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May 12, 2020

5 Blogging Alternatives for Epic Content Marketing Results

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When most people think about content marketing, one thing comes to mind: blogging.

And while blogging is super effective, in reality, there’s so much more to content marketing than simply churning out relevant posts. 

Building an effective content marketing machine involves using all the tools available to you. This means going beyond blogging and using other forms of content such as:

  • Youtube Content
  • User-Generated Content
  • Podcasts
  • Infographics
  • Courses

In today’s post, we’re going to break down these 5 types of non-text content that’ll help you improve your content marketing game and grow your business.

Sounds good? Let’s get into it.

 

The Problems of Using Text Alone

Don’t get us wrong: blogging is a fantastic tool that can drive traffic and build serious authority. 

But that doesn’t mean it’s without its flaws. For example, research shows that a whopping 81% of people skim text-based content online.

What’s more, usability wizard Jakob Nielsen estimates that the average user reads at most 20-28% of words during a visit to one of your posts. 

And while blogging is still a powerhouse in the world of content, there’s evidence to suggest that our content consumption patterns are changing.

A quick Google Trends search shows that search volumes for the term blogging have steadily declined over the last five years.

 

Make no mistake blogging is not dead. After all, you’re reading our blog right now! 

But consumers are seeking out new, engaging forms of content to go alongside quality blogging. 

To stay ahead of your competitors, you’ll need to diversify into other types of content.

What types? Two words: visual & audio.

 

The Case For More Visual & Audio Content

As our content consumption preferences change, we’re reaching for video and audio based media more than ever before.

With faster internet becoming more commonplace around the world, video, in particular, is booming.

Cisco predicts that global internet traffic from videos will make up an eye-watering 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2021.  

Over the last only 2 years alone, mobile video usage has jumped by almost 10 million daily viewing minutes.

What’s more, research from Hubspot revealed that 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content from brands they support.

Even using the word ‘video’ in an email subject line has been shown to boost open rates by 19% and clickthrough rates by 65%.

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But video doesn’t steal all the glory. Audio content like podcasts are on the charge too. Just look at the volume of the search term:

 

We don’t have figures for Australia, but 55% (155 million) of the US population have listened to a podcast in the last 12 months.

Add to that the stat that 54% of podcast listeners are more likely to consider buying from a brand who’s podcast they follow and you’re looking at a form of content that packs a serious punch.

Make no mistake about it – audio and video content are thriving. And all the data suggest that they’re showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

So, let’s dive in and discover in practical terms how you can leverage these types of content to power-up your business.

 

5 Brilliant Types of Content to Try

1. Youtube Content

Starting a youtube channel is something that many brands don’t consider. But they do so at their peril. 

Because Youtube is the world’s leading source of video content with 83% of consumers watching content on the platform. For reference, Facebook occupies the number 2 spot with 67%.

 

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What’s more, 7 out of 10 viewers watch videos to get ‘help with a problem’ they’re experiencing in their job, studies or hobby.

The implication? Producing primarily educational content aimed at resolving your audience’s struggles is the way to set yourself up for success.

There’re heaps of video formats to choose. Explainer videos are great and whiteboard animations work wonders too. Interviews always do well. And If in doubt, the standard vlog is always great to give your audience a peek behind the scenes at your company.

For some inspiration, check out how mediation provider Headspace uses their Youtube channel to educate, inspire and entertain their audience. Their helpful animations and tutorials gently guide viewers and subscribers closer to their brand.

 

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The great thing about creating video content for youtube is that you can easily repurpose it for other channels.

For example, you can easily take the audio from an interview and turn it into a podcast. Or you can cut video snippets and post them to social media to give your followers micro-nuggets of wisdom.

 

2. User-Generated Content

 

Many brands are overlooking the potential that social offers by skipping over user-generated content. In fact, just a measly 16% of brands have a documented strategy regarding user-generated content.

And that’s a shame because research has shown that UGC pulls in around 28% higher engagement compared to standard company posts. 

