The methods of developing digital content have evolved with the times. While once downloading a PDF white paper was the height of sophistication, interactive features and new formats have revolutionized the field again. While these advancements aren't as seismic as the change that came over content marketing when print gave way to digital, they are hugely relevant to companies. This is because in a field where every competitor is offering online materials, the firm with the best ones may be the business of choice for curious viewers. Content production has evolved in both the technology that goes into releases and the efforts to get these items seen.
New formats, new objectives
Leaders need to determine above all what their media is meant to accomplish. After all, getting leaders to commit resources to a project with obscure or minimal impact will be an uphill battle. A recent overview by Business 2 Community contributor Debra Murphy addressed the purpose of creating original documents and listed many roles content can fall into.
For instance, Murphy trumpeted the benefits of evergreen materials that stay on a site for long periods of time and act as a beacon for curious buyers. This is relevant to both B2C and B2B businesses but perhaps more to the latter, as the search for products in that field can be long and drawn-out. These are the documents that state an organization's expertise, and while they should absolutely be replaced to stay up to date and not seem behind on trends, well-constructed releases can last a long time.
Another important role informational materials can play for organizations is creating touch points with many different audiences, as Murphy explained. She noted that releasing content in several formats and through various channels may allow the same few core facts to increase a business's presence across channels and platforms. Audio and video content can come from the general facts presented in a visual aid, or vice versa. Adding new release types can boost visibility.
According to Murphy, the best items should be hosted on the website of the company responsible. While social media is good for spreading these items and getting engagement from possible customers, the primary website is totally controlled by the organization. Presentation options may be more limited in social spaces because Facebook, Twitter and their ilk are owned and operated by their respective corporate entities. Drawing interested parties to firms' own sites is always a victory for visibility, as well.
The real return on investment
Business Journals contributor Andrew Martin recently explained it may be difficult to determine traditional return on investment from content, as the best documents are not overtly about getting a sale there and then. He stated if these projects are really working, however, there will be telltale signs. Engaged consumers who come back to the business time and again are a natural result of good content. They trust that the business can solve their problems because it has done so before. This is a powerful feeling to create, as the company could become a first choice when problems crop up.