Which types of premium content perform best for inbound marketing?

From eBooks to pillar pages, we research which types of premium content for marketing perform the best in this blog post.

Written by Raza Kazi
Inbound marketing |   22 minute read

The whole point of creating content using the inbound methodology is to nurture prospective buyers through their research phase. You start by educating readers about their problem (the awareness stage), then highlight the available solutions (the consideration stage) before revealing the best providers of those solutions (the decision stage).

Obviously, not all content types are the same and you also can’t educate your audience via one blog or article entirely (or you risk them switching off and running to the warm embrace of your competitors). Your written and video content is there to educate readers, build trust and show your industry leaders. That means your content should drive readers to your CTA button where they’ll find the holy grail:

Premium. Content.

best types of premium content for inbound marketing

Premium content tends to be longer, more in-depth pieces than regular blog posts. They offer extra value and solve even more pain points, making them perfect to download and read over time. They're usually packed with ideas which the reader can refer back to during the research process. Although… how do you know which type of premium content actually performs the best?

Now that the latest mission of breaking down one of Gary Vee’s most famous sayings is in the books and having narrowly avoided a restraining order, Digital 22 Founder and Director, Rikki, is chucking me into a pool of data to find out which premium content format works the best. So, before you plan your next campaign and outline the sections of your upcoming premium content piece, make sure to check out our findings on which work better than others. (Choose the data in the list below if you want to jump straight to the numbers).

The different types of premium content

Infographics, eBooks, pillar pages, case studies, webinars, comparison guide - your choices are endless. Obviously, there’s no “wrong” answer as you might find a webinar is what makes perfect sense if you have an expert offering unique insight. Or, a spec sheet is needed to show off features of your product and a case study might not work that well.

Here’s a breakdown of the most popular types of premium content you can create depending on what you’re trying to achieve and their purpose.

Infographics

If you’re trying to distil a complex or educational topic so your audience can understand it easier, infographics are perfect. They display information, content and data in easy-to-understand formats. Just because infographics feature simple wording and short statements, it doesn’t mean they don’t offer great value as a form of premium content.

Combine your infographics with clear, high-quality images and straight-to-the-point statements, you’ll have another way you can communicate your content.  

eBooks

An eBook (or an electronic book) is probably the most common form of premium content around. They’re made for online use and act as in-depth guides for larger topics you can’t always cover in one or two blog posts. Here’s an example of an eBook, ‘Choosing the right HubSpot partner’ which is optimised for reading on several devices.

The reason eBooks are so popular is because they help increase conversions and build credibility. You can even break eBooks down further into sub-categories, such as a ‘meet the team’ piece or even a how-to playbook offering useful tactics to your audience.

Whitepapers

Think of whitepapers as reports that break down complex topics for your readers - and then provide in-depth solutions or maybe even an opinion on the topic. The aim of a whitepaper as a form of premium content is to help break down the complex subject, include details of any findings and other helpful data to explain to readers. 

An example of this can be a ‘state of’ report, which includes factual information, stats, data, surveys, experiment results and more.

working in digital 22 office

Pillar pages

With the way people search changing and algorithms catering to this, topic clusters help readers find what they want more easily. A pillar page is actually the basis on which a topic cluster is built. It covers everything about a topic of your choosing on one page. Although, a common misconception is that pillar pages need to endlessly scroll and feature every bit of info possible.

Nope. Pillar pages as premium content work brilliantly because they’re broad. They’re longer than blog posts but they aren’t as in-depth. They don’t cover every piece of information and instead, offer enough value before linking to the relevant blog posts.

Webinars, videos, podcasts, demos and workshops

Whether they’ll take place in the future or if they’re pre-recorded, webinars, demos and workshops serve a great purpose as premium content. You can present a new product, engage your audience, position yourself as an expert and even generate new leads depending on what you’re trying to achieve.

You can even direct readers to a weekly podcast where you offer even more unique insights or a video library where they can subscribe. If you rely more on visuals than written copy or want to take advantage of audio, then this is a great option to help build authority.

Quizzes

Does your business offer a handful of products and services but want to push the most relevant ones to your readers? Rather than creating separate eBooks for them all and hoping they eventually download one that’s relevant to them, go ahead and create a quiz as your premium content offering. 

Their prompts can help navigate them to the content/answer that is more likely to help them become customers.

Comparison guides

Pretty self-explanatory. Want to highlight the difference in service offerings or show why your products are better than your competitions? Make it skimmable and engaging with a fancy comparison guide.

Case studies

Sometimes, the best way customers will know if you can solve their pain points is by seeing what you’ve done with others in their situation. If you have an impressive history of success with customers, shout about them! Whether you want to badge it as a case study or a client success story, it can often be the little nudge the reader needs to take the next step.

Brochures and catalogues

If you sell physical products, it can be a bit difficult trying to really sell them through written words in an eBook or a summary sheet. Need to show off the fine details of a bespoke bed that takes weeks to craft or reveal the latest range from your footwear line? Your best bet will be to lead readers to download your latest brochure or catalogue to browse the full collection.

