Reinvention is a word that most marketers understand, especially in the digital age. According to Adobe's 2014 Digital Roadblock report, 64% of marketers expect their role to change over the next year; 81% believe this will happen in the next three years.
The reality is, tactics that worked 2 years ago are probably not as effective today (memes anyone?). To ensure that brands keep seeing good results with content marketing, marketers must pay attention to the performance of existing tactics, and be open to trying new ones.
Here’s a list of 5 emerging content formats that you should consider. They're all either new themselves or will at least breathe new life into the ones you’re already used to.
While infographics still work, it’s a bit harder to get the same results they used to deliver a couple of years ago. Back in 2012, any brand could pump out a decent looking visual, pitch it to a few bloggers, and get hundreds of shares.
Today, marketers must make sure their content really stands out. They not only have to feature credible and share-worthy data, but also provide design that is both beautiful and unique.
For instance, How a Car Engine Works is a recent gifographic that received hundreds of shares within hours. Instead of relying on the same old static visuals and explanations, the designer utilized GIF animations to illustrate complex processes. Needless to say, the data ends up being easier to digest and makes the piece of content even more valuable.
Tip: Tools like Piktochart and Info.gram not only work well for creating infographics but they can also help to produce a base of several frames for potential GIFs. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to create this kind of visual.
2. In-depth Posts
A recent study by BuzzSumo, a software that specializes in analyzing content, discovered that people prefer to share long-form articles (2000+ words) over short-form ones. Despite content increasingly being accessed on smaller screen sizes, audiences don't seem to have a problem with reading longer pieces on them.
Another success case: In 2013, Darren Rowse of ProBlogger tested how in-depth blog posts performed on his site. Although marketers often thought that online attention spans would favour shorter content formats, Rowse was surprised to discover that longer blog posts outperformed the regular length ones.
- Beyond Blogging: How Reorganizing Our Content Increased Leads By 800%
- Why No One Comments on Your Blog and What to Do about It
Tip: Provide visual breaks. Your content is long, but that doesn’t mean it has to look like a long wall of text. Using subheadlines, bullet lists, and illustrations can help make it more readable.
BuzzSumo's report also found that 8 out of the 10 most shared articles on the web in 2014 are quizzes. We've often seen them on popular sites like BuzzFeed and KISSmetrics, both of which also saw a dramatic increase in their monthly traffic. BuzzFeed received 130 million visitors only in November 2013. Its most widely shared quiz, “What City Should You Actually Live In?” had over 20 million views.
Quizzes not only provide entertainment value but they can also become an effective lead generation tool for brands. Marketers are able to educate and then place offers based on their users' needs.
Tip: Check Qzzr.co, probably the best tool out there for creating custom quizzes, which also enables brands to insert CTAs for gathering data.
4. Opinion and Rants
Due to its tone and structure, this style of post is substantially different from your typical blog post. You may be used to publishing pieces that are more information driven, as opposed to opinion based. Rants or opinions, however, may be stronger and more expressive.
Being passionate and knowledgeable about a popular topic is a great starting point for a credible opinion piece. The clearer and more unique your position is, the more likely it’ll be read and shared.
Often ignored by content marketers, SlideShare has become the YouTube of slide decks. With 60 million views per month and 10,000 uploads per day, brands that already leverage this channel are seeing their presentations get hundreds of pageviews for relatively little effort.
According to David Brier, a branding specialist who has seen great success with SlideShare as a content tactic, "businesses can use SlideShare to get their message out in a venue that is already primed for and seeking information, insight and useful strategies."
Two of Brier's sets of slides have recently surpassed the 200,000 views milestone. The first one is “What’s Killing Your Brand (and how to kill it before it kills you)” (over 180,000 as of this blog post). A newer presentation, Why is it so hard to create a brand anybody gives a sh*t about, reached 70,000 views in just 10 days.
- 7 Rules of Content Marketing Design That Convert Customers
- HubSpot & Evernote's Content Marketing Guide
To remain successful, content marketers must keep creating outstanding content that targets potential clients in new and attractive ways. Consider the ones I just described but also remember to keep an eye out for other potential channels.
You don't want to be the the last to know about how the next hot new tool can helps you “go viral,” and what bells and whistles can help you gain more social shares, leads, and ultimately revenue.