In today’s “content-age,” the creation of data is as simple as hitting “submit” on a blog entry or uploading a video to YouTube – anyone can do it, and practically everyone is doing it, causing content growth to increase at astonishing rates. In fact, just last year, there was enough digital data created to fill a stack of DVDs that would stretch all the way to the moon and back! In light of this, companies are realizing the importance of creating increasingly strong and engaging content that will rise above the waffle and hopefully have some kind of tangible impact. But what kind of content are companies finding most impactful?
TechValidate’s recent 2011 State of B2B Content Marketing Survey found that almost 80 percent of respondents indicated a need for content that influences the sales pipeline, with 60 percent of that need coming from content-hungry lead-generation campaigns. And, while marketing teams often own a large portion of lead-generation initiatives, much of the content creation stems from PR – including one of the most highly recognized items in the survey: case studies.
As seen in the chart below, combined responses of “most effective” and “very effective” show that case studies are among the top types of content that are most effective for lead generation at an astonishing 73 percent. Case studies were also found to be one of the most cost-effective pieces of content to create, yet ranked second in terms of most time-consuming – but, clearly, the long creation time is worth the wait!
Case studies are not only a great way to showcase companies’ success stories, but they also serve as valuable third-party validation. As I noted in my post, Social Media, the New Voice of Advertising, 78 percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14 percent trust advertisements. Therefore, getting customers to recommend your product or service and iterate the benefits – whether that’s in the form of a case study or otherwise – is immensely beneficial and, based on the TechValidate study, shows the most promise in terms of lead generation.
PR companies should look to supplement the case studies and testimonials with solid market research – or at least some research – because nothing really beats hard data when it comes to drawing business conclusions, although it’s important to note that without the right presentation to showcase that data (and sometimes the right SEO strategy), people do tend to brush over, leading to a hit-and-miss effort.
This post was first published by Meredith L. Eaton on March Communications’ blog, PR Nonsense.