07 Jan 2016
How To Amplify Engagement With New Content Formats

How To Amplify Engagement With New Content Formats

We’re all overwhelmed with content. Every day there are 2 million blog posts written and 55 million Facebook status updates, while 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute. Cutting through this noise is now a significant challenge for every brand.

Taking a more positive view, you have an opportunity to stand out from your competitors by finding new ways of communicating with your audience. Consumers still want to be educated and entertained, but you need to grab their attention and tell them a story with a point of difference. With interactive and audio-visual content you can showcase the values and personality of your brand beyond the corporate messaging on your website or the brief snapshots you share on social media.

Make interacting with your customers in a more meaningful way one of your New Year’s Resolutions. How can you drive real, active engagement with your audience? Think outside the box by adding one (or all) of these three content formats to your strategy.

Podcasts

Podcasts are nothing new but they’ve really taken off thanks to huge hits like Serial and This American Life. Although this might not seem too relevant for B2B marketers, the rise of podcasts has extended to all sorts of places as brands look to develop better relationships with their customers. That’s because podcasts are a great way to start conversations and build connections. There are lots of excellent B2B examples, from GE’s podcast The Message, which topped the iTunes charts this year, to Xero’s ‘Small Business Leadership’ and The McKinsey Podcast. So is a podcast right for you? Here are some of the main benefits of podcasting for B2B brands:

  • You’ll connect with a valuable audience: Unlike a blog or a social media post, a podcast is a serious time commitment. People who invest half an hour or more into listening to your podcasts are likely to be valuable leads or existing customers you can continue to nurture.
  • It’s cost-effective: You don’t need huge budgets or expertise to get started with podcasting. All you really need is a microphone, a headset and the software.
  • Reach more people: Listeners don’t have to go to your site, follow you on social media or even be aware of your brand to find your podcast. You can apply to include it in iTunes, or host it on a site like SoundCloud to help people find it.
  • People can engage anywhere: Podcasts give your audience the chance to interact with your brand no matter what they’re doing. I know people who listen to them while driving, jogging, getting ready in the morning or cooking dinner. You can’t say that about your blog posts or whitepapers no matter how engaging they are.

Hosting a podcast is great way of positioning yourself as a thought leader and growing your personal brand. If you’re considering adding podcasts to your strategy, start by deciding what you have to offer. If you can provide relevant industry advice and insightful commentary, this is the perfect outlet.

Webinars

If you’re struggling to obtain quality leads, webinars could be the answer. In fact, they’ve been rated as the second most effective marketing tactic for B2B marketers after live events. The people who register for your webinar are high quality prospects – they’re interested in your content or topic, willing to commit time out of their busy day and happy to provide their details in exchange for valuable information. Hosting a webinar gives you the opportunity to show some personality and interact with these prospects in a human, personal way. Plus, webinars can include anything from audio, video, charts, dot-points, images and animation, helping to attract and retain the attention of a distracted audience.

Not everybody who registers for your webinar will attend. However, now that you have their contact details, you can try other engagement strategies to keep your brand top of mind and nurture their interest. If you offer an on-demand replay, you also have a high-quality asset that will continue to deliver long-term value long after the event is over.

Interactive

Interactive content is a foreign concept for a lot of B2B brands. BuzzFeed style quizzes and ‘choose your own adventure’ videos might not really seem applicable when you’re selling financial services or enterprise technology solutions. Yet although your blogs and e-books are a crucial part of your content strategy, interactive content is a great way to provide an immersive, engaging digital experience. For example, quizzes can help to drive conversions  – as long as they’re aligned with your brand. Let’s say you’re promoting a whitepaper about key industry trends for next year. Hosting a short quiz like, ‘Are you prepared for 2016?’ could be an entertaining way of capturing interest, providing an incentive to download your content and learn more. The answers you generate will also inform your understanding of your audience and help to perfect your marketing personas.

You can also go a step further and make your content assets interactive. There’s no reason why a digital e-book can’t include questions and answers, assessments, calculators, videos or interactive charts. Standalone infographics are a great way to incorporate interactive elements, like this one from MasterCard. Not convinced it’s a worthwhile experiment? What if I told you interactive content has been found to outperform passive content when it comes to driving conversions, educating buyers and differentiating from competitors?

Summary

So much content is now created every day that it’s hard to stand out. Producing interactive, audio or visual content gives you an opportunity to capture the attention of your potential audience, as well as nurturing relationships with existing customers. These assets are great at retaining the interest of your audience while allowing you to collect valuable data. So what are you waiting for?

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