For most businesses using an inbound growth plan, regular blog posts typically make up the content strategy’s backbone.
But blogging’s not the only type of content an effective inbound program needs.
Advanced content marketing pieces and offers play a key role, too.
These different types of marketing content attract, engage, and delight target audiences by serving up high quality, relevant information that helps them solve the challenges they face.
When advanced content works, it builds trust and advances leads along the path of their buyer’s journey toward a purchase.
So, which contents and formats meet the definition of advanced content, and how can you position them to meet the needs of your potential customers and best serve your content marketing strategy?
Let’s take a look at the best tried and true advanced content formats, as well as some creative ideas for diversifying your content to ensure appeal to the right people, in the right place, at the right time.
What is Advanced Marketing Content?
Advanced content is fundamental to inbound marketing. It’s developed to meet your target audiences’ specific needs and refined using keyword research to make sure those audiences can easily find it when they need it. Understanding what brings visitors from search engines to your website can help you create and deliver better content.
At Weidert Group, we use the term advanced content to describe the content that delivers value and in turn drives conversions by inciting users to entrust us with their contact information. In short, if we’re asking visitors to submit their names and emails, we understand the necessity of offering something of value in exchange.
Advanced content delivers value and in turn drives conversions by inciting users to exchange their contact details for tools or information that will help them solve their challenges.
It could be a long form piece like an eBook or white paper delivered as a PDF download or a video embedded as blog content or a long-form pillar page. In any case, advanced content needs to demonstrate authoritative, industry-leading knowledge combined with goodwill for your target audience. It shows a clear understanding of their challenges and proves your expertise in solving their problems.
How Does Advanced Content Work In an Inbound Strategy?
Different content formats and levels of depth attract, engage, and delight diverse prospects and leads as they progress along the path of their buyers’ journeys and move from the top to the bottom of the funnel, so it’s vital to understand how your buyer personas can change in terms of their awareness, knowledge, and challenges over time.
Advanced content needs to deliver value to your prospects — but how does it deliver immediate value to you, too?
Often, the answer lies in your decision whether to gate the content. The most common way to gate advanced content is by putting an online form in the user’s path and inviting them to provide specific information in order to access the piece or tool.
By gating that content, you've enabled it to drive conversions. The key, of course, is to make sure that leads find your content worthwhile before and after they get through the gate. While online forms are the number one way to gate content, other ways also work: passwords, a visitor’s level of activity (cookie or IP-enabled), or account sign-ups (as in eCommerce).
But not all advanced content is gated content. And that’s because some in-depth content is better left ungated. By allowing ungated access to some advanced content, you can demonstrate to visitors just how valuable your content is — increasing the likelihood that they’ll provide contact information when they do encounter a gated piece.
Whether gated or left open, the unifying definition of advanced content is that it advances visitors into your marketing funnel by converting them into leads. You can measure the value of an advanced content piece by the number of conversions it generates on a monthly basis.
- Tip Sheets are short, concise offers that provide tips, shortcuts, or best practices
- Checklists offer guidance for following a specific process for completing a task
- Infographics are best for situations in which you have lots of information or data to provide
- Diagrams can help users visualize processes, techniques, or complex systems
- Glossaries are a great way to introduce technical terminology at earlier stages of awareness
- Case studies are customer success stories that explain how your business was able to help a customer
- eBooks help educate prospects on a topic in a concise, easily consumable format
- White papers present an industry-specific problem and solution; they're detailed, informative and often provide research findings
- Surveys and/or research reports are a great way to pique the interest of prospects with "the latest" news and should help make a case for your product or service
- How-to guides can be short or more in-depth, but should always provide clear instructions for solving a challenge or accomplishing a task
- Video content can explain how to solve pain points, demonstrate products and services, or showcase something of interest to prospects
- Online courses can be multimedia offerings comprised of a series of lessons focused around a single subject
- Webinars, often shared as a series, are usually live events covering a subject with a subject matter expert (SME), whom participants can ask questions
- Podcasts are audio offerings that can cover anything from industry news and FAQs to expert interviews
- Templates help users create valuable documents that can help them solve specific problems
- Worksheets often help users walk through a thought process to simplify challenges or promote a systematic approach to problem-solving
- Pillar pages are in-depth web pages of long-form content on a core topic with links to related subtopics; the option to download a PDF copy adds value and conversion potential
- Interactive quizzes and calculators can offer a great combination between visual appeal, interactivity, and information
- Workshops and breakout sessions can focus on advanced topics most likely to move leads toward the bottom of the funnel
- Kits can strategically bundle multiple offers for even greater appeal
Advanced Content Offers Almost Limitless Options
Depending on your industry, you can most likely come up with even more creative ideas for audio, video, design, and written content that supports your marketing efforts by helping prospects solve challenges they face along the paths of their buyer journeys.
And if you’re looking for inspiration and help moving your advanced content ideas from concept to completion, be sure to claim your own copy of our Ultimate Content Creation Guide. You’ll get all the checklists and templates you need to create plenty of effective advanced content that supports your inbound growth goals. Click the link below to get yours.