In our opinion there is no better content than the proof of expertise. Demonstrating how something was done, what learnings were taken, what advice could be passed on to reader etc are all a great way to build a brand and its “trust” in a niche. A large number of B2B niches work very hard to leverage these, but a lot of the ways of demonstrating expertise are translatable to other consumer focused niches. Some ways to demonstrate expertise are listed below – we are not going into massive detail on these as so much material is covered on the web about them in general.
Case studies are great for delivering content that is not only relevant to your site or business, but also for increasing customer confidence and conversion. Although you may feel that case studies may be a limited strategy for content development, we find that they are the easiest content generation methods – most businesses have a number of interesting, useful case studies.
Similar to case studies, white papers are a great way to demonstrate expertise and increase customer confidence, as well as increase brand exposure. The more actionable the learnings from your white papers, the more interesting reading (and share-able!) they become.
We love giving out examples as blog posts when working with small businesses. I would think that blogs run by fashion ecommerce sites would be dominated by examples of how the products could be worn, but that is sadly not the case.
And these aren’t limited to fashion, even a plumber can build example scenarios where his / her service could be beneficial. And if you tied in “how tos” (see next idea) then you could end up with a limitless bank of useful, actionable content that your audience would love.
In many niches, whole blog subcultures exist to demonstrate the usage of products and services online. In fact the last generations of content farms such as wikihow and eHow grew exactly on those premises. We always find it amazing that brands and businesses spend a lot of money and time on costly marketing campaigns, while one man bands and cheap content factories dominate the web with “how to” type content. At the least each brand ought to try and generate and OWN its “how to” queries to discourage leakage to third party sites.
The query above is: “How many ounces in a pound”. If a brand site ranked for this, is it going to get them sales? Probably not. It WILL however expose their brand to a lot more people if the above screenshot from the google Keyword Planner of global searches of the phrase is to be believed.
How many more of these high traffic low competition keywords are there? Well take a look at SEMrush data for “How to“.
Fairly time consuming, but a well written ebook is a great content marketing tool. Not only does it have the benefit of branding, showing expertise etc, it also has the ability to spread in multiple formats. Again – quite well used in B2B niches, less so on the B2C areas – some of the best lead gen in the B2C areas is happening via such content. Which.co.uk goes as far as advertising their free ebooks (AND physical copies). There is no reason why commercial businesses, charities and even small businesses can use eBooks as the powerful content marketing tool that it is.
In the same vein as “how tos” walk throughs have become a major part of customer to customer interaction – primarily because businesses themselves don’t push the development of such content.
However there are many reasons for owning this content strategy, whether developed in-house or with the support of talented customers. It’s a great way to build up relationships with customers, both post and pre-purchase. We would absolutely love it if some of IKEA’s furniture had video walk-throughs as sometimes those paper instructions aren’t enough… apparently they DID have these at one point.
Walkthroughs are an overlap with product guides and manuals, but the level of detail in a walk through tends to be higher than simpler guides. At the same time, the main reason why we break this out as its own idea, is behind the fact that a business need not run walkthroughs for its own products. A major game retailer for example could build a massive fan base if they built and dominated the SERPs for game walk throughs: