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The Content Countdown: Factors & Formats That Decide Whether Content Will Be A Hit On The Conversion Charts

  • Written by Andrew Gaffney, Editorial Director
  • Published in Blog

Many of you remember cassettes, compact discs and maybe even 8-tracks when you think back to the different music formats you’ve listened to over the years. Well, just as music formats have changed with the times, so have content formats.

In one of this week’s Strategy & Planning Series sessions, our sister division Content4Demand is presenting a webcast on Content Marketing Hit-Makers: Audience-Centric Formats You Need to Add to Your Catalog.

I caught up with Steve Voith, Director of Demand Generation at Content4Demand, to get a preview of some of the different formats and client case studies that will be in the mix during this chart-busting presentation.

Demand Gen Report:  I loved the theme you guys came up with this webcast, “Content Marketing Hit-Makers,” relating content formats to music formats. How did the theme come together and what can attendees expect from the presentation?

Voith: Because Content4Demand is a B2B-focused content creation agency, we pride ourselves on tracking the pulse on the types of content formats that are performing best not only for our clients but also for their audiences and resonating in the industries where they focus.

We are definitely seeing a clear trend towards developing content that is more engaging.

Another interesting trend is a resurgence of more retro, traditional formats like white papers and case studies — but putting a more interactive spin on them. As we looked for a thematic parallel, we compared some of the things happening with formats to music records. They initially appeared to be outdated, but are now being re-mastered and are resonating with younger audiences.

In the webcast, we will share what we’re seeing as the top formats, as well as real-world client examples of successful content, the creative packaging around them and how it helped connect with their target audiences.

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DGR: Give us a preview into some of the content examples you'll be sharing; I assume they are from a mix of clients and industries?

Voith: Our clients are all in the B2B sector, ranging from verticals such manufacturing, financial services and high tech. We will showcase a wide variety of new formats we’ve developed with them.

Specifically, we are going to reveal a few different research and analyst reports we worked on with Veracode, a leader in the application security space (recently acquired by CA Technologies). We will review a few different iterations of how they made the content more audience-centric, and some of the derivative content we helped them develop from those research reports.

We will also be showing a cool format called an interactive white paper — or what we call an iPaper — thatwe worked on with Oracle, specifically for the higher education vertical.

Then we are going to feature a couple of different interactive content pieces from industries that have traditionally been slower to adopt new formats — healthcare and financial services. We’ll share a really cool interactive infographic that we developed with Broadridge, an interactive case study portfolio we developed with Nasdaq, as well as an iPaper we developed with a healthcare technology company Ciox Health.

Another topic we are going to focus on is short-form content, which is a big trend we are seeing. A particular piece we are excited to share is a format called a Listicle, which is an interactive list-based asset — we’ll be showcase an example from Micron Technology.

DGR: What do you see as the biggest challenge your clients are having in interpreting and applying some of the newer formats?

Voith: One of the biggest challenges we are seeing is executing in the interactive space, whether it’s because they don’t have the team members or expertise in working with new platforms and experiences. We focus on making sure our clients are adding interactivity for the right reasons and for the right audiences. So really aiming to master what makes an interactive piece compelling, versus just creating interactive for the sake of something different.

We also see a lot of clients falling into the trap of just creating the same type of long-form content they have in the past. So we are always coaching them to consider new ways of repackaging content into formats like G-books (more graphic, short-form versions of E-books).

Lastly, even today with all the focus on being audience-centric, we still see a lot of tendencies to lead with product, rather than audience needs, pain points and questions they need answered before moving further down the funnel.

DGR: What are some of the changing dynamics that are causing B2B marketers to look beyond the tried-and-true content formats like white papers and webinars?

Voith: One of the biggest trends is the ability to get data. Marketers have traditionally focused on activity metrics like page views and downloads.

With some of the new interactive experiences and platforms — such as Ceros, Uberflip and SnapApp — we are better able to better track actual engagement like time spent on site and clicks into related content experiences. We can then translate that into the business impact marketers are being challenged to drive.

When you consider buyer behaviors, there has been a lot of talk about the limited time and attention span of buyers, and we find that marketers are constantly looking for new ways to engage buyers, ultimately to capture and keep their attention. The reality is the tried-and-true formats like white papers are often constructed in a way that buyers are numb to, so it becomes harder to keep and manage their attention.

DGR: So back to the music parallel, tell us where you listen to music these days?

Voith: I go back and forth between Spotify and Pandora. I have yet to decide which is the better platform, but what I love about both is that they not only surprise and delight me with new music, but also my old favorites.

In another parallel to the music business, the webcast will be available either live or via repeat. To check out the full webcast with Voith and his colleagues live, catch it live on Friday, Nov 3rd at 2pm EST, or on-demand at the Strategy & Planning Series channel.