If you’re a marketer like me, it can be incredibly overwhelming and intimidating to stay relevant when it comes to keeping up with content marketing. I’ve often found myself getting imposter syndrome because I’ve felt the need to be an expert in all things content and digital marketing. Learn from my experience and don’t self-inflict this pressure on yourself.
This post aims to help you understand the importance of different content mediums and, more importantly, how to have a multimedia content marketer mindset. That way, no matter what new trends or content formats come your way, you’ll be able to embrace them like the pro that you already are.
Are you more of a visual or audio person? Then watch this webinar version instead! If you prefer reading, then skip ahead. This piece started off as this blog post and then I repurposed it into a webinar, which is one fantastic way to dip your toes into multimedia content. There’s also a bonus section in the webinar (not covered in this blog post) where I walk you through a framework for pairing different story types with various content mediums.
Go beyond blogging and explore other types of content marketing
Blogging is typically the focus of most businesses’ content strategies, and therefore content marketers. It makes sense since it allows anyone to tell their story easily.
But, just when you’ve mastered the art of blogging and optimizing your content for search engines, bam— videos, memes, podcasts, and an entire slew of other types of content start to flood your feed. Now it seems you’re expected to be a graphic designer, videographer, and maybe even a podcast host!
Don’t panic. If anyone actually expects all of these skills to come from a single person, wish them good luck in finding this unicorn. The good news is that there are so many great tools out there to help you become a content queen or king—I’ll get to that a bit later in this post.
With that being said, today’s content marketers do need to be experts in more than just long-form content. It’s becoming increasingly important to acquire a broad skillset to produce content in the many different mediums that are accelerating in popularity today. These formats include:
Long-form text is typically 2,000 words or more. The classics include pillar pages, case studies, eBooks, white papers, and the likes. Long-form content is not going away and is still a very effective means of content marketing, especially when paired with other content types.
So don’t worry, these skills you worked hard to gain will continue to be valuable. This blog post is a case in point.
Short-form text is usually under 1,000 words. Think social media posts, email, landing pages, blog posts, and ads. Short-form text is typically paired with images, videos, and of course, emojis. Our short attention spans respond well to snappy and impactful messages.
In 2021, 86% of businesses reported using video as a marketing tool. According to Google, long-form videos are 10 minutes or more, while other marketers say 2 minutes is the cutoff. There isn’t an official length; it’s all relative and more about the purpose. Long-form videos could be interviews, case studies, company mission stories, or product videos to help with purchasing decisions.
Audiences engage in more long-form videos, which account for 63% of all time spent watching videos across devices. Here’s a fantastic example of a long-form video from Nike, which is a series of videos where they interview designers from different collections.
Short-form videos, on the other hand, are more shareable and best suited for social media marketing. Advertisements are almost always short-form and are typically capped at 30 seconds, but some can be as short as 5 seconds. What’s more, 93% of marketers who use video say that it’s an essential part of their marketing strategy. Here’s an example of a short-form video about adding social media holidays to your content calendar.
Psst… Still not convinced you need video content? Learn 5 reasons why video is the future of content marketing.
A picture can indeed be worth a thousand words. We’ve all been witnesses to viral memes that seem to pop up as events are happening. And while we know our beloved long-form content needs to be supplemented with engaging images, we now have image-only channels like Instagram and Pinterest.
Infographics are another form of incredibly shareable (hello backlinks!) and snackable content. They combine text and graphic elements in a creative way to do things like: break down a complex concept, summarize info, or illustrate stale data and numbers. Plus, they can help with SEO and get you on Google’s image search results.
For B2B companies, webinars are especially effective since 66% of B2B buyers prefer to watch a webinar before buying products or services. Webinars can help you easily educate your audiences, showcase products, and build relationships with potential buyers. Take a look at this one around how marketing and content teams are adapting strategies for the pandemic.
According to PodcastHosting.org, in the U.S, 37% (104 million) listen to podcasts at least every month, and 24% (68 million) listen to podcasts weekly. Podcasts are the perfect content to consume when working out, commuting, cooking, or other multi-tasking. They can help you build your brand’s visibility, loyalty, and trust.
Live chat and community forums
The audio app Clubhouse recently exploded into the scene and is a prime example of this format. Live chat and community forums are an informal and often spontaneous way to engage with your audience. They typically don’t require a lot of planning, which makes them a lightweight, yet effective channel. Some popular examples are public Slack channels, LinkedIn/Facebook groups, SubReddits, and Discord groups.
What is driving the transformation of content marketing?
The need to create different forms of content marketing is caused by three main drivers:
- Audience and consumer demand for different mediums—People prefer to consume content in different ways at different times, so limiting yourself to one medium limits the opportunities to engage your audience.
- Structural changes within the marketing organization—More content creation is being brought in-house, and lines are blurring within marketing teams as companies adopt modified work-from-home policies and seek to find more efficiency.
- New technologies—As I alluded to earlier, countless new technologies make it possible for people who lack technical training to produce different types of content—Wibbitz, Canva, Snappa. Anchor by Spotify, to name a few.
