Get Rich Quick: Why You Should Be Using Rich Media as Part of Your Inbound Content Strategy
If you think rich media is just for business to consumer marketers, think again. There are times when your marketing content strategy needs to be flashier than plain text and with the right piece of content, ROI will more than an offset cost.
More than 90% of business to business marketers now invest in content marketing - according to a study carried out by Content Marketing Institute.
For all businesses, the challenge is to create varied and interesting content of sufficient quality, not only to engage customers and prospects but ensure that they share and pass it around.
Which is where rich media - infographics, animations, slideshows, video, pictures, audio, interactive elements, eBooks, games and so on - comes into its own.
With the right piece of rich media content, a brand can really cut through. Marketing automation company Eloqua, for example, does this regularly with its stand-out value-added infographics.
Masonry manufacturer Firerock also uses rich media with its Pinterest account, while Cisco utilises a Youtube channel. They engage with their customers on a deeper level, something which cannot be achieved with standard content.
Moreover, rich media's interactive potential encourages more activity and deeper engagement than can be achieved with standard content.
At its most basic, images or graphics inserted into email newsletters spark curiosity and encourage engagement, significantly lifting click-through rates.
An embedded rich media poll or survey can turn your marketing emails from passive to interactive, too.
Online video, for example, is growing at an astonishing pace.
Over six billion hours of video are now watched online each month - a year on year increase of 50% between 2012 and 2013.
Youtube remains the dominant online video platform. But with emerging short-form platforms such as Instagram and Vine, powerful opportunities now exist to communicate with customers and prospects in new and compelling ways.
Such opportunities are now being made more affordable to business to business marketers by a host of start-ups - such as Moovd, which turns text into animated text videos - with easy solutions to creating quality video without breaking the bank. It's not just about video, though.
Moving forward, content marketers will need an "everything" strategy encompassing multiple channels at once if 87% of internet devices sales will made up of smartphones and tablets by 2017, as one recent study by IDC predicts.
Podcasts, for example, can be a useful format when you consider that as much as 30% of your potential audience are likely to be auditory learners.
A growing number of businesses are reaping the benefits of workbooks, playbooks and blueprints - documents intended less as a sit down read, and more as a step by step interactive guide.
Other new forms of rich media content also worth considering include free assets designed to solve business problems for customers and prospects, for example, such as reporting templates or even apps.
It's all about making the most of the fastest-growing media in digital at the same time as adding value to the recipient. Get it right and your rich media content will build awareness, encourage engagement and convert prospects into customers.