Let me first say that you should think outside the eBook, but not forget the eBook. eBooks serve as excellent "big rock" or "pillar" content that can be broken up and re-purposed in dozens of ways to drive awareness and leads for your company. It's also an effective way to keep focused on a strategic topic or theme.
However, eBooks are time consuming and often expensive to produce - and given 60% of content typically goes unused, I would advise planning your eBook production carefully. Ensure that you're addressing a real business need and creating something that's appropriate for your audience and their buying stage.
Okay, so if you scale back your eBook production, what do you do with all the extra time and resources? There are so many content formats to experiment with these days, I wanted to pull together a list (in no particular order) of fresh ideas to get the juices flowing as you think about diversifying your content mix and trying some new things.
1. Data Report
There are a couple options: collect data from your own platform (if possible), survey your customers, or use a free tool like Google Surveys to poll consumers on a particular topic. If you're wanting to target a specific group (like marketers), you'll have to spend some money.
Example: At Invoca, we analyzed our own data from over 58 million customer phone calls and recently published our second annual Call Intelligence Index.
2. Interactive Infographic
Adding interactivity to your infographics can definitely take them to the next level. It makes it less about scrolling through and consuming data, and more about content discovery.
Example: LinkedIn created this infographic with tips for creating a job description. You can view examples by clicking into each section, making it a resource that HR professionals will bookmark and come back to.
3. Social Images
I realize this idea isn't necessarily new, but I included it because there's so many great tools available for making beautiful images and customizing them to your brand's font, colors etc. Check out Pablo (from Buffer) and Canva. Column Five also has a tool called Visage.
Example: I love how colorful, bold and simple this image from the AIGA is..it definitely made me stop scrolling and take note.
While this image from Gartner makes a boring statistic instantly more palatable.
A good GIF doesn't require baby animals in costumes. You can get creative and make your own using GIPHY or a handful of others listed here. If you want to be less grassroots and more branded, get one of your designers involved. A subtle GIF that's on message and on brand can be really captivating!
Example: Here's a GIF that we put together for a product launch at Invoca - you might need to look twice to find the animation.
Looking to get more engagement on your blog? Try doing a couple posts with quizzes and sharing across your social channels. The type of quiz that will work has to be fun and topical - definitely a top of funnel tactic.
Example: Here's a quiz that we put together at Invoca, which was taken over 550 times and drove quite a bit of traffic (via social) to our blog.
6. Facebook 360 Photos
I personally haven't done one of these yet because I haven't been anywhere recently that's worthy of a 360 photo, but what a cool and easy way as a brand to capture a photo that's a little different. What about capturing your next 'All Hands' meeting, or the view from your office rooftop?
Example: If anyone should be doing 360 photos, it's NASA. They've got some pretty good material! Check out the landscapes of Mars here.
7. Facebook Live
Another cool feature from Facebook that brands have been expertly using is Facebook Live. Given it does take some effort, I would only do this if you've got a sizable following on Facebook, otherwise you'll be hearing crickets.
Example: On the B2B side, Salesforce has been doing some great Facebook Live interviews - I'm interested to see how they use it during Dreamforce. For B2C, I've seen some fun content from Food 52 and Brit + Co in my feed. Lemonade upgrade anyone?
8. Educational video
Adapt a piece of content (blog post, eBook chapter) for video, and don't worry about it looking too professional. Videos that look "grassroots" are totally fine as long as you're delivering an educational message in a way that's both fun and relevant to your audience. Upload it to your YouTube channel, Facebook, write a blog post around it, and share on social.
Tools like Vidyard and Brightcove will give you more sophisticated metrics and integration options, if you have budget.
Podcasts have had a real resurgence in the last couple years. Podcasts like Serial have helped the format go mainstream and brands like Salesforce and Hubspot have capitalized on this trend.
I happen to like maps a lot in general, so whenever a brand designs a fun map with a great purpose, I love it. I've primarily seen this tactic used around events (conferences, corporate events etc), but it could also help tell a particular story.
Example: Demandbase tailored a map for B2B marketers at SXSW. Really helpful and of course perfect for their target audience.
Business cartoons bring levity to an otherwise dull subject. In the words of Tom Fishburne, The Marketoonist:
"There's something innate in the DNA of cartoons that makes them incredibly shareable. People in the analog world would cut out cartoons and stick them on their fridge or cubicle wall as a way to communicate an issue or a topic that might be difficult to talk about in any other way."
Example: In addition to the Marketoonist, I also want to point out some recent cartoons done by Liz Fosslien for Salesforce that I think are really fun and clever.
I like memes in moderation, but too many can be annoying. Make sure you're being original and tying together something relevant to your business with a pop culture trend.
Example: Okay, I haven't seen that many good ones recently, so including this as an example for now (for us content marketers). I will update if I come across a really good one.