Which Content Marketing Formats Are Most Effective?
Written by Becky Armstrong
Jun 13 2016
Which content types are most effective when running an inbound marketing campaign? We explore HubSpot content marketing data to find out.
What Content Should You Be Creating?
Content marketing is a well established driving force behind Inbound marketing campaigns. But knowing what to write, where to publish, and what content format to use is important to ensure campaign success and ROI.
For effective nurture, Inbound marketing campaigns require a wide range of content; all mapped and tailored to resolve buyer challenges at each stage of the Buyer’s Journey.
For example, a buyer beginning their purchasing journey will be at the ‘Awareness’ stage, and looking for content types such as introductory blog posts. Equally, buyers who are at the Decision stage will want more detailed information; that webinars or consultations could offer.
In order to assess which content formats are deemed most effective (for European marketing) and the content marketers should be creating, we reviewed the HubSpot produced report: ‘Driving Content Marketing Success 2015: European Edition’. Below, we also discuss how each of those content types can be best used to attract, nurture, and close leads.
The Most Effective Content Formats For Inbound Success
Blog Posts or Articles
It’s unsurprising, at 67%, that these are the most effective formats. Shorter to produce in length (600-1000 words) blogs are excellent Awareness stage content. They are designed to attract new visitors to your site at the start of their purchase journey, and educate buyers on the key challenges that they are looking to solve. For best B2B traffic, we have found it ideal to post 11-16+ blog posts per month.
E-Newsletters & Online Magazines
At 45%, newsletter roundup emails and digital magazines are often regularly distributed to an existing database of contacts as a good lead nurture medium - think regular RSS newsletter emails to keep brands front of mind. This content format is great for the Awareness stage and can be produced quickly if it is a round-up of say, blog content.
Similarly at 41%, Infographics are easily digestible, very sharable and again are typically a content type for the Awareness stage, making them very effective and popular for marketers hoping to draw traffic to their sites.
Long Form Content
At 35% content such as ebooks, whitepapers or guides falls under the Consideration stage of the Buyer's Journey. Typically gated, this content offers more detail to buyers who are considering solutions. For that reason these content types likely receive less attention than a blog (explaining the lower percentage rating) - but should yield higher quality prospects. Longer form, gated content is a key content type for lead generation and nurture.
Animated Explainer Videos
At 36% video content is becoming a more popular marketing tool, as videos make an easily digestible, visual overview of your products/services, and are great to build trust. Videos, as with most content types, can be angled to suit all Buyer’s Journey stages; from explainer videos, to case study interviews, to detailed product demonstrations. When creating visual content it is important that production is of good quality to maintain your credibility.
Own Community or Forum
Building your own community (for example, starting a Group on a social networking site, like LinkedIn) will help to place you as an expert in your field, and encourages engagement from prospects. However, remember to follow the Inbound marketing premise in groups and forums - help don’t sell. Currently at 22%, this content format may not be a priority action, but should be a part of your marketing mix sure to drive more traffic to your site, and build lead relationships.
Competitions and Quizzes
Used appropriately, running a competition or quiz (22%) can be a good way to build your database, as long as you are targeting your ideal buyer persona. As reported in This article from Oracle, which take marketing lessons from a very popular, very targeted Buzzfeed quiz, states that on average companies see click through rates of more than 50% when interactive content is used in marketing campaigns.
Mobile Specific Apps or Engagement Tools
As reported in Entrepreneur, a Gallup survey showed that nearly 75% of people check their mobile phones at least once an hour and almost 90% of that time is devoted to using apps. Even if you’re not prioritising an app for your brand, making sure your site and content (including emails) are mobile optimised is crucial to ensure best engagement through all Buyer’s Journey stages.
Any content that involves mentioning specific branded solutions should be positioned at the end of the purchasing funnel to help buyers who are ready to consider/ decide on services. Early stage buyers will not be ready to delve into a branded explanatory video about your solution! For this reason product-based, or heavily branded videos are likely to be a less effective format that other videos, especially in regard to views or shares, but they are helpful to nurture or close leads.
Like branded videos and demos, webinars are more consideration and decision stage content, again, they may be deemed less effective for that reason
Typically the above stats reflect that awareness stage content is more effective than consideration or decision stage content - but that is to be expected.
As a lead progresses through the Buyer’s Journey, they will be looking for increasingly specific content. Your most specific, decision stage content is crucial to help them convert, but it will not resonate at a wider awareness stage level; understanding that balance is key.