The_Many_Faces_of_Content-02 (1)Content marketers face an increasingly tricky situation these days. It was once enough to put out content that helped the business. Now, three words are coming into play after that.

‘In what way’.

By its very nature, content has different types and purposes. It can help considerably to know which exactly of those is needed, and when.

What am I aiming at with this piece?

That is what every content marketer should ask before starting. To attract inquiries and leads? To give the world a glimpse behind my company’s successes? To present thought leadership? Each has its uses.

If the purpose is to passively engage visitors to your site and get them to stay long enough to become interested in what you’re offering, then showcasing press releases or a writeup of insights into the future of your industry might not be the best thing. What’s called for is something measurable, something readers can easily picture and relate to.

White papers have shed the old dreary, data-speak connotations to become regarded as useful business marketing tools – documents along such lines, providing authoritative research and guidance on your company’s offerings, carry far more weight than, say, PR statements, which may be seen as corporate and self-serving, or intellectual commentary, that, while interesting, has little immediate benefit to potential customers.

The aim is to persuade your visitors that what you have to offer is worth sticking around for. To that end, you need something that is real, and quantifiable, and applicable to their needs – which rouses genuine interest, which in turn generates leads.

You will also want to attract said visitors to your site in the first place, in which case attention must be paid to the frequency and nature of the content created for such a purpose. It must be regular, it must be snappy, and it must be aired in the right places.

Get that game face on

Relating stories about past projects is also a surefire way to capture attention and interest. However, it’s easy to get carried away with the classic B2B case study formula. No, you do not over-promise your readers; no, you do not make your company out to be some kind of deus ex machina who made all of the hapless client’s problems go away.

Consider these when putting a success story into a case study. There are, of course, alternatives. Personal testimonials from high-ranking client representatives, in-depth comments from parties involved in the project – above all, it is necessary to bear in mind that the desired outcome of all these is not simply to assure prospective customers that you’ve been there and done that. It’s to assure them you can go there and do that again, and for them.

What of thought leadership, probably the most discussed and debated sort of content in today’s content marketing scene? In an online world where every other marketer is theorizing and forecasting, relevance has never been more important. ‘Macro’ issues that are likely to impact your readers’ environments in the near future, for example, are both relevant and pressing.

Musings, predictions, and analytics on subjects of little interest to the audience tend to be taken as simply that. The idea is to not just demonstrate you’re on top of things but on top of the right things.

Caveat marketor

Ultimately, even after knowing which type of content to use for which purpose, how useful and informative it is makes little difference if it doesn’t move readers to action. It must be resonant. Present a brilliant piece on consumer behaviour to an audience of PR specialists and you’re not likely to get much of a response.

Try it on an audience of sales heads? You’re practically guaranteed a slew of opinions and feedback.

You’ll always hit the mark when you know which tack to take, and talk to your audience’s interests. What faces do you show in your content? Tell us below.

Share this postShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInEmail this to someone