Templates

Template packs work great as they’re a more practical offering to readers. They don’t have to read through endless content and as you’ve done most of the heavy-lifting in terms of designing the templates up, they can get right to work. In some cases (if you feel like playing the long/riskier game), you can even create templates to showcase why templates don’t work and why your solution is better. 

It’s a win-win, either they download the templates and stick around because they’re happy with it or they realise templates don’t cut it anymore and need a solution to help them out more. That’s where you come in.

Cheatsheets, summary sheets and checklists

Not every premium content piece needs to be 20 pages to offer value. If you have any tips or tactics you want to share with readers or want to share any results, then promising them value in the form of a one-page summary sheet or a simple checklist can be the incentive they need to download and read. If they know they’ll gain knowledge in a short document rather than something extensive when they don’t have time, they might be more inclined to check it out.

Pricing guides

This obviously depends on where the reader is in their individual buyer’s journey, but they’ll want to check your prices out at some point if they’re still interested in what you have to offer. Rather than going in circles with endless eBooks and case studies, offer your prices in an easy-to-follow guide, especially if readers are ready to take the plunge.

Calculators 

Although you’ll probably need to rope your developers in for this one, a calculator can be a great way to help readers work out if they can afford certain services or products. Let’s say you offered a tiered service which requires a fair bit of number crunching. Rather than letting visitors go away and work it out themselves (by which point they could forget and focus on something else), creating something like a budget calculator could be the simple yet effective premium offering they need at that time.

Prospectuses

Again, this is quite specific depending on your industry but if you’re a university or a college, for example, then nothing will offer more value than a prospectus. If you do all the hard work about selling the country and city, then it makes complete sense to tie it all together and offer this type of premium content.

You don’t need to limit yourselves to the ones listed above. If your business needs are different and you want to go completely left-field, then go for it. As long as it offers value to readers and doesn’t waste their time, create something that does give more than your usual, go-to content.

Now you know the types of premium content typically created, here’s a quick rundown of when and how to use them.

When and how to use premium content

You can’t push premium content without giving enough surface-level information to readers. Have you touched on some pain points and educated prospects at a top-level about a certain topic? Great. That’s when you introduce premium content; when you know you readers need something more in-depth to sticking with your business and making a buying decision.

The type of premium content you offer also depends on the buyer’s journey. For example, an eBook would be perfect for the awareness stage where you help prospects understand the true scope of the problems they’re now aware they have. 

If I fast forward to the decision stage, that eBook wouldn’t work well because the reader is way beyond that phase now. Instead, a case study would be ideal as it’s sort of ‘closing the deal’ by highlighting how others enjoyed their experience with you. 

The way you use premium content, however, is entirely up to you. Some prefer keeping all premium offerings ungated while others firmly believe it should be gated (valuable enough for leads to exchange some information to obtain it, like an email address). 

In most cases, a reader hits the CTA button, fills in the form on a landing page then gets access to the premium content on offer. If they can download it, that’s even better as they can read your content on-the-go.

That’s a quick, basic understanding of when and how you can use premium content in your strategy. Now, here’s what I found when I jumped head-first into the HubSpot portals and was met with heaps of juicy data.

Premium content: the data

Now for the battle you’ve been waiting for - finding out which type of premium content performs the best for marketing. To measure this, I jumped into HubSpot and considering I’m a word guy and not a numbers guy, the first challenge was trying to navigate through all the data and try to make complete sense of it all which made me feel a little bit like: 

premium content data

In the end, the best metrics to work out the success of each premium content offering was the landing page conversion rate (just how appealing is the format itself?) and also the submission to customer rate. This metric looks at how many became a customer by submitting their details and therefore how many customers we can attribute to the specific premium content piece.

Side notes

  1. The data highlighted is correct as of 28 August 2020, so there’s every chance the figures will continue to increase. For example, some downloads have been live for years while others have been published as recently as this month.
  2. Remember, this is all done using the inbound methodology so it can take a while for these premium content pieces to gain traction. While some figures might seem low now, there’s every chance they could explode in the next six-nine months.
  3. Not every reader will check out the premium content offering. Depending on where they are in the buyer’s journey, you might end up doing such a good job with your regular content, they pick up the phone and get in touch or buy from you straight away. It all depends on what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at.
  4. Although I’ve collated the figures for every type of premium content, I’ll only share the most notable ones and group them together, rather than boring you with the same figures.
  5. Not every sales cycle is the same.
  6. Finally, we’ve also created more eBooks than other download types (possibly combined), so it can skew the data slightly.

To help break it down, I’ve placed the premium content types into three categories.

  • Most effective: The stats show premium content in this category is a proven success.
  • Hit and miss: The stats show premium content in this category results in some success but not always.

  • Least effective: The stats show premium content in this category doesn't get a lot of success and can’t be attributed to winning customers.

premium content ranking

Most effective

While I was scouring through all of the data, I noticed that from all of the downloads we’ve written, three types of premium content stand out the most. 

One-pagers/summary sheets, catalogues/brochures and templates.

My initial assumption was that readers are more prone to become customers when they receive a well-detailed, multi-page guide that’s thoroughly researched and takes a while to finish. That’s mainly because it’s probably a good way of showcasing you’re an expert and highlights just how much research has gone into it.

Although it depends on the context, I found that summary pieces that are straