Are Your Lead Generation Content Formats Too Limited?
Written by Lucy Jones
Nov 17 2016
Like most businesses, you likely have a few whitepapers and case studies on your site. But what other types of content should you have behind your landing pages?
What Lead Generation Content Formats Should You Be Creating?
How many different types of content do you create?
Like most businesses, you likely have a few blogs, whitepapers and a case study or three on your website. In fact, according to the Content Marketing Institute, 76% of B2B marketers blog, and 73% publish case studies.
But what other content types do you have behind your landing pages? If your go-to lead generation content is always an eBook or whitepaper, you’re missing an opportunity to gain extra interest and intrigue from your target audience.
After all, not everyone wants to read a guide. Increasingly, audiences are looking for content variety and accessibility; video, podcasts, and interactive content tools such as ROI calculators. So for better engagement and conversion, it’s a good idea to consider all the content formats your audience consumes.
75% of executives watch work-related videos on business websites at least once a week. - Hyperfine Media
Repurpose Your Content, But Remember the Buyer’s Journey
Repurposing already-effective content, is a great way to start expanding on content variety, and reach a wider audience - while ensuring themes still resonate. But that doesn’t mean you need to adapt every whitepaper you have into every format you can think of.
Instead, when first planning the lead generation content you want to create, consider two things:
Firstly, assess the content types your buyer audience engages with most and expects to see.
Then secondly, decide which stage of the buyer’s journey your new lead gen content will sit at. Are you creating content to address a top-of-the-funnel, Awareness stage problem? Or is your content addressing a Consideration or Decision stage issue?
Different content types work better at different stages of the purchasing funnel (which we’ve previously written about in our post ‘Why Mapping Content to Buying Cycle is Vital for Inbound Campaign Success’). For example, trials and webinars tend to be more Consideration/ Decision stage content, while eBooks and guides often address issues at the Awareness/ Consideration stages.
Of course, this is a guiding principle, and depending on your audience, topics and industry, the content formats you use can be adapted to sit across all buyer’s journey stages.
What Types Of Lead Generation Content Should You Be Creating?
So what types of content could you consider, and which buyer’s journey stage does each typically sit at? Remembering that lead generation content is gated content (i.e. content that sits behind a lead capture form), some of the lead generation content formats you may choose include:
eBooks are a great and comprehensive format to use to educate your audience on a topic. Done well, they can be a great asset for readers and can be dipped into again and again. Typically eBooks address Awareness and Consideration challenges.
Like eBooks, guides are a strong written, educational format, and often sit at the Awareness/ Consideration stages, though more advanced guides may outline Decision stage topics. Depending on the topic, your guide may offer a short outline of a topic, or be a longer ‘complete’ or ‘ultimate’ guide; with step-by-step instructions, walkthroughs, tactics and detail.
Whitepapers are the more formal, in-depth cousin of eBooks, structured to present and address a problem in a more academic way. Like reports, whitepapers are authoritative and detailed, and very industry focussed, meaning they are often centred at the consideration stage.
Checklists and cheatsheets
Need a shorter piece of content (that still delivers great value to your audience)? Checklists and cheatsheets can be referenced repeatedly by your buyers, and are great walkthrough tutorials on how to address challenges. This content type maps well to all buyers journey stages. When creating checklists and cheatsheets, make sure your design is clear and accessible, and your copy is concise.
If you have multiple pieces of related content that you could group together, you may want to create a downloadable kit. Kits contain a variety of content - you could include spreadsheet or design template, topic guides, checklists, research reports - all addressing the same theme.
Course videos, tutorials & webinars
Stop looking for that blogger and start looking for that videographer. 50% of your content mixture shouldn’t be text. It should be video. Brian Halligan, CEO HubSpot
Regardless of whether your content is gated or not, video-based content is set to skyrocket. Webinars are a great way to achieve that, with the added advantage of being interactive; meaning you can advise and help your buyers as they watch. Of course video content comes in many forms! If you’re offering webinars - why not repurpose your key points into video tutorials - and vice versa? Often, a visual explanation can be the clearest way to outline a concept, making course videos and tutorials another invaluable educational format across all buyer’s journey stages. Remember, you have the option of offering both a live tutorial - and can make a recording available later for long-term lead generation value
Video is also a great format to use for case study content. Below, you can see a recent Inbound Marketing Case Study we created with Technology & Software experts Acxiom UK:
Trials and demos
Again as Brian Halligan has noted: “In 2016, buyers expect to get value BEFORE they purchase your product.” This makes trials a very valuable option at the Consideration and Decision stages. Your buyer wants to know that your solution will be helpful to them - what better way to achieve that than by signing up to a trial?
Original data, research and reports
Industry data is an incredibly persuasive driver. If you can collate and present clear, fresh and relevant data that your prospects can act on, you’re sure to have an effective, authoritative piece of content. Creating data-based reports can take time; especially as you’ll likely need to incorporate design such as infographics to make the information accessible. But again, reports can be widely repurposed into other content formats of all types, giving you a great foundation to build on.
If you’re looking to expand your audience, build your reputation as a thought leader and really give your brand an accessible voice, podcasts and videos are a good option. And as podcast listening grew by 23% from 2015 to 2016, now is a great time to start creating audio content.
If you’ve got a really good keynote or presentation, why not transform it into a slideshare? Depending on the content, you may not always want to gate your slideshares. But by putting it behind a lead capture form - or by having one pop up halfway through the presentation, you might capture leads you would previously have missed.
Content is all about helping your audience. So why not help them to create their own content? Depending on what resources your buyer persona audience might need, you could offer downloadable blog templates, presentation guides, infographic design templates, calendars, powerpoint structures and more. Content templates are a good format to incorporate into a downloadable kit, alongside guides, reports etc.
If you’re hosting an event, it’s good practice to ask for sign-up via a lead capture form. That way you’ll know which leads are engaged and considering your brand, enabling you to progress/nurture those who registered. In addition, you’ll be able to prepare event resources such as badges, tickets, agendas etc. in advance.
Surveys, feedback, calculators and other interactive tools take time to plan and create, but are a great way for both you and your buyers to gain value. By offering helpful analysis or other insight in return for a small amount of lead information, you can entice real engagement and really help your audience.
Don’t Forget Your Landing Pages
Once you’ve planned, created and collated your lead generation content, make sure you’ve created a clear, well-optimised landing page to gate your content behind. Make sure you also have prepared a ‘thank you’ page and appropriate follow up emails.
But above all, when considering lead generation content - remember to consider your buyer. Assess what type of content your audience engages with and wants to see, then create more of that. If you don’t have a lot of gated content assets already, well-planned guides or eBooks are good way to start - but be prepared to expand your content horizons.