What does being in a "content rut" mean to you?
Perhaps the words "content rut" remind of those times you find yourself with writer's block and can't think of fresh topic ideas. (We've all been there.) Or maybe it makes you think of those days or weeks -- or even (shudder) months when your content seems to be falling kind of flat.
All of those interpretations are totally accurate, but there's one more you may not have thought of: the kind of content rut where you keep creating the same types of content over and over again instead of mixing it up.
A big part of building a killer content strategy is experimenting with new types of content. Your audience may love your podcasts, but that doesn't mean you should create only podcasts. Sticking with only a handful of offer types is a surefire way to stagnate. Fresh new content types could do wonders for expanding your reach and attracting more (and better) leads.
So don't shy away from new formats. To help you shake up your content balance, here are 23 things you can put behind a landing page to help you collect new leads.
23 Things You Can Put Behind a Landing Page
1) Cheat Sheets
Cheat sheets are the kind of short, concise offers someone might bookmark for future reference. Think of them as concise guides to terms, commands, or symbols, or other things like this laundry room cheat sheet from PartSelect or HubSpot's cheat sheet for social media cover photo dimensions. They should be formatted for quick reference, which means clear headers and not too much detail. The more visual the better.
Checklists are another type of short offer that you could put behind a landing page, which readers can print out and put on the wall by their desks. Include clear headers, a colorful design, and keep copy brief. Don't forget to put your logo somewhere on the checklist.
Here's an excerpt from our downloadable checklist on B2B lead generation on Facebook as an example:
People love contests. They can teach you a lot about your audience while engaging them, growing your reach, driving traffic to your website, and -- drum roll, please -- generating leads! You can run contests on pretty much any social media platform, including Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram, and they can be as simple as you'd like:
Or as complicated as you'd like:
Your audience may also be excited to fill out a form in exchange for a video course or tutorial. It's up to you whether to produce, shoot, and edit the video in-house or hire a professional, and whether to hold the course live or post a recording. Either way, ask participants to share their email address with you so you can send them an email with the video recording that they can access forever.
Make it easy for website visitors who are ready to learn more about your product or service to schedule a demo with your team by placing demo calls-to-action on key pages of your website, including your home page. (Click here to see what our demo landing page looks like.)
Ebooks are one of the most popular types of offers used to generate leads, educate your customers and prospects, and gain credibility in your industry. But they can take time to become a reality, so be sure to choose a topic that will help a prospect go from downloading your ebook to having a productive conversation with a member of your sales team. (For more detailed tips, click here to learn how to create ebooks from start to finish.)
7) Email Series
An email series is a multi-part series of emails sent to an individual who specifically opted in to receive those emails. It's different from an email subscription in that it has a finite number of emails sent.
For example, LearnVest offers Bootcamp programs that send you an email once a day for seven to ten days. The emails are filled with articles, tips, and tutorials on a personal finance topic of your choosing, from how to start investing to building your business. Another example is Cards Against Humanity's 12 Days of Holiday Bull*** campaign, which sends an email every day for twelve days in December.
8) Email Subscriptions
Business blogging not only drives more traffic to your website, it also can become a major source for lead generation down the road. How do you convert blog readers into leads? First, turn them into dedicated subscribers by simply asking for their email address in exchange for sending them new blog posts daily, weekly, or monthly. Make it easy for them to subscribe by including a one-step form on your blog:
Guides come in many shapes and sizes. There are "ultimate guides," which are long, in-depth, and usually include detailed explanations, screenshots, and step-by-step instructions. (Here's an example of an "ultimate guide.") Then, there are "simple guides," which are shorter and much more concise. (Here's an example of a "simple guide.") There are also tactical guides, pocket guides, introductory guides, and advanced guides. The list goes on.
What's the common denominator? They are all tutorials of some sort, and many of them include step-by-step instructions.
Interviews with experts are one-of-a-kind offers that your readers might love to give up some of their information to watch, listen to, or read -- but the key is that the interview has to be good.
What do I mean by good? To justify putting an interview behind a landing page, it needs to be on a topic your audience would be really interested to hear about, and with a person or people whose name(s) your audience would recognize and be excited to here from. If you can tick both those boxes off, then you should absolutely consider turning an in-depth interview into a downloadable video, audio, or PDF file.
Kits are groupings of content put together into one offer. They're really great ways to repurpose existing content by aggregating multiple, small offers on similar topics into a cohesive collection. For example, HubSpot offers an Inbound Marketing Kit that includes an interactive presentation, a report that includes original data and research, and a glossary.