What’s more, almost 50% of consumers say that UGC helps them find new products.

In fact, a recent case study by clothing brand Burberry attributed a 51% jump in eCommerce sales year-on-year to the results of their UGC strategy. Fifty-one-per-cent! Ay caramba!

The best part about UGC? You don’t even have to create it. Your brand advocates do the heavy lifting it for you.

But you do need to encourage them. Because over half of consumers want brands to tell them what type of content to create. 

How? It’s simple: start a #hashtag campaign. 

Just check out how online furniture store Wayfair have created a campaign around the hashtag #WayfairAtHome to turn their customers into content creators:

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3. Podcasts 

As touched on above, the popularity of podcasts is on the up. In 2018, there were 48 million weekly podcast listeners, but by 2021 that’s expected to jump to 115 million.

And right now the marketplace is not crazy competitive. There are around 80 million Facebook business pages – but there are only about 750,000 podcasts airing on a regular basis.

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This high demand, coupled with low supply means that now is the perfect time to add podcasting to your content marketing arsenal.

Especially when you consider that the average podcast listener earns between $10-20k more than the average US consumer – with 15% of listeners earning $150,000+. Did somebody say higher purchasing power?

For inspiration, check out how Harvard Business Review uses their podcast ‘HBR Ideacast’ to give their audience a glimpse into the thinking of some of the world’s biggest companies.

 

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4. Infographics

Okay, infographics aren’t always strictly ‘text-free’, but they’re predominantly a visual medium that you shouldn’t overlook.

Why? Well, how about we let an infographic do the talking for us?

 

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Pretty powerful stuff ey? As the old adage goes ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’.

Infographics appeal to us because they’re so easy to consume. The mental effort required to get ‘the gold’ is so low that we’re more likely to retain the message.

In fact, when relevant images are used, eye-tracking studies show readers spend more time looking at the images than they do reading text on the page.

Plus infographics have serious potential to go viral – being shared widely across the web they’ll help you pick up valuable backlinks and boost your SEO rankings without you lifting a finger.

 

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You might be thinking, that’s great – but I can’t afford to hire a graphic designer right now. Don’t worry, you don’t have to.

You can use a tool like Pictochart to create beautiful infographics with a simple drag and drop editor. Who says life needs to be complicated?

 

5. Courses

Developing educational courses is an incredibly powerful content marketing tactic. 

Courses are especially potent if you’re selling higher-priced services or software, but they can still be useful for physical product retailers too.

Sharing your professional experience with your audience creates a strong sense of reciprocity and showcases your expertise.

Take software company Hubspot’s Academy for example. They offer digital marketer’s free courses, specifically focused on how to use their inbound methodology.

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Yes, it’s serious Inception feels: they’re using a form of content marketing, to teach content marketing. But the results speak for themselves.

They’ve improved how hundreds of thousands of marketers do their job, but better yet, they’ve indirectly trained those people to use their software and follow their marketing philosophy.

With roughly $850M forecast in sales for 2020, it’s fair to say it’s working well for them.

Obviously creating a course of your own doesn’t have to involve the level of effort Hubspot have put into their academy. 

You can use a platform like Teachable (or YouTube is always good) to create free short courses. Or even just run a once-off webinar focused on educating your audience.

You’ll find that once you start giving value, you’ll get it back in spades.

 

Go Forth & Create!

Hopefully, by now, you’ve been inspired to add another medium of content to your marketing arsenal.

There’re endless opportunities to drive traffic, generate awareness, build relationships and bring in revenue with content that’s not your blog.

One small word of caution: don’t try to jump in and create multiple new forms of content at once. Spreading yourself too thinly isn’t going do you any favours.

Instead, pick one medium and out everything you’ve got into it for the best chance of success.

Or alternatively, get in touch with us here at TocToc!

We’d be delighted to chat about your content marketing needs and figure out how to make content marketing work for you. Drop us a message today!

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