Remember those cardboard books about zoo animals with interactive pieces where you could “pet” the animals?
I’m not saying that as a society that we still have the attention span of children…
But to grab and hold an audience’s attention on the internet is a bit like trying to hold a child’s. It demands creative solutions for both communicating a point and delivering it in a way that will maintain a reader’s attention long enough to allow the message to land.
Here we will explore what creative content marketing is and how you can get inspired to create your own.
What is Creative Content Marketing?
Starting from the bottom, content is anything you create and distribute to inform, educate or entertain your audience. That could include anything from a press release to a TikTok video. Creative content has few boundaries as to what it should be because all it really aims to do is communicate an idea.
The boundaries for your business, however, should include how your audience prefers to consume content.
Are they visual learners? Need interactive pieces to feel engaged? Love a good pull quote here and there to understand the main ideas? Knowing these details will inform how you can best utilize this list to get the most out of your content strategy.
Content creation is important to attract customers, grow your brand awareness and improve your marketing ROI. Your customers want to know more about the brands they purchase from and creating quality content marketing is a great way to do so.
Now, coming up with ideas to both attract and retain customers is a challenge all on its own.
1. Social Media
Social media is not a new medium by any means. Interacting through an online forum to share ideas, memories and life updates has been around since at least 1997 with the platform Six Degrees.
Either because of this fact or the shift in how we consume media, getting creative on social platforms is a must. Brands have made huge strides in staying relevant to social trends and coming up with new strategies. These past few years have presented unique challenges for brands to identify themselves as leaders in their industries – especially over social media where many audiences spend their leisure time.
One stand out from 2020 is the ice cream brand, Ben & Jerry’s stand with the Black Lives Matter movement. While they continue to voice their support of the movement, they took a firm stance against white supremacy in a way that many brands did not.
While not every social media post you create needs to be as pointed as this one, Ben & Jerry’s found creative ways to communicate their ideas in a genuine way that resonated with their target audience.
Long-form blog writing is a unique opportunity to speak to your audience directly. It demonstrates your ability to understand who they are and what they need to know to do their best.
A blog post serves many purposes that help your marketing strategy while connecting with readers.
One example is Well&Good. Their market is mostly post-grad aged women and up who are concerned with current events, relationship advice, wellness and the latest in wellness products. To which, they’ve created a well-informed blog on all of these topics using great content, interactive sponsors and attractive minimalist design.
Creative ideas to keep your readers engaged while they read through your blog content can be done in a lot of fun, different ways. While being sure not to distract your readers, here are some ideas to include:
- Pull quote.
- Social media posts.
- Slide shows.
- Recommended reading.
- Comment section.
While this isn’t an exhaustive list, these could get you inspired to add more elements to your blog to make them more interactive. Well&Good do a great job of keeping their readers interested usually with listicles, pictures and videos.
3. Landing Pages
When someone clicks on your ad or discovers your business while researching online, they’ll likely first arrive on a landing page. It’s a webpage that will be their first impression of your business and therefore must catch their attention immediately.
There are more landing pages on the internet than I care to count but a new one that struck my eye is Alison Felix’s new brand, Saysh. Upon opening up the website, you’ll find soft tones, people of color and stylish shoes for both athletic performance and leisure.
After a long few years of social challenges, the track-and-field athlete created a brand that genuinely spoke to these challenges with a style that demonstrated her personality.
Your landing page should speak to both what your brand represents and the story you want your products to tell.
Creating an eBook is an attractive way to connect to the needs of your audience in the digital age. With a rise in mobile book download apps and purchases, an eBook is a great way to communicate your company’s expertise. They can establish authority by demonstrating the extent of your industry knowledge and insights.
Freshwork’s eBook on ‘The Art of Customer Experience’ is interactive, fun to read and compels the reader to take action. It’s a great example of the creative freedoms you can take with informational pieces like eBooks.
Creative eBook ideas include:
- Speaking to a gap in the industry you’ve noticed has never been addressed.
- Seasonal resource updates.
- Add knowledge check-ins throughout.
- A visual story.
Many businesses utilize eBooks to grow their email lists by creating a contact form wall before downloading as well.
5. White Papers
Want to stand out as a research guru and true authority? Research a topic relevant to your industry and write a white paper. It aims to inform and comes across as both formal and creative.
