principles of UX design. As more and more people read their news and find shopping discounts within email, designing a course that’s hosted entirely within an email is a smart and exciting approach to online learning.
- (Webinar) Skift is a travel marketing publication that has started to take their research and content and turn it into a revenue source, creating White Papers, courses, and webinars. This is a great example of how to monetize your knowledge while boosting your content marketing efforts.
- (Online Course) The design company IDEO has taken its knowledge to the next level by creating an branded online course for marketers and creators of all kinds. Leading for Creativity is not only a revenue source. It’s also a way to define the company as a top-tier expert within the industry.
If your marketing team has a content marketing plan or is in the midst of implementing one, it would be hard not to ignore the options in this list. You’d even be surprised by how simple it is to create this type of content.