A solid content marketing strategy is so much more than blogging. Business owners are aware of this, but many lack the resources necessary to branch out. Meanwhile, blogging is relatively cheap and easy. Producing short-form entries (either in-house or using an inexpensive freelancer) and posting them via a free Web hosting platform (like WordPress) isn’t all too difficult or costly of a process to undertake. I’m definitely not a fan of outsourcing blogging to just anyone, but that conversation will be for a different blog.
So, we’ve established that content marketing is more than just blogging. In actuality, research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that the average organization uses 13 different content marketing tactics in order to accomplish its various goals. These tactics can include everything from in-person events to webinars to social media.
Indeed, there is a wide spectrum of tactics being used today to make an impact on customers; however, in my opinion, there are two pieces of content that every organization must be producing in order to remain competitive and market relevant: whitepapers and case studies.
When it comes to whitepapers and case studies, my professional opinion is that businesses should be producing a minimum of two each per year—one of each in the first half and then again in the second half.
You may have difficulty producing long-form content like case studies and whitepapers if you’re strapped for time or money—especially if you’re a small business owner or entrepreneur who is single handedly managing your marketing plan. There are resources available, however, that can help ease your transition into completing these differentiated (and highly coveted) assets.
If you have the time (or budget in order to outsource the projects to a skilled content marketer), these two tactics should be mandatory. Seeing how it’s only February, organizations still have plenty of time to capitalize on this opportunity and begin producing their first whitepaper and case study of the year.
If you’re still not sold on the importance of these assets, here are a few reasons why you should consider getting on board now:
They are being used by your competitors: CMI’s research found that among the 13 tactics currently being used by organizations, 82 percent are using case studies (making the case study the second most-used tactic) and 71 percent are using whitepapers.
They are effective: If you’re not that impressed by the fact that your competitors are leveraging whitepapers and case studies, consider that 65 percent of organizations rated case studies as effective, and 63 percent did the same for whitepapers. These are higher ratings than blogs (59 percent) and even video (62 percent). Whitepapers and case studies are effective because organizations report so themselves.
They are perfect for increasing lead generation: If you’re like any other company that is trying to expand its pool of database contacts and effectively increase its number of qualified leads, whitepapers and case studies are your golden ticket. These long-form assets work great when they are gated—that is, when a company requires a person of interest to fill out a lead capture form in order to access the document. You can require individuals to share their name, title, company, contact information and why they are interested in reading the document in the first place.
They play a key role in customers’ purchasing decisions: Many customers seek testimonies or reviews from former customers before making a key purchasing decision. In fact, research shows that 9 out of 10 customers are influenced by positive online reviews they read. Compared to blogs, case studies and whitepapers are well-known as longer-form assets that educate or guide customers through their purchasing lifecycles. These assets are crucial for successfully making sales with warm leads.
Ready to get on board with whitepapers and case studies now? If so but you’re still not sure how, I can help! Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org to continue the conversation.