Are you strapped for time? Don’t have the resources to crank out content on a blog, podcast and a complex workflow of lead nurturing emails? Great! This article is for you.
There are a lot of methods of packaging great b2b marketing content: newsletters, blogs, podcasts, youtube channels, Periscope, Twitter and a million more. Blogs, vlogs, podcasts and newsletters are in a category of their own because of their ability to serve as a foundation for a content strategy. There are many businesses right now that use one of these four methods as their primary method for publishing their content.
In this article I will explore the roles of these different kinds of content, their different strengths and weaknesses and hopefully help you to know what’s best for your business.
The grandfather of content mediums, it’s the oldest on the list. What is it’s role today?
1) Nurturing – All the other mediums on the list are focused on the top of the funnel. A newsletter is the only thing that focuses on keeping in touch with contacts once they have given you their email address. In 2014, email marketing was cited as the most effective digital marketing channel for customer retention in the United States. (HubSpot).
3) Promotion – Include popular blogs in your newsletter and ask people to subscribe to your RSS and engage with your social posts. Republish a long email or a few related short emails as a blog post. Email is great for supercharging your other channels.
4) SEO secret sauce – Emails won’t help you rank higher by themselves, but if you use it to drive success with other channels, it will help your SEO.
1) Oversaturation – People are getting so many marketing emails that many times they go unread. Companies have to work hard to deliver compelling and relevant content that doesn’t go to waste.
Blogs have been around for awhile now. People read a lot of them and there are a lot of them to read. Has this medium lost it’s shine?
1) SEO – One thing that Google uses to rank a website’s authority is how much new content there is. What better way to get a lot of new website content then publishing a bunch of blog posts? Links to your website are also a huge factor for SEO. Companies who blog receive 97% more links;to their website.
2) Leads – B2B marketers that use a blog receive 67% more leads than those who don’t.
3) Repurposing – Send out your most popular blogs of the month in a news letter and post your podcast and/or vlog on your blog.
4) You can skim it – unlike a vlog or a podcast, you can skim a wordy blog post and get what you need out of it. Unless you have a way to speed up the video or audio or transcribe it, you will have to wade through the whole thing.
5) Authority – Blogs have been rated as the 5th most trusted source of information on the internet. Blogs in general have a reputation for being the unbiased word on the street.
1) There are a lot of them – 246 million to be exact. Starting a business blog isn’t anything new. In many industries, you will already have people with thriving blogs. The more thriving blogs in an industry, the tougher it will be to differentiate yourself, earn readers and make it a worth while endeavor.
2) Skill and time – Writing is an art, and like any art, it takes time to master. Even when you master it, it still takes time to write new blog posts every week. Starting a blog does take time and energy that must be accounted for before beginning the process.
Podcasts have been around for awhile, but they are just now starting to gain traction. Is the reward worth the investment?
1) Great for multitasking – People can listen to a podcast while they’re doing any mindless (or semi mindless) task. With this in mind they are great for killing time. Pop in a podcast while you’re walking, driving or flying and you’re good to go.
2) the Internet of Things – Business Insider predicts that 75% of vehicles on the market will have internet connectivity by 2020. In the not too distant future, the radio will be replaced with the internet. With this in mind, podcasts are only going to become more popular.
3) Personality – Podcasts, while they aren’t as popular as blogs, offer a more personal connection. Listening to a human voice is much more intimate than reading words on a page. Podcasts are great for giving your fan base a deeper look into the personality behind your company.
4) Attention – If someone spends a minute looking at a blog page that’s considered good. A podcast can have someone listening for 45 minutes.
5) Repurposing – Podcasts have endless repurposing potential. There’s free transcription software out there that will let you turn your podcast into a written article as you record it. Transcripting your podcast will allow Google to crawl it and help your site’s SEO just like a regular blog article would.
* Do you want the benefits of a blog but are better at talking than writing? No problem! Record and transcribe a podcast and post them like a blog. Voila!
1) They aren’t popular YET – Not everyone listens to podcasts right now. In January of 2015, 17% of Americans had listened to a podcast in the past month. While they are expected to get more popular, your podcast ROI will most likely be very delayed.
First made popular by teenage youtube personalities, they are now being adopted by some businesses. Can this young gun drive business results?
1) They’re irresistable – According to Forrester’s Dr. James McQuivey, A video is worth 1.8 million words. 1.8 million words is the equivalent of 3,600 typed web pages. If you wrote a page an hour it would take you 150 days to write that. From what I can tell, this statistic applies to attention, not SEO. The SEO value of a video is not 1.8 million words.
2) Little competition – Only 9% of small businesses use Youtube. There is little competition for business vlogs.
3) They’re viral – Videos are shared 12 times more than links or text posts combined. Just go to your Facebook timeline, it’s been taken over with cat videos.
4) It’s good for boosting other mediums – Even if you don’t start a full out vlog, video is a good way to step up other mediums. According to eMarketer, marketers that use video in email campaigns see better click through rates, more sharing and more conversions.
1) It’s a double edged sword – If video is worth 1.8 million words, then a bad video can do 1.8 million words of harm. Imagine having 3,600 typed web pages of emberrassing or misleading content on your website. If you’re going to do this, make sure you do it right.
I hope this breakdown gave you a better sense of what’s right for your company. In terms of safest to least safe I would rank these mediums like so: 1) newsletters 2) blogs 3) podcasts 4) vlogs. If you are trying to cover your bases I would start with a newsletter and then move down the list as you get comfortable.
It might make more sense to start with a vlog or a podcast since these are the least used in the b2b realm, they hold the greatest opportunity for the upstart. But be warned, there are far less guidelines for these two mediums, so you’ll be working in uncharted territory.
Whichever route you choose, I would only add a new medium when you have mastered the one you’re currently using. One solid media channel is way better than 4 mediocre ones. Whatever you do, don’t just sit around and do nothing. Content marketing is a must for any b2b company. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to catch up.