The big question many have today about thought leadership marketing and content marketing is which formats are the best to use: videos, words, graphics, podcasts?
Before discussing this, let’s talk a bit about the history of content marketing.
Content marketing became a major marketing strategy from about 2004 to 2010. When it first appeared, it primarily involved writing content and then posting it on company websites in the form of blog posts.
It was developed because B2B organizations believed traditional marketing formats such as advertising were no longer working or cost effective.
However, since then, marketing strategies, including thought leadership marketing strategies, have further evolved. Videos, webinars, original research, white papers, case studies, and podcasts now all come under the thought leadership and content marketing umbrella. No matter the format, these all involve words in one form or another, which remain the essence and the foundation of this strategy.
But now, because we have so many different formats evolving, many marketers are wondering which of these formats is proving most effective, especially when it comes to thought leadership marketing. To determine this, we first must remember what is the goal of thought leader and content marketing:
Thought leadership and content marketing, no matter the format, does not make a sale; both lead to a sale.
In other words, this strategy draws consumers in, educates them about a company and the value of its products or services, builds trust, and helps them take the next step, inquiring about purchasing the product or service.
So now that we are clear about this strategy and its value, which of these different formats seems to be proving most successful for most B2B organizations?
According to a survey by Ascend2, a business research group, of 263 B2B and B2C marketing professionals surveyed, these are the most influential formats:
- Videos: 41 percent
- Webinars: 36 percent
- Original research (Surveys and White Papers): 36 percent
- Blog posts: 34 percent
- Case studies: 29 percent
- Podcasts: 18 percent.
The researchers also asked the marketing professionals their views on using social media to market a company’s products and services.
Usually, this involved distributing the different forms of content on LinkedIn, Facebook (especially if B2C), Twitter, Instagram, and others. “More than half of the marketers surveyed believe that social media is one of the most effective [marketing] tactics in generating leads that eventually convert into sales.”
Two other strategies mentioned that have proven successful were the following:
- Website search engine optimization, 43 percent
- Email marketing programs, 42 percent
So, what’s coming next in Thought Leadership and Content Marketing?
Part of their research included asking marketers which forms of content marketing they believed would grow in prominence in the coming months. Due to the pandemic, what they called online “live” events were at the top of the list. This continues today as we inch ourselves away from the pandemic.
Most marketers believe these live events will increase in popularity and could even become the number one lead generator in the future. Live events would include podcasts and live webinars, some including major thought leaders and “influencers” within an industry and key company stakeholders giving presentations.
However, we must remember that tastes and popular formats change regarding all thought leadership and content marketing strategies.
Things could change when people return to an office setting. Their time may be more limited.
To attend a live event may become more of a team or group event instead of something one can do on their own. In such cases, words, in the more traditional form of blogs, will again grow in popularity. This means professionally written content continues to be a solid option for thought leaders, educating readers effectively—and more quickly—than webinars or podcasts.
More Thought Leadership content can be found here.
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