It’s a deep dive style of compelling content production that explains in-depth information that your audience should know about.
ADP, a leader in payroll software, has a great example in their piece on ‘5 steps to rid your small business of payroll stress’.
They created a white paper that is eye-catching, tells the story of their business and communicates important information they wanted their audience to know. They used interesting colors and supported their white paper with relevant statistics and findings.
Your white paper is a great opportunity to use statistics, graphs and quotes from experts that will communicate to your audience that your company can be relied on for the latest and most accurate industry information.
Short message service, or SMS, is a great way to connect with your customers. They’re great options for salespeople to stay top of mind for their customers after they sign up for an event.
They can be used for:
- Sales demos.
- Appointment reminders.
- Webinar reminders.
- Welcome messages.
- Community updates.
- Billing reminders.
- Security codes.
- Status updates.
- Event updates.
Customers could have the option to sign up for email, phone call, or SMS reminders in any of these options when they fill out a contact form. There are some laws organizations need to comply with to keep their business safe and their customers informed.
Here is an example of a social justice campaign member sending out an invitation to sign up for a new membership opportunity. They included an interesting graphic, addressed me directly and introduced themselves.
SMS campaigns should be short and to the point but interesting to read and look at to prompt the recipient to engage. The goal of an SMS campaign is to be relevant and grab the attention of the reader at the right time. Whether that’s after they’ve placed an order on your website or the revolution is about to begin, SMS is a quick communication that needs to be timely.
Audio content marketing has transformed the way people digest information and learn about new topics. While just about anyone can start a podcast, a content marketer gets a chance to speak to their niche expertise and discuss topics that are important to them. Audiences get an inside look into the brands they love from the people who run them.
The New York Times (NYT) is a great example of taking modern technology to keep their brand relevant. Through the steady decline of newspaper popularity, NYT has taken up podcasting. In their podcast, The Daily, you hear from reporters directly every day for about 30 minutes each episode on the most relevant topics.
A podcast marketing campaign could benefit just about every industry. Everyone from the former President of the United States, Barack Obama to former actors like Dax Shepard has a podcast to share insights, news, passion projects and more.
The use of visual content marketing has been on the rise. Businesses have used it in their display ads and of course, continued to push boundaries for commercials. They have an excellent ability to visually captivate audiences, position your business positively and communicate a new product or service effectively.
A stand-out commercial from 2019 was Gillette’s The Best a Man Can Be:
It was a direct response to the #MeToo movement that blanketed that year’s conversations in enlightening ways. Gillette, like Ben & Jerry’s, took a strong stance on the subject and set themselves up to be leaders for men’s brands against toxic masculinity.
Video has the power to be visually enlightening while creatively communicating your brand’s story.
Why Your Marketing Needs to be Creative
The pressure to be noticed in the digital world today is higher than ever. More businesses are getting created every day than ever before and the need to attract quality audiences has never been more important.
Adding content to your B2B marketing strategy allows you to engage your audience and generate profit.
Content improves your online presence by 55% and generates five times more leads. Instead of pursuing outbound sales strategies like cold calling or direct mail, you can create educational content that your audience loves. When your readers are enthralled with the great content you create and the products you sell, you’ll see more sales and advocates for your brand.
The best way to make this happen is to be creative, particularly so that you’re not wasting your marketing dollars just shouting into the void.
Audience members want to connect with your business in genuine ways that let them know that you understand what they need and how they prefer to communicate. Getting creative in the ways you connect with them will help improve the lifecycle of your customers and attract new ones.
How to Generate New Content Marketing Ideas
Coming up with marketing ideas that are fresh and have never been done is one of the focal challenges of B2B marketers today. The best way to do so is by using the information your customers are giving you.
Your readers do not all fit into one box and neither should your marketing plan.
When you have multiple types of buyers, you have the opportunity to create several types of marketing strategies to meet them. As they change and interact with your company differently, take note and shift with them.
Take risks that speak to your customers and get their attention. That could mean taking a bold stance on a relevant social issue like Gillette or starting a podcast to give your brand a more human voice like the NYT. Collecting data will give you an outline of great ideas but getting creative means taking a leap, seeing how it lands and adjusting for better results.