Blog posts and articles are the most effective content marketing format for driving demand generation during the early stage of a buyer’s journey, according to a new study.
Content Marketing Institute’s (CMI) ‘Demand Gen for Content Marketing in the Next Decade’ report found that marketers are relying on a wide range of content formats during the sales cycle, but that some are better at delivering results than others at certain stages.
Case studies, for example, were only effective for 15% of respondents during the initial awareness and interest phase, but performed much better during the middle and late stages.
Effectiveness in this study is defined as the ability to move customers, wherever they are in the cycle, to the next stage.
Blogs and articles top the list during the early stage with an effectiveness rate of 72%, putting them ahead of videos (66%), podcasts (60%) and interactive content (50%).
Later, during evaluation and purchase, case studies work best, while virtual events, webinars and white papers are also useful.
The research highlights how the characteristics of certain formats make them better for pushing buyers seamlessly along the cycle at specific points.
For the purposes of demand generation, which focuses on driving awareness of products and services, marketers often use concise and engaging blogs to pique interest, and then follow up with more comprehensive white papers to nurture, before deploying targeted case studies to seal the deal.
CMI’s report found that virtual events are set to dominate campaigns again this year, after 71% said that they are now either “slightly” or “much more” important than they were before the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than half have also sponsored virtual events to support their own demand generation objectives in recent months.
Content expert Robert Rose also revealed that brands will be working hard to align their content-driven experiences with the passions and needs of prospective customers this year.