To add to these drivers, the pandemic also had a significant effect on content consumption. In a recent Content Engagement Report, PathFactory studied how COVID-19 changed B2B content consumption in 2020. During this period, there was a 124% increase in new content assets than the period before stay-at-home mandates. Some of the highlights of the report include:
- There were 42% more sessions, but shorter, with the median time between visits almost 50% shorter.
- The most-viewed content asset types during the pandemic include webinars, videos, eBooks, and reports.
- The content types that encouraged the highest-quality engagement include brochures, guides, infographics, and videos.
Increase in Content Consumption by Asset Type
Not all content is created equally
Now that you’ve wrapped your head around the buffet of content marketing mediums, how do you decide which types are the best for your business and audience? The answer you don’t want to hear—it depends.
Get to really know your ideal customer
This is where understanding your ideal customer becomes crucial. You need to understand their pain points, needs, where they hang out, where they seek information, and what type of content they like to consume.
If you’ve never done your own customer research, I highly recommend it. You don’t have to be on the customer success or product team to talk with your customers. Trust me, it’ll be worth it.
I often steal language and direct quotes from customers in the content I create. There’s no better way to speak to your audience than using their own words, especially within industries I’m not an expert in.
Understand the search intent
Besides getting close to your customers, you need to understand the context and intent of the information you’re sharing. Think about when you’re Googling information. Most of the time, you’re looking for a quick answer, and you don’t have time to read an in-depth case study.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to master a craft, then you’ll be more willing to drop your email for that gated eBook or watch that 10-minute how-to-video. In other words, the type of content you create should be driven by what your ideal customer wants to achieve.
Each person has different needs, challenges, and learning styles which is why a multimedia content approach is so crucial. Different content types will help you address them all.
In terms of popular consumption, Hubspot’s 2021 annual state of marketing report found that videos, blogs, and eBooks were the primary forms of media used within content strategies.
What is the future of content marketing?
Even though we’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel with COVID-19, our content creation and consumption habits have changed and are likely to continue to. The future of content marketing is exciting, innovative, and ever-changing, which means your marketing efforts need to adapt as well. Here’s what you need to know:
Knowledge of multiple creation tools
These days, you don’t need to be a coder or a Photoshop guru to create content beyond text. There are so many great tools available, and you can easily fall into a black hole doing research and free trials. To help, here are a few handy resources:
- 23 tools that should be in every content creator’s toolbox in 2021
- 9 visual storytelling tools for content marketers in 2021
- The ultimate guide to video marketing
Expertise in multiple content formats
While you don’t need to become a videographer or graphic designer overnight, you do need to be an expert in multimedia and understand the importance of content formats, what’s available, and what works best for you.
Ability to quickly repurpose a story across multiple mediums
Just because you should create different types of content doesn’t mean you have to reinvent the wheel for each piece. If you take a long-form piece of content like this blog post, you can cut it up and repurpose it in so many different ways. I could easily turn this long-form blog content into several short-form blog posts, social media posts or stories, podcast episode, webinar, and of course multiple types of video.
Integrated marketing campaigns across multiple mediums
An integrated marketing campaign combines multiple mediums and channels such as content, display advertising (e.g., Google and Facebook ads), social media, and email to promote a cohesive message to a targeted audience. The main goal of most integrated campaigns is to build brand engagement across multiple touchpoints and ultimately convert visitors into customers.
How can you start developing your multimedia content marketer skills?
Now the delicious part. Here are my pro-tips for elevating your multimedia content marketers skills.
- Stay ahead of trends, and this holds true for types of content. The numbers don’t lie, so make sure you’re in the know. Many content marketing giants like Hubspot and Ahrefs put together annual reports, listicles, and handy guides to keep you up to date.
- Elevate and diversify your skill sets to prepare for the future of content marketing. Try not to get overwhelmed and take on every skill at once. Learn one thing at a time, and choose the formats that make the most sense for your business and goals.
- Have a learning mindset. Learning new mediums is a skill in and of itself that content marketers must master in order to continue their professional development. The first step is to make time for learning. There is so much free content available (thanks to people like you and me), but if you don’t dedicate time to seek it out and absorb it, then you’ll lag far behind.
- Join content marketing communities. If you don’t work with a bunch of other marketers, it can be tough to keep up with the latest and greatest. This is why I recommend joining a content marketing community. Not only can you learn more about your craft, but you’ll find people to spar with, job opportunities, and maybe even potential customers. Here’s a handy list of content marketing groups if you’re not familiar with any.
- Take advantage of the tools available to you. It’s amazing what you can do with a few clicks or drag & drops these days—like creating a video in under 5 minutes.
Incorporating a multimedia approach to your content strategy all comes down to engaging with your audience in different ways to help you gain visibility, build trust, enhance user experience, and improve retention levels. While this will require extra work on your part, producing engaging content that stands out will give you a better shot at converting those visitors into customers and those customers into your evangelists. That is the end game, after all.
Start creating multimedia content now!
Taking that first step is often the hardest part, so give it a go now. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a content marketer without a proper CTA. And since video was repeatedly mentioned as one of the most effective content types, I’m sharing a 7-day free trial to Wibbitz.
Wibbitz is an online video creation tool that gives you the freedom to create short-form videos in minutes – no experience necessary.