Since its inception, the very concept of marketing has been rooted and built upon just one thing: content. Long before there were mass media, marketing content has been the backbone of sales.
This includes everything from fliers and brochures to the well-rehearsed speeches of traveling salespeople trying to hawk expensive vacuum cleaners to middle-class homemakers.
In today's digital world, content still reigns supreme. Those who understand this and know how to use it well in specific marketing content are the ones out there crushing it every single day and growing strong, profitable businesses.
If you intend to join them, read on. We have some valuable advice for you on how to use various types of content effectively to generate more conversions.
1. Text-Based Content Defined
If it isn't obvious already, you're reading an example of written content right now. Make no mistake about it: you are reading marketing material. Thus, we can see that savvy content can be offered in both written and spoken form.
While words communicate essential messages and concepts, each particular mean of engaging the audience has its own moment of glory so to speak. This is true regardless of what your marketing niche or are of expertise might be. It is quite visible that the use of correct punctuation, grammar and colloquialisms are relevant to all of us.
From the successful blogger and email marketing ninja to the most competitive online essay writer or sales copywriter out there. Think about it, without possessing exceptional writing skills clients would not come back for seconds.
Words also help position you as an authority or thought leader. How and when you use those words matters, and we will look at the how in just a few moments. For now, think of the text-based concept regarding several key areas:
- Website copy
- Blog content
- Web Articles
- Sales Letters
- Email Campaigns
- Press Releases
- Cold-Call Scripts
- Sales Letters
- White Papers
...and the list goes on from there. If you see anything on that list that hasn't tried, try to consider it. When you communicate more with an ideal buyer (and the more intelligent the messaging), the more likely it is that person will eventually become a loyal customer or client.
2. Rich Content Defined
Rich content refers to everything besides text (although the book is sometimes integrated into it). Think regarding auditory and visual enhancements like jingles, music beds, videos, still images, and interactive.
Rich content is often the first thing that people notice in marketing material. People on social media, for example, are more likely to stop scrolling when they see an eye-catching picture than they are for even a compelling or controversial headline. That's not to say the headline isn't essential, but it will never have the impact of a picture or video.
If you're skeptical, try split testing your next blog post with and without an anchor image, direct traffic to two separate landing pages, and see which one gets more play. At that point, the power of the picture should become abundantly clear, primarily via social media.
3. Hybrid Content
The worlds of text-based and rich content collide more often than not. This is why there isn't one that is more important than the other. Even when you get that person to stop scrolling with a picture, you still need to have something to say to them once they do.
Things like games and quizzes are examples of rich content that also relies on words to be effective. Powerful headlines or captions also augment the effectiveness of visual content by motivating viewers to take things a step or two further. The meat of your message is likely going to be in words, but those words will almost always need to mesh with rich content to be genuinely compelling.
Let's look at how text and rich content work together. Let's assume that you already have an established email list and want to start a new campaign.
In most cases, simple text emails will be valid on their own if they have an attention-grabbing subject line to facilitate opens, and intelligent content in the body to keep the reader engaged.
Ideally, try to include a call to action that motivates the reader to do something besides deleting the message when he or she is done reading. If you are persuasive enough to get that click-through, what follows needs to impress.
The landing page will likely have its catchy headline, but will also rely heavily on visuals to motivate readers to take further steps to interact with brand. Explainer videos, testimonials, and other types of visual content are often used to enhance the messaging or provide social proof.
To keep the audience engaged, you might want to produce some high-quality blog content. Aside from reaching email recipients, well-written, relevant content that makes good use of formatting and keyword density helps more prospects find you via SEO. The better-written material, the faster site will rank among all relevant SERPs.
In all likelihood, you will advertise blog posts on social media as well, using an anchor image that enhances the message in the blog. Other photos or videos will likely be used to maintain the reader's attention and accentuate the word. Again, you see examples of this right here.
Determining the Effectiveness of Content
The most significant way to judge how well one content strategy works over another is to split test. We mentioned above testing out social media posts with and without visuals, but also try to break the test within the confines of one content type, as referenced in the above-linked case study. Different messaging will appeal to different people, so a little persistence will help you learn how to communicate through words to your ideal customer or client effectively.
Split test your visuals as well as the placement of visual elements on pages. This includes the images and videos used along with any on-page ads you decide to place. Experimenting with text-based vs. visual ad content is a must, and you will likely be surprised at the difference a specifically sized or positioned ad can make.
Some other types of rich content to which you should pay specific attention while split testing includes:
- Opt-In fields
- Embedded Videos
- Music or other audio enhancement
Developing Best Strategy
The answer to the question of when you should use textual or rich content is not at all black and white. It depends significantly on industry or niche, target audience, and current market demands.
There is often a significant degree of trial and error that goes into making content as effective as possible. Listen to your audience via engagement and metrics.
Identify the strengths and weaknesses in content strategy and be willing to make the changes necessary to get better results.
Sam Makad is a business consultant. He helps small & medium enterprises to grow their businesses and overall ROI. You can follow Sam on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.