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The Importance of Content Variety

Why should you worry about content variety on your website? Well, first of all, people don’t want to see the same stuff over and over. But certain types of content are more effective depending on where your client or customer is at on their buyer’s journey. That’s why we’re going to explore the importance of content variety.

One type of content goes from 73% effectiveness at the start of the journey, and drops to 6% at the end!

Here’s the podcast episode:

Or if you’d rather watch the video:

And, of course, the transcript:

Hi, I’m Ruthie Bowles, owner of Defy The Status Quo, and you’re listening to an episode of The Defiant Business Podcast, your daily 10-minute shot of business knowledge. So let’s get into it. 

Lately, I’ve been talking about the different types of content that’s out there. I focused on the show on two different types that aren’t quite as well-known: white papers and case studies. But I also wanted to talk about content variety, and the importance of content variety.

What I mean by content variety is the different types of content that you create and employ in your content marketing strategy. And the reason why this is important is because research shows us that different types of content have different levels of effectiveness based on the where; where your audience, reader, or lead is in the sales funnel. 

The Sales Funnel: An Inverted Pyramid

So, what’s the sales funnel, or sales cycle? 

The first level of the sales funnel, at the top, is the widest. So think of it as like an inverted pyramid. The top of the sales funnel is typically the awareness stage of the buyer’s journey. The lead, customer, or client is aware that they have a problem, or they come across your top of the funnel content and become aware of the fact that they have a problem. 

The second stage is not as wide as the top, and it is in the middle of the inverted pyramid. That’s considered the consideration stage. Now the lead is considering their options in terms of solving their problem. So let’s take it back to the top. You become aware that you have a physical issue. Your consideration is maybe which treatment or doctor you should seek out based on your research. 

Then we move to the bottom of the funnel. That is the decision stage. That’s when people typically make a purchase decision. They go with a service provider or they purchase a product.

Transforming into the Sales Cycle

As people have started talking about the sales funnel, they’re starting to turn it into the sales cycle. The last portion of the sales cycle, which is added on, is the delight phase. I’m going to do a podcast episode on the sales cycle in order to really go over that in-depth.

The Most Effective Types of Content

At the Top of the Funnel

So what types of content are most effective? 

According to Content Marketing Institutes’ research on B2B content marketing, at the top of the funnel, blog posts are the most effective type of content, at 73%. So 73% of B2B marketers say that blog posts are the most effective for moving people from the top of the funnel to the middle of the funnel. Effective is, by their standard, moving someone from one stage of the funnel to the next.

The next most effective one was podcasts at 57%, which is great. That’s good news for me. 57% of marketers say that this type of content moves people from one phase of the buyer’s journey to the next.

Then ebooks, at 56%. This is interesting, because you can use a blog post to show someone your ebook and get them to download it, if they’re interested in what the blog posts and the ebook have to say. 

So, at the top of the funnel is where you’re going to get most of your leads to come in.

In the Middle of the Funnel

At the middle of the funnel, the clients are trying to evaluate their options. White papers are the most effective form of content for marketers, at 53% of marketers giving them the stamp of approval. 

The next most effective are webinars, which makes sense. Personally, I’ve had bad experiences with webinars, so a webinar for me isn’t a top of the funnel tool. When people are just starting to get to know me, it’s not my ideal. If I’ve been engaged with someone – let’s say I follow Neil Patel or Julia McCoy – and they sent me an email about a webinar that they were giving, I would be more likely to sign up for it because I already trust them. 

So it makes sense to me that webinars are very effective at the middle of the funnel. They represent a more serious constraint on my time, as most webinars are 60 minutes. If I trust you, then I’m more likely to give you my 60 minutes. I’ll have to do a whole podcast episode on webinars as well, so stay tuned for that.

Comparatively, while 73% of marketers said blog posts were very effective for moving people from one stage to the next, only 21% of marketers said the same thing at the middle of the funnel. 

At the Bottom of the Funnel

At the bottom of the funnel, 40% of marketers say that case studies are an effective form of content for moving from one phase to the next. After that, the numbers become pretty disparate. 

The next highest are in-person events at 32%. 

After that, it hits the 20s, and the teens, and the single digits. I think this is probably a reflection of the fact that we aren’t in control of our content marketing, or our customer’s journey. Like I said in a previous episode, we’re just not in control of it. So we aren’t always sure at which point customers convert, buy, or move to the next phase. Keep that in mind as we talk about these numbers. 

Similarly, 73% of marketers said blog posts were very effective at the top of the funnel, whereas 6% of marketers say that they’re effective at the bottom of the funnel. 

The white papers go from 53% vote of confidence to a 14%, which is actually a really big drop. It just really depends on your customer. 

Account for Your Customer’s Preferences

And that’s what I’m going to close with today. The most important thing to know when you think about content variety is covering your customer’s preferences. 

If you’re a successful entrepreneur, you likely don’t have a lot of time, so trying to get me to sign up for your 60-minute webinar is not going to work as well for me. But if you’re saying “Hey, here’s an ebook”, maybe even on the same topic, I’m more likely to download that ebook.

I’m more likely to interact with your content because I can skim an ebook at my leisure. I don’t have to sit down for an hour to listen to you talk. 

This is the same reason why on the website, we put the transcript and the video in the show notes for each podcast episode. I may not always have time to listen to a podcast episode or watch a video, but it doesn’t mean I’m not interested in what you have to say, or the content. So when you give me multiple options in terms of how I can consume your content, it makes it more likely that I will. 

The other thing to consider as well is that some people just don’t like watching videos. Video is the highest increasing content form that’s being created right now, and for good reason. People do enjoy videos, but we don’t always have time for them. 

In my case, I can read much faster than you can talk, so I would much rather read something most of the time instead of you drawing it out through a video. But again, it always depends. It depends on the topic, your client, or your customer. 

Your customer base may prefer video, which means that, while blog posts are great, you should be putting out video as well because it makes it more likely that they’ll interact with your content and absorb what you have to say. 

The Goal of Content Marketing

The goal of content marketing, at least the way I do content marketing, is to build industry credibility and client trust. In order for that to happen, people have to actually take in our content. So if you’re not paying attention to how they like to consume content, you are missing out on the credibility building and trust-building. 

This has been an episode of The Defiant Business Podcast, in which we talked about the importance of content variety. I look forward to seeing you next time.