Optimizing Your Outreach: Exploring New Content Types
It doesn’t matter what you provide for your customers, the supply must remain consistent or you won’t see repeat business, engagement, and support. Take Apple, for example, with their yearly iteration of the iPhone and similar devices. On the surface, it may seem a bit redundant to continue launching new, slightly updated versions annually. However, their customers love it and it keeps them coming back for more again and again.
On a more basic level, content or mobile experiences require the same. Just like Apple is doing with their hardware revisions of the iPhone, you must continue to iterate on your product, your content, your support.
Fresh and consistent content is the cornerstone of perpetual engagement; which, in itself, is necessary to garner continued success. According to Hubspot, brands that blog or create content have 434% more indexed pages than businesses that don’t, which translates to more traffic and more engagement!
It’s all about the customer journey—here the content journey—that begins with a brand or product discovery and eventually ends in loyalty. But when you dive into content creation, you find yourself focusing on the beginning of that journey many times. You’re more into creating fresh content that serves as an introduction or onboarding process for new audiences. You may offer a few features here and there for your loyal or regular customers, but “new” is the true focus. It highlights just how easy it is to forget that perpetual engagement and driving people back to your “experiences” is necessary to see growth and continued success.
How then can you deliver content that generates perpetual engagement? What are some unique forms or mediums for doing so?
Mobile Is the Way
There are several ways in which you can deliver or present continuous content streams to your most esteemed customers. You can use social media, publish on an official blog or third-party site like Tumblr, or even upload streaming media to platforms like YouTube.
Such channels are beneficial and have their place, but the most important—with the most opportunity—is ensuring it’s mobile friendly or even in some cases mobile-first. The beauty of it is you can still deliver content through additional channels like YouTube or even your official blog, yet via a mobile-friendly format. We’d argue, however, that even just conventional mobile is no match for a proprietary, mobile-first ecosystem. We’re talking specifically about a mobile app that incorporates nearly everything you need, including a content stream and the social support features discussed here.
But why? Why is mobile so powerful?
Mobile now has more regular traffic than desktop which means more users and greater opportunity for continued engagement. But that’s not the only reason why it’s one of the most lucrative options for delivering your content stream.
Mobile—or at least most of the experiences available via mobile—are inherently designed to build and nurture engagement. Many apps and experiences allow you to like, share, comment, and communicate with the community at large. And when you structure your content around a community—much like what you see in social networks—it provides the boost or spark you need to reel in users.
Think of it like this. Let’s say you publish content on the web. People that know where to find and read said content are always going to be there offering engagement. But others—even those loyal to your brand or services—may have no clue the stream even exists or where to find it. So, that publication, even on something like your official blog, goes largely unnoticed and fails to deliver any type of engagement boost or supply.
But when you compare to an entire mobile ecosystem, where users are already interacting, engaging and using your app for various other means, the impact is a bit different. A majority of users already know where to find your content, and you can put it front and center for the few who don’t. Furthermore, you can utilize mobile features like text or push notifications to bring your customers back into the fold.
Here are a couple examples of engaging push notification to get you started:
“You’ve always wanted to learn how to do [insert activity], well now’s the time, let’s do this!”
“Connect with [Executive Name], we’re streaming ‘conversations from the boardroom’ live… right now!”
“Pssst! Hey, you… yeah you! What are you doing right now? Need a distraction, tell us what you think about [fill in the black].”
It’s exactly why a mobile-first mindset is so valuable in today’s landscape. Because mobile not only offers the vast user base you need to achieve success, it also offers you all the tools you need to make it happen.
Making Your Content Stream Unique
The structure of perpetual engagement and user experience varies largely due to how the industry works. You might go weeks or even months without seeing your customers, maybe even longer if they’re the type that only attend events or show up for major milestones. Those gaps make it difficult to stay in touch, keep users informed, and more importantly keep them loyal.
A mobile app ecosystem offers exactly the type of environment to continue engaging with those audiences, even over an extended period. This is especially true when you factor in continuous and relevant content, which may be beneficial or helpful to your audience.
But since everyone is doing content production these days, you’ll want to experiment with new ways to reach out, more than just your average blog or news-feed style content.
Here are some great ideas for making your content stream unique:
Conventional: Right off the bat, you have your standard content types. This entails press releases, blogs, promotional videos, adverts and guest posts, or shared reporting.
Infographics: The best infographics are those that tie a more serious topic with something aloof or fun. They also get shared on a viral level, because people love that merger between fact and fiction. Think “How Star Wars Transformed the Business World,” or other colorful topics. Plus - we know a large majority of people are visual learners.
Podcasts or Audio: Many people listen to audio content during their commute, while working on other more personal projects, or even just to make the time go by a little faster. Instead of writing all your content down, why not deliver it via a compelling audio feed. This could include podcasts involving influencers, major announcements and audio-book format guides.
eBooks and Guides: Blogs and articles are generally on the shorter side of the content spectrum. You may have one or two large pieces that are word and language heavy, but that’s more the exception than the rule. Ebooks and guides, conversely, can be as long and expansive as you want. You can also offer them free or charge a price for access. It’s entirely up to you.
Case Studies: In marketing and sales, case studies are used to brag or show-off a particular product. But they can also offer guidance and support to those wondering how a particular service might fit into their business. Maybe they know off your brand but never realized how or why it would be relevant to them? Case studies can help persuade them otherwise, and show loyal customers that they’re in good hands.
Customer Interviews and Stories: Like case studies, interviews can be used as first-hand evidence of a particular experience or achievement. These can be delivered in written, audible, or even visual forms. Customer Stories are similar, yet they focus more on the entire journey a user or partner underwent with your offerings. Stories have the added benefit of being told from multiple points of view, including yours, the customers, or even a third-party.
Webinars or Online Courses: In the enterprise especially, audiences adore knowledge and the sharing of experience(s). You can use this to your advantage to develop and offer webinar or course-like sessions, live or pre-recorded. Maybe talk about how an audience can efficiently use your products or services? Explore comparable options and show how they match-up to your own offerings. There are many ways to use this type of content, really. The core concept is to provide helpful advice or guidance to those tuning in.
Social: You have your tried and true social content streams like the Facebook feed or your Twitter wall, but for a fresh feel you can also use storied streams like Instagram Stories, Facebook’s new live streaming feature, or even Snapchat’s story feed. They aren’t permanent like your regular social feeds, but that’s exactly why they are a great idea. Customers or users tuning in right at that moment get to experience your storied content which can even be delivered in a separate tone.
Promotional: When you think of promo content you initially think of adverts, TV commercials, or similar marketing content. But promotional content can also include walk-through of products or services, initial hands-on sessions, or early reviews.
On-Premises or Hands-on: There’s something to be said about content delivered in the real. It’s more tangible, and the memories it can illicit are more extreme, because those involved had direct experience with the message and medium. This can be fed through on-site devices and technology, booths at major events, or various stations throughout your venue. It’s here on this list, because you can also tie it back into your mobile app ecosystem offering digital experiences alongside real-world ones for each stop or station.
Keep It Consistent, Make It Unique, Push to Mobile
Mobile touchpoints and mobile ecosystem experiences are the most powerful weapons in your arsenal for building perpetual engagement. It’s that continuous stream that will keep everyone hooked, clued in, and coming back for more. It not only creates a hunger inside them but feeds it, as well. All you have to do is feed the need to know!