2 Types of Content Every Business Needs

When I was first introduced to the concept of inbound marketing, a giant lightbulb turned on in my head. The concept itself is quite simple – create content that your ideal buyers would want to see, that answer a need or a question, and get it in front of them. Nothing sales-pitchy, no billboards or unsolicited advertisements, just a more honest and transparent conversation about what your business can do to help your customers.

However, no matter how simple the concept may seem, figuring out what type of content every business needs to create can be a challenging task. To make things a little easier, I like to put content types into two different categories: engagement-driven content and action-driven content.

Hubspot buyer journey

Engagement-Driven Content

If you’re familiar with HubSpot’s Buyer Journey (pictured above), then I’m sure you’re wondering why I bother to rename content when they have already clearly mapped out what stage each piece fits into? Well, ultimately every piece of content should of course fit into the Buyer’s Journey, but there also needs to be a specific goal.

The goal of engagement-driven content is just that, to get your ideal customers to engage with your company and product. Let’s explore a little deeper as to what this looks like:

Social Media

Have you ever asked yourself what your main goal is on social media? Many people whom I’ve asked often answer the same way: To get customers. However, if you have the same answer, then I am sorry to say that you’re wrong.

Social media isn’t really a buying platform, although Pinterest is one social network that is starting to change that. So you can’t approach social media with a sales attitude.

Think of your social media accounts that same way you do your own personal accounts. Most likely, the reason you’re on Facebook is to connect with your friends, stay in touch with loved ones, and share life experiences. The same strategy should be used for your business. Share fun experiences through photos and videos, ask your followers questions and hold contests instead of always posting about sales and new products.

Once you shift your mindset to posting for engagement (people responding and commenting), and not for sales, you will see the difference in growth with not just your follower count, but also the quality of those followers.

Blog

Although the context of your blog can vary drastically depending on what stage of the Buyer’s Journey you’re targeting it too, the goal of blogging remains the same: To educate users about your service and why it will add value to their life. Although some people may decide they are ready to contact you or buy after reading one of your awesome blog posts, most likely they will still need some convincing.

The three things your blog needs to do is be interesting, answer a question and encourage engagement. You can do this by:

  • Being instructional. If you’re a chiropractor and you know that many of your patients have sleep problems, then you may decide to write your blog on stretches that can help relax the body before bed. One way to encourage engagement would be to include a question at the end of your post asking people to leave a comment with any further questions they may have, or maybe to list a specific sleep problem they are having and note that you will respond on ways you can help. It’s amazing how many people don’t seem to respond to commenters, but this is a huge opportunity to turn someone into a customer.
  • Providing more information. Blogs have an incredibly high bounce rate, so it’s always a challenge to try and come up with ways to keep the user on your website. One way is by adding calls-to-action within your post. In the case of the chiropractor’s sleep post, a great call-to-action would be a link to another blog post or even an ebook on foods to eat and avoid if you’re having sleep problems.
  • Having sign-up options. If the reader liked your content, then a simple way for you to keep them engaged is by including a form for them to provide their email and sign up for a monthly newsletter. This way, you will have more opportunities to provide value to a user who isn’t ready to commit to a sale at the moment.

Video

Video has undoubtably become the most important piece of content for any business to produce. In fact, Aberdeen found that businesses who use video grow company revenue 49% faster year-over-year than organizations without video. In addition, video is the leader of engagement with social video generating 1200% more shares than text and images combined (Brightcove). But the key here is to do it well. Creating video with no value or that is poor quality can actually hurt you in the end.

content marketing

Action-Driven Content

Action-driven content is content with the goal of getting the user to either provide you with their information, make contact with your company, or buy your product/service. At this point, the user is most likely past the awareness stage of the Buyer’s Journey and is looking to make a decision.

Exclusive Content

Providing your users with exclusive content that can’t be seen unless they fill out a form or sign up to a newsletter is one of the best ways to turn an onlooker into a lead. This content can include ebooks, checklists, instructional videos, or even access to use or test one of your products. If a user is willing to provide you with even just their email address, then you can probably assume that you passed their test and have became a trusted source. They are inching closer to making their buying decision, and you now have permission send them additional content that might spark their interest in the future.

Demos & Webinars

There is no better way to help guide your user into making a purchase then by actually showing them your work in action. Depending on what is it you offer, ask them to take 15 minutes of their day to set up an online demo of your product. If the service you offer isn’t product-based, then conduct a webinar to further teach users about the value you can provide them. Webinars are especially great when listeners aren’t required to participate, so they can feel at ease listening while taking a lunch break.

Case Studies

Case studies are probably the most powerful influencer for a buyer who is in the consideration and decision stage of the buyer’s journey, especially for those who seem hesitant to commit. Put together a few case studies, one for every buyer persona your business has, and send one or more in an exclusive email to your potential client. Of course, make sure to send them the case studies that directly relate to their business so that it’s clear how you can make an impact for them.

Knowing how to seperate your content from engagement-driven and action-driven can not only help give your content clarity, but also to solidify your end-goal in helping the user move through the buyer’s journey.


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Posted by Ariel Valley

Web designer, writer, social media lover and inbound marketer at Catch22 Marketing. Also known as a professional coffee taster, shoe enthusiast and film buff. Connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter @ariel_valley.

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