How do you prefer to get information? Do you learn best by reading, hearing, seeing a demonstration, trying it yourself, or a unique combination of these things? I think it’s safe to say if you poll an audience of more than one person, you’ll get different answers to this question.
So, how do you think your audience best receives and retains your content? Beyond that, have you thought about how potential clients may need to present your content to others during decision processes? How are you accommodating those varied needs?
Take case studies and success stories, for example. These tried-and-true content pieces are an integral part of many sales arsenals. You can certainly write them, plug them into a nice design layout, and print them for distribution to potential clients. But you can also do much more.
IBM has done some really nice things with its case studies — stretching and adapting the information, interviews, and research to fit a variety of media. Take a quick look and you’ll see video interviews, slide presentations, infographics and downloadable PDFs — all in one convenient case dashboard.
This set-up makes it easy for people to view and absorb the information as it best fits their individual styles. Key data and concepts are repeated via spoken words, visuals, text, graphics and other elements so the information is reinforced as people interact with the content. Plus, it’s all highly usable for a variety of needs. It goes beyond repurposing. IBM has purposefully diversified and bundled the content at creation into a neat dashboard of multiple media and uses, providing greater content utility.
Let’s say your contact in a potential client company likes the information she’s seen and wants to present it to other decision-makers in her company. She could:
- Show your video clip in the board meeting
- Integrate your infographic into her slide presentation
- Project your slide show directly from your website for her colleagues
- Hand out your complete printed case study as a reference tool at the meeting or email the PDF to key decision-makers ahead of time
- Do all of the above.
These kinds of tools and presentations allow her to easily “show and tell” what she’s learned about (or from) your company.
And this doesn’t just apply to case studies. You can apply these options to any information you want to present — from industry news to how-to articles. Use your imagination. And most importantly, think about your audience’s needs. Take a look at IBM’s whole “A Smarter Planet” content series for even more content show-and-tell ideas.
You spend a lot of valuable time researching, working and learning within your area of expertise. Why not stretch your work further? Take another look at your content. Work with it. Repackage it. Make it valuable across multiple channels.
Content marketing is moving toward much more graphic, sensory-oriented and multi-vehicle usability. People will be looking for content which is not only informative and easy to absorb, but usable and presentable across various situations and platforms as well. In other words, they want content utility.
This kind of content strategy is certainly something I want to work with in the new year. How about you? What have you tried, or what would you like to try? Do show and tell!