How to decide what content formats work best for lead generation

Boyd Wason by Boyd Wason  /  Aug 31, 2015 10:15:00 AM  /  Content marketing, Inbound Marketing

How to decide what content formats work best for lead generation

Video. eBook. Infographic. White paper. Blog article. Report. Webinar….

With so many content types and channels available, it can be a challenge to pick the right format that will work to not only engage your personas, but actually deliver on your hard objectives – lead generation. 

Choosing the right format to deliver your content…depends. It depends on who your target persona is for that piece of content and at what stage in their buyers journey they’re at. The key is to use your understanding of the journey your personas take, to find out the type of content that they love to consume, and then give it to them.

Different content formats offer different levels of engagement and usefulness at different stages in a personas buyer’s journey – and each persona will have a different journey. Whilst an industry report might work for one of your persona early on in their purchase process, it may be too ‘much information’ for your other personas who will pass it by.

So how do you work out what content will resonate to attract the right visitors to your site and convert them into leads?

Start with really understanding your personas

Personas are semi-fictional representations of your ideal customers. When you develop your personas, really get into their hearts and minds. Understand their problems and goals and what is happening in their life to trigger their search for your type of solutions.

Think about their journey and what information is useful to them

Armed with deep insights into the goals and drivers of your personas, you can then explore the journey they take as they search for solutions to their problems. What do they think and feel at each stage? Where are they searching for information at each stage? How much detail are they after? How much time are they willing to invest in digesting information? For most personas, you’ll find they are more willing to invest more time the closer they are to making a buying decision – so presenting a persona with lots of details when they are in the early stage of their buyer’s journey may be off-putting and could completely miss the mark.

With a comprehensive understanding of your personas buyers’ journeys, you can then identify the right topics and types of content you need to develop to help them solve their information needs at each stage of their buyer’s journey and, ultimately, help them make informed decisions about your products or services.

Evaluate formats that will engage as well as provide ‘bang for buck’

When working through your buyers’ journeys, you may find a range of formats could work to deliver the same content. For example, you may be able to produce an eBook about the topic very quickly and cost effectively, but the same topic would be really engaging for your persona delivered as a video series. A video series is naturally a bigger time and cost investment to produce, so in this instance, your budget and timeline should be taken into consideration. There’s also no reason why you can’t start with the eBook (and start generating leads for your business) then produce the video series at a later stage.

Play around with different formats  - analyse and test

In a recent survey, HubSpot looked at the type of content that generates the most new leads for their business, and they found that webinars came out on top, raking in about 18% of their leads. This was followed by eBooks and kits at 12% each. It’s important to analyse your content formats to see what is working for your personas. Then you can take the content you already own and reformat it. For example, do you have a few blog posts that share a topic that you could turn into a webinar or an eBook? Do you have some cool data that you could turn into an infographic?

Although there is no sliver-bullet to deciding what content formats work best for lead generation, if you do the work to really understand your own personas and their buyers’ journeys, you’ll be able to create a shortlist of the right formats that will resonate with them at relevant stages in their purchase process. Then you can evaluate and prioritise how you will deliver the content to get the best results and ROI.

To keep up to date with the latest insights on content marketing strategy, be sure to subscribe to our Thoughts and Curation Blog.

 

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