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[Content Marketing] Hybrid content and product innovation

Every article, handbook and webinar on the subject of content marketing clarifies and reiterates the following points: the aim of content marketing is to provide consumers with memorable content experiences, give them enough of these and you establish brand loyalty, and if you want to maintain brand loyalty, you have to keep this momentum going...

Getting noticed


This is, as every content marketer knows, easier said than done. Producing valuable and interesting content is a challenge in itself. Often, keeping the momentum going can prove close to impossible. The real challenge, however, is ensuring that your content gets noticed, that it doesn't get lost amongst the millions of blogs, videos, eBooks and infographics that flood the net.

© Ximagination – 123RF.com

Don't make the mistake of thinking that because your content revolves around relevant topics, is well executed, is being presented on the right platforms, and was promoted on all social media channels, that it will not get drowned out by the content of your competitors.

Many other companies have already explored the topics that you're discussing, and there's a good chance that their content is of a similar quality to yours. It has also been distributed to the same platforms and is being promoted on the same social channels. These are the cornerstones of every content marketing strategy out there, even the bad ones.

Make it interactive


So how do you get people to notice your content and engage with it? You have to offer it to them in a unique format, present it to them in a way that sets it apart. Remember that once people come across your content, they will consume it with their eyes first, meaning that you have to make it visually appealing.

What does this mean in a time where every blog is accompanied by a moving image or embedded with a video? The answer entails a lot of hard work, but is definitely worth it: make your content interactive.

Hybrid content


Yes, nowadays it isn't enough to serve up an informative and well-written blog with an image, or even an emotionally-engaging video. Straight-forward infographics, no matter how interesting and imaginative, and even wordy eBooks with a couple of pictures, won't get the job done if you want people to stop and pay attention.

What is needed in this age of oversaturation is hybrid content, a fusion of many content types, where every element helps to tell a part of the story. At the very least, a blog should contain an embedded video, and these videos should be embedded with interactive menus that present you with choices throughout the viewing experience.

Real fun can be had with infographics and eBooks where you can embed a series of videos and slideshows, accompanied by little textboxes and descriptive pictures that appear when you hover over certain sections. Producing successful content is now as much a creative challenge as it is a technical feat.

Keep the momentum going


This is not where content marketing is heading. This is where it is. To give your content a fair chance, you have to embrace this trend. Also, don't think that you can release one interactive eBook or infographic and turn people into loyal followers with a single deliverable.

The rules of content marketing haven't changed just because there is a new type of content on the block. You'll have to keep doing this until you've given people enough memorable experiences. And, then, you have to keep the momentum going.

Originality is key


Apart from trying to get a hang of this new trend, you should also dedicate some time to product innovation. The trick to getting your content noticed is to not only fall in line with current format trends, but to take an innovative approach and constantly find new ways in which to present your offerings.

Originality is key. Initial ideation sessions should now include all departments of your content marketing team. Writers, designers and technicians all need to be gathered around the ideation table, and it is important to get used to the idea that a new, innovative content package might become the starting point and help you to determine which story to tell.

Telling the story is not enough


Content writers are sure to argue that there is nothing more important than the story. The story is how we connect with people and make them care about the content that we produce.

This is true, but we also have to attract our potential consumers, give them the old 'Step right up!'. Not only this, but people are sure to engage with you content a lot longer if they are intrigued by the packaging. The reality is that simply telling the story is not enough. How you tell it and how you present it is equally important.
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