12) Original Data & Research
Data and metrics are valuable, especially as many fields become more and more data-intensive. If your team has the bandwidth, then original, data-heavy industry reports can do wonders for building authority and trust with your audience. The trade-off is that curating them takes a lot of time, resources, and expertise.
One of the least expensive way to curate original data and research is to run a survey with your subscribers, leads, customers, and industry professionals, and share its results on your website in the form of a report, study, or infographic. For example, the data in our annual State of Inbound report is taken from a survey of over 3,500 marketing and sales professionals -- we asked the questions, and their answers provided us with a lot of great insights that our audience is interested in learning about.
Podcasts are fun ways to build an audience and establish your brand as a source of expertise while showing off the human element of your company. They put a voice to your brand, so to speak. And creating one is relatively low-budget: All you need is a decent microphone and a smart but fun personality that can keep your audience listening in each time a new one is released.
Using a podcast, you can keep your current audience up to date on the latest industry trends, attract new audience members by word-of-mouth, and keep your audience involved. (Learn how to build a successful podcast here.)
14) SlideShare Presentations
Because SlideShares, like blog posts, are great for traffic. you may want to share without hiding them behind a form. But that doesn't mean you can't offer a PDF download of your SlideShare in exchange for some information. If your SlideShare is good enough, it can be a low-effort way to convert readers into leads.
Templates are great offers because they provide readers with a backbone for creating original things on their own. For example, one of our most popular offers is our five infographic templates in PowerPoint, which we promoted with blog posts that teach our readers how to create great infographics in more detail.
Holding a happy hour at your office, a meet-and-greet at a local eatery, or a conference in a major city? Whatever your event, ask attendees for their information so you can send or email their tickets ahead of time and have an ID badge waiting for them at their arrival.
Interactive tools can be difficult and time-consuming to create, but if they accomplish something that's really helpful for your audience, then the payoff is often worth it.
Take HubSpot's Marketing Grader, for example. The landing page form, shown below, is simple and only requires a website URL and email address. What a marketer gets out of the data HubSpot pulls for the is worth a lot compared to the amount of information we ask for, making it a compelling exchange.
Sometimes, your prospects will want to try out your product or service before deciding whether they're a good fit. This is a good thing -- you want to grow a loyal customer base, and that can take a little more work than trying to sell your stuff to everyone who will listen.
Try giving out free trials of your product or service with no risk, no obligation, and no credit card required -- the only thing they need to do is fill out a form.
It's no secret that visual content is often more powerful than words on paper -- people tend to both like and remember visual content much better. That's why video is such a popular content type for readers: It's likeable and shareable.
Consider using video to show how something works or walk your readers through a process. For example, here's the landing page for our five-part video series, which walks our audience through the ebook creation process.
The webinar is a useful content format for introducing prospects to thought leadership around your industry, and it establishes you as an expert voice in the discussion. A successful webinar takes a lot of work -- especially with regard to planning and promoting it -- but with the proper preparation and strategy, it can be a great way to generate high quality leads. (Check out this post to learn more about planning your own webinar.)
While ebooks are informal, fun, design-heavy pieces of in-depth content, whitepapers are much more formal, academic, and persuasive reports. They're structured to first present a problem and then provide a solution to that problem. People download them because they are authoritative, detailed, and informative, not necessarily because they're a joy to read -- but since every audience needs to have a good hold on the details of their industry, whitepapers can still be really helpful to your audience. (Learn more about whitepapers here.)
Interactive worksheets are great pieces of educational content that show you want to inform and help your readers become better at their jobs. Worksheets are kind of like templates in that they are a skeleton of content that your readers will have to fill in with their own information -- except in this case, that information is for internal (possibly personal) use, not external use.
They are also usually in Excel -- here's what one from HubSpot might look like:
23) .Zip Files
A .zip file is a computer file that contains computer files or folders that have been compressed so it can be easily sent to other people. For example, HubSpot has an offer that includes 151 browser bookmarks we think marketers should install on their computers. Instead of listing these bookmarks in a blog post and having our readers manually install each of them, we compressed them into a .zip file so our readers can download them all in one simple step. All they have to do is fill out a form, and the HTML files along with download instructions are theirs.
From ebooks to videos to worksheets, each type of content you put behind a landing page has a specific job. Experiment with different offer types and learn which resonate with your audience and convert the most leads. Do more of what works, but never get too comfortable!
What other types of offers have you put behind a landing page form? Share with us in the comments below!