Successful communication that connects with your target audience can be difficult to establish. It’s important to pay close attention to the needs and wants of your audience, allowing you to choose the right content and method of communication. Content sources such as white papers, eBooks, blog posts, press releases, and case studies have targeted objectives and serve a specific purpose in educating and engaging your audience.
Our team enjoys creating and providing relevant content and helpful resources that expand market reach to generate quality leads that drive marketing and sales results. Before creating content and identifying which media to use, let’s
take a look at these five content sources and the basic characteristics of each.
1. White Paper
A white paper is a fixed and less interactive source that includes illustrations, charts and references written by leading industry experts and supported by research. Although whitepapers can be read online, it’s not designed for casual perusing. Sometimes the long, vertical format makes them difficult to read and often requires that they be printed.
- Format: A technical, text heavy and in-depth read, presented with a serious tone and professional appearance.
- Common topics: Thought leader, often data centric based on concrete research
- Length: Ten pages minimum
White papers are primarily used to capture leads and educate, similar to a guide or research paper. They provide substantial information and insight, often addressing issues and offering solutions to help readers make decisions. They can also be used as a marketing or sales tool.
Educational but not as technical as the white paper, eBooks can range in length but are easier to read and more eco-friendly. They are visually appealing, with lots of graphics, and more engaging, often providing links to additional information. The copy is broken into easy-to-digest pieces and can be supplemented with callouts and bulleted lists. The layout is designed for skimming.
- Format: An easy read formatted to scan
- Common topics: Problem/solution, concept centric, ideas, trends, products or services
- Length: Four pages, minimum
This informative resource is used to generate leads and engage prospects by encouraging readers to take action. Provide clickable links, forms or surveys to fill out, and ask readers to subscribe to your blog. They just might purchase a product or service!
With a blog, it’s all about the casual, conversational tone that’s commonly opinion-based, informal and often playful. It’s perfectly acceptable to have white space and, of course, use images that are relevant to the post content to break up text. You can make key points bold within the text to draw the eye in and emphasize compelling text. The use of subheaders, numbers and bullets break up the text into smaller, easier-to-read pieces.
- Format: Conversational voice to reach, update and educate
- Common topics: Informative messaging that can include industry trends, latest developments and “how to” guides. Can be used to showcase products or services and client projects
- Length: Does not need to be a novel, but a minimum of 600 words is a good rule of thumb
The purpose of a blog is to reach the general public, including current and potential customers, to update them on trends, industry news, ideas, services, and so much more! Feel free to blog as often as you want people to pay attention to you, but remember the key is to blog consistently — at least twice per week to reap the benefits. Go beyond simply attracting visitors; use your blog to produce quality leads. A blog with irresistible content and a call-to-action (C2A) can position you as a thought leader, greatly increase visibility in search engines, create more indexable website pages for search engines and provide sustainable traffic to your site.
It’s important to make each word count. You’re telling a story that’s clean and concise, you’ll have better results with your readers and online search engines if you cut out the fluff and insert little to no jargon. For short, easy-to-read sections, address basic questions such as – who, what, where, why, when and how.
- Format: Well-written, professional tone, substantial newsworthy content backed by facts, timely and relevant information.
- Common topics: Press Releases commonly focus on product launches, events, business news (announcements and awards), opinions or major industry trends
- Length: A solid, average press release can be written in approximately 300 – 500 words. Keep in mind the average reporter or editor will spend roughly 5 seconds skimming a press release before making a decision to keep it or toss it.
A press release is used to get news in front of as many people as possible. Many companies utilize services such as PRWeb, Business Wire, eReleases, and PR Newswire for mass distribution. Press releases are sent to thousands of publications and are ultimately reposted to other media outlets online.
5. Case Study
A case study is a thorough analysis about a project or even a customer’s experience with a product or service. You can also highlight a success story. The case study often provides a background story, illustrates a problem and provides a step-by-step solution along with the end result.
- Format: Details can sell a case study. Think about a review you’ve read of a product or service. Potential customers don’t only want to know whether it worked. They want to know the specifics before investing time and money. Including quantified data is a guaranteed way to add credibility to a case study.
- Common topics: Provide quantitative and/or qualitative content, and tell a story your target audience can relate to. Describe a problem or challenge and outline the actions taken to reach a solution, then explain the outcome.
- Length: Some case studies only take one page. However, a quality, in-depth case study can be as long as it needs to be to ensure all the relevant information is included. So, it if takes multiple pages that’s okay!
With a potential client’s business on the line, it’s important to make your case study as captivating as possible. How the information is presented is key to converting a visitor into a lead and from a lead to a buyer.
If you have a compelling message and present it in an enticing way, people will read it! Whether you’re writing a technical read, informative causal piece, a captivating newsworthy story, or featuring a customer’s experience, knowing what your audience wants and needs gives you the direction you need to choose the proper form of media distribution and deliver relevant, useful and valuable information.
Which of these media sources work best for you to nurture your leads and why?