Golfers have a club in their bag for each scenario: a wood to launch a drive a couple hundred yards, or a couple hundred feet for most weekend warriors; some irons and wedges to hit toward the flag from afar or close up; and a putter to just taaaaap it in when on the green.
Content marketers benefit from a similar arsenal of tools made for the occasion. At each stage of the customer journey, a different task or goal exists. When you think about it, working through that funnel is a lot like playing 18. Each hole — nay, each shot — will present a unique challenge: Golfers have to consider the lie, the pin position, the angle, the distance, the wind, and then choose the right club. Each phase of the journey will similarly call upon marketers to leverage their best and most-suited content piece for the job.
Choose the right club and hit the right shot, and good things happen. Choose the right content piece and deliver it at the right touchpoint, and success will come. Let’s take a closer look at how golf clubs and content types compare, as well as what steps marketers can take to card a few eagles — two under par in golf-speak — along the way.
Choose the right club and hit the right shot, and good things happen. Choose the right content piece and deliver it at the right touchpoint, and success will come.
1. 1-Wood / Video
Usually called the driver, since woods are no longer made of wood anymore, the 1-wood is the big gun. It’s the heavy hitter that golfers call upon to uncork massive drives with when they step into the tee box and the green is nowhere in sight.
When content marketers look at the top of the funnel, it’s just as hard for them to see the bottom, the end goal. Walloping a shot with a driver results in a huge step forward, while using video to make a splash with customers can generate a surge in brand recognition. The power of visual imagery is one advantage to using video, as it can make such content attention-grabbing and highly effective. Just like a screaming drive.
2. 3-Hybrid / White Paper
Long irons are notoriously hard to hit with, giving golfers with a long way to the hole few good options. Enter the hybrid, which blends the characteristics of woods and irons, and offers distance and accuracy for those of us who definitely meant to slice into the water hazard — twice.
Need a content piece that can deliver some extra oomph, but can also be pinpointed? Look no further than the white paper. These long content forms usually dive into a specific subject or industry trend and are meant for a specific audience. When there’s plenty of fairway left, a hybrid can supply the heavy lift; when prospects need to be convinced, a white paper can make the desired impact.
3. 7-Iron / Blog Post
The 7-iron is a versatile club that can perform a number of duties. It can be used to tee off on a par 3, to hit from the fairway with about a hundred yards to the green, or to dig out of the rough. Recreational golfers will often swear by their short irons — which feature shorter shafts and more angled club faces — because they’re easy to hit with and control from positions across the course. The blog post is the perfect analogue to the 7-iron. Marketers can use blogs for raising awareness, increasing buyer consideration and even closing the deal.
Short irons can serve multiple functions, and blogs can have varied depths of substance and insight that allow marketers to apply them at different touchpoints. A 101 blog can be used to gain interested eyes, while a long-form industry piece can demonstrate expertise and earn trust with a niche audience.
4. Pitching Wedge / eBook
When within reasonable distance of the pin, all you need to do is lob the ball a bit onto the green. Yet these shots can be achingly difficult to pull off for even the pros. Too much swing and you’ll overshoot, not enough and you’ll just chop the ball forward a couple feet. The pitching wedge, which features a heavily angled club face, is used to loft the ball in such situations.
The key is finesse. In the same way, when the end is in sight for content marketers, they need to deftly navigate the final stretch of the journey. There’s little margin for error at this stage, and an eBook is the exact content type marketers can rely on to serve digestible insights or product information in an engaging manner that nearly completes the nurturing. You don’t want to risk a half-swing or overshot, and an eBook can strike that balance of rich substance and easy comprehension.
5. Putter / Case Study
The short game is an art, and putting is but the brushstrokes across the green’s canvas. Too bad most have the technique of one of those farm animals that learned to paint — no offense to the pigs. The putter is a specialized club requiring high skill, and many golfers tinker with putters of different lengths, weights and head shapes, trying to find that exact club to help them clinch the deal. Putting seems an easy proposition, but depending on the contours of the greens, even the slightest tap can send a ball careening past the hole.
Content marketers need to show prospects that they know the lay of the land in their respective sector, and case studies can help them sink the putt. Testimonials of any kind can impress and influence customers, but the case study is the finisher. Using a case study to show to prospects that you know their challenges and how to solve them is akin to supplying a nudge with a putter that propels the ball toward the hole and a customer toward a decision.
This is hardly an exhaustive list of the different types of golf clubs or content pieces. However, it shows just how much marketers have to consider when deciding which content to leverage when. With this advice, scoring a win and an under-par round becomes a lot more feasible.