Big content is more than Long form blog posts.
There’s been lots of talk of the need for big content in a marketing campaign strategy, but what is big content?
You may see many graphs such as the below showing that long form content is now the most shared content format, so is that what we mean by big content?
It may have started out as long form, storytelling. However, as with everything, big content has evolved to become more complex and tech heavy.
Marketing SEOs and business’ constant obsession with trying to scale and cut corners has led to short and long form content not being enough anymore to win the google game.
Big content refers to content that requires significant time and resources to create. It is engaging or useful to an audience, but difficult to produce.
It can be a great tool for building links, as publishers wouldn’t easily produce something as good or better, and therefore link or connect to the original content to add value to multiple additional content. The content therefore spreads virally as it adds value to audiences and content publishers, providing you with multiple back links. Without the link, the value would not be there.
Creating this type of big content can be expensive, and for the majority of businesses it is simply not possible to push out massive content campaigns one after the next.
So, what are examples of big content?
- Poll or survey
- Interactive games
- White Paper
- In depth analysis / research
- Video Series
Small and big business alike have had success on social media by asking their audience a quiz or survey.
If you have a community or social media following, a great way to come up with new blog posts is to ask your audience what they want to hear.
There are plenty of contest campaigns run through social media to encourage engagement and brand awareness. For tips and rules see a great post here.
Calculators can be used to generate traffic to a website, as well as a conversion tool. What does your audience really need help with?
A great example of this and also a great tool to work out social media ROI is at hootsuite.
There are also plenty of gamification campaigns used on social media sites. Gamification was used by Deloitte for a recruitment drive, you can see the campaign here.
With conferences and events being cancelled due to Covid-19, we’re already seeing a massive trend towards webinars and online events. Even celebrities are getting involved:
How do you come up with big content ideas?
Nothing is original. The easiest way is to look at other pieces of content and asking yourself “How can I create something better?”. What has worked for your competitors? How could I turn this into a fun interactive campaign?
An infographic is no longer enough, as it doesn’t need to link back to another site. However, an interactive tool or a white paper needs context. Therefore, think whether the content would make sense without the link.
As big content is expensive, to keep it lasting longer, try to keep your big content pieces away from a blog, to keep it as evergreen stand-alone content. You can drive traffic to the specific landing page, and this can also be used as a lead page to gain followers or for specific conversion.
- What was the main story hook? Does it elicit emotion?
- What format do you want to use?
- Format matters, but depends on your needs, what are you trying to achieve?
- Does it require action from the user?
- Is it shareable?
- Does it hook into current trends? Washing hands?
Maybe don’t just think about one idea or campaign, plan your next few big content projects. That way you are always looking ahead and not getting too caught up in the success or failure of your current project.
You will want to update our big content pieces every 2-3 years, an ebook or white papers can take years to produce, so think ahead.
How do you measure the ROI of your big content initiatives?
As with all digital marketing campaigns, ROI is generally assessed by the overall traffic generated & reach of the campaign, whether by measuring the numbers of social shares, links, mentions or page views.
If your goal is to increase website traffic and link building, you would want to measure the number of links and high-profile placements (what major websites featured the content). Did it receive much unlinked coverage? The SEO impact in general and for campaign related keywords and any growth in brand keyword volume from organic search.
If your goal was to use are content such as a calculator or white paper to convert customers, you would also look at the number of assisted conversions.
If your content went truly viral, you could look at the volume of traditional PR opportunities that arose.
Despite this, remember that the main focus of designing your big content should be to deliver value to your audience, not the ROI achieved from it.
The future is not what it was. Online marketing is an ever changing beast, and we are all learning from each other when it comes to driving traffic and shares. The big companies are constantly reviewing what works and experimenting with content formats and us smaller fish need to keep up. But we can learn from the big budget mistakes, and wins, to see what the future will bring.
Google’s algorithms are changing constantly, but we know it is trying to surface content that precisely answers specific questions and in doing so is getting much more granular with the way it serves up rankings. To ensure you’re part of the mix, you must ensure you have a content strategy that includes all types of content: articles, videos, social media and other content designed to answer the very things your audience is already searching for.
Any content strategy is all about variation to ensure the audience stays engaged.