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Content marketing: Content beyond copy

Too often, thoughts of content for content marketing start and end with the written word. If you broaden your view, though, you open up a world of ways to connect with your target audience. Here are a few ideas.

Video
First and foremost on your list should be video. From the Dollar Shave Club crew to Blendtec’s Will It Blend series to thousands of other videos that have achieved some level of viral success, it’s hard to argue against the effectiveness of video.

Note that we’re not suggesting that “going viral” be your goal or your yardstick for success. Chances are, it ain’t gonna happen. But people like video. It engages them in a way that copy alone often can’t. Taking advantage of that fact will help your overall content marketing not only on its own strengths, but by providing variety and a change of pace.

Yes it takes more effort and potentially more budget. But given the way it can expand your audience – and strengthen the relationship you have with your existing audience – it’s not hard to justify the expense. Especially since search engines love video. (And building a YouTube channel has some great SEO and audience-building value, as well.)

Infographics
Infographics, when done well, are a great way to present a lot of information – or complex data – in an easily digestible format. And, they’re fun.

Again, costs are typically higher for infographics than for copy alone, but if you have designers on staff, you may be able to absorb that cost fairly painlessly. If not, some advanced planning makes sense. (Like brainstorming a series of infographics, producing them at the same time, and using them over the course of a month, a quarter or a year.)

Creativity is key here. Typically, infographics require some cross-discipline collaboration. Your graphics team has to work closely with team members who know their stuff. Together, they can come up with compelling ways to present ideas and information that will be of interest to your audience. It can’t be just about the data or just about pretty presentation.

 

Webinars
One more frequently overlooked form of content that can be incredibly productive is the webinar. Webinars provide a platform for you to connect with your audience and establish your expertise at the same time. The webinar itself is a form of content, as is the slide deck you’ll most likely produce as part of your presentation. Both can be repurposed in many ways, helping you leverage the investment you’ll make in developing and promoting the webinar.

Remember that as elsewhere in content marketing selling in a webinar is a no-no; you’ll lose your audience – and your credibility – in a nanosecond.  But useful information, honestly presented, will win you respect, fans, subscribers and ultimately, business.

Don’t Forget Your Goals
With all of these forms of content, don’t forget the marketing side of the content marketing equation. Overt selling is, as I said, a serious no-no. But putting content out there for free without it being a part of a larger marketing plan is called publishing, and that’s a tough business to be in at the moment, even if you’re not giving your content away for free.

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Andrew Schulkind

Since 1996, Andrew Schulkind has asked clients one simple question: what does digital marketing success look like, and how can marketing progress be measured? A veteran content marketer, web developer, and digital strategist, Andrew founded Andigo New Media to help firms find a more strategic and productive mix of tools that genuinely support online brand goals over time. With a passion for true collaboration and meaningful consensus, his work touches social media, search-engine optimization, and email marketing, among other components. He views is primary goal as encouraging engagement. Getting an audience involved in your story requires solid information architecture, a great user experience, and compelling content. A dash of common sense doesn’t hurt, either. Andrew has presented at Social Media Week NY and WordCampNYC, among other events, on content marketing and web-development topics. His technology writing appears on the Andigo blog, in a monthly column on Biznology.com, and for print and online publications like The New York Enterprise Report, Social Media Today, and GSG Worldwide’s publications LinkedIn & Business, Facebook & Business, and Tweeting & Business. Andrew graduated with a B.A. in Philosophy from Bucknell University. He engages in a range of community volunteer work and is an avid fly fisherman and cyclist. He also loves collecting meaningless trivia. (Did you know the Lone Ranger made his mask from the cloth of his brother's vest after his brother was killed by "the bad guys?")

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