Three powerful ways businesses can make their content more engaging and effective

July 29th, 2019

Content must serve a purpose. Informing, educating, building trust, reaching new audiences, driving sales, retaining customers – the list goes on. But if that content it is not engaging it won’t attract the eyeballs of busy people and certainly won’t be shared. So why not apply these three techniques and help meet your marketing goals…

Take a fresh look at your data

This infographic is a brilliant example of how large amounts of data can be simply and powerfully represented pictorially.

Produced by Max Roser of ourworldindata.org, this infographic shows the relative populations of the world’s nations at a glance. [Graphic: ourworldindata.org]

Produced by Max Roser of ourworldindata.org, it shows the relative populations of the world’s nations at a glance. Need to explain why penetrating the Indian and Chinese markets is important? Job done.

It’s not an original idea, as Roser explains. The graphic below (technically a cartogram) was produced in 1916 and is part of a collection at Cornell University.

[Graphic: Cornell University]

What data does your business need to communicate, and could an illustration be an effective way to go about it? Keep an eye out for graphics that catch your eye and adapt the concept to suit your information and objectives – there’s no shame in copying a good idea.

Make your data move

Animating data may be more challenging, but it’s more engaging too. The video below shows how national GDPs have changed over time. It’s the history of the modern world in just a few minutes and drives home the meteoric nature of China’s recent growth.

Creating such videos first requires someone to recognise what data is valuable and available. This is where content marketers need to have the support of the rest of the organisation, especially on the product or R&D side.

It can also make sense to reverse engineer the data by identifying what sort of information would be valuable to customers and then conducting research to collect it. The more useful the information, the more widely it will be shared.

Content can also mean tools and services

It’s easy to think of content simply as information, whether written, graphic, video or audio. But when designing content that is going to help customers, and perhaps drive sales funnels at same time, then it pays to think about tools as well.

Mortgage calculators, like this one from NatWest, are a good example, as are 3D room designers created by furniture retailers such as Living Spaces. A neat B2B example is this offer from Hubspot for free infographic templates.

Hubspot is offering free infographic templates for clients to better illustrate their data

To access the templates you need to complete a data capture form, and so leads start to trickle into the top of Hubspot’s sales funnel. It’s also the sort of practical tool that can be effectively marketed across targeted social media.

Action points

The thinking behind these three approaches to content can be applied to any business. Here’s how:

1. Be clear about what information or tools will be useful to target audiences and meet your content marketing objectives

2. Ensure your wider organisation is aware of how sharing content can help the business, and so identifies suitable data.

3. Think laterally. Could a practical website widget capture more data than that whitepaper you were planning?

Don’t be afraid of calling in the experts. Content strategists, data journalists, graphic designers, animators and tool-creating tech wizards may be able to identify and produce the materials that you need to drive your campaign. And if you’re wondering where to find them, Content Cloud should be your first port of call.

Miles Kendall, Head of Agile Content Strategy, Progressive Content

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