There’s a definite standard in today’s lead generation content. Campaigns promote a web-hosted pdf. It’s typically a white paper about six to eight pages in length, or maybe a slightly longer ebook. The documents are well-written and informative, but also somewhat plain. They’re usually a fairly basic combination of text and images, with a few key links.
Partially due to technological limitations (but also due to unwillingness on the part of marketers), strikingly few campaigns break away from this mold. That won’t always be the case. Whether it comes as a gradual shift or a dramatic swing, this standard will eventually have to change.
As time goes on, certain traits are going to be more and more important to the success of lead gen content. Here are a set of four aspects that are critical to future-proof lead generation content.
Future-proof lead gen content has to be compatible with whatever technology your audience happens to throw at it. Even today, between different devices, browsers, and operating systems, there’s a huge number of possible combinations. A quick trip to Google Analytics (or your analytics platform of choice) will show you just how many.
Variety is only going to increase in the future. The upper range of screen sizes is poised to grow as ultra-HD 4K screens (a display roughly 4,000 pixels wide) become more common and ultra-ultra-HD 8k screens follow suit. More wearable technologies and internet-connected appliances will mean even more (probably unconventional) screen dimensions. Plus, you can never rule out the possibility of a new browser or OS coming out and rising to compete with the likes of Google, Microsoft, and Apple.
The bottom line is that future-proof content has to have a plan for more than just desktop and mobile. Rather than targeting certain screen sizes and devices, it has to scale to fit whatever screen it’s on, shifting and stacking elements as needed. The text and images have to look just as good on a 4k desktop monitor as they do on a 300-pixel-wide smartphone.
While your audience might like the sound of a 27-page definitive ebook, chances are, they’re not going to be consuming all 27 pages in any sort of meaningful way. With all the interruptions in a modern workplace, it’s harder and harder to find time for such a long document. That’s why creating lead gen content that’s digestible is so important.
Distractions aren’t going to go away. If anything, they’ll grow as workplaces find new and more intricate ways to connect employees. To-the-point lead generation content will be increasingly valued as a way to get the desired information in whatever time happens to be available. A shorter document is also more memorable and better for later reference.
Future-minded lead generation content will designed to suit the needs of its audience. In most cases, this will mean keeping assets brief and scannable. It could also take into account options like image-heavy content (which can be consumed quickly) or videos and audio (which don’t require undivided attention).
Interactivity is a great way to make content more engaging. It gives the user control over their experience and allows them to adjust the content to meet their needs. Interactive content is also a great way to set yourself apart in a sea of other white papers and ebooks.
Now, that doesn’t mean you should flood the entire asset with sliders, buttons, show/hides, and quiz questions. Of course, too many of these elements tend to be more annoying than impressive. But, like spices in cooking, interactive elements can add a lot when used in the proper amounts.
As time goes on, interactivity will become an even more important tool for marketers. Changes in technology will allow for more involved interactive features. Additionally, the phasing out of older browsers and operating systems will make them more widely compatible.
When adding interactivity, keep in mind that the core of a future-proof asset must be readily available. You shouldn’t have to fiddle with a lot of widgets to get through the main message. Those features are best used to add information or context on a topic. They’re a great way to keep the document short and digestible, while also having the in-depth information for those who are interested.
Right now, when a user downloads a copy of your asset, that information is collected, but not much else. Though the technology does exist, most companies don’t have much insight into how a downloaded asset is being consumed. Generally, some tagged links within the content are about the extent of feedback from a downloaded asset.
How a user consumes an asset is one of the most important factors in determining if and when to follow up with them. This is especially important as nurture programs become more advanced and they can make better incorporate this information.
In-document analytics are also valuable in determining content types and topics that matter most to your audience. This data is vital in getting the most from limited creation resources.
Future-proof lead generation content requires some sort of feedback from the user. Ideally, this would include things like page-by-page heatmaps and recorded interactions with page elements. Currently, that means the landing page taking the user to a web-based viewer, but that’s not to say it will be the case forever. It’s best to get in on the ground floor with this type of data, so you have processes ready when it becomes more widely applicable.
Let us know what you think:
- Do you agree with our traits?
- Would you add anything to this list?
- What changes do you expect in lead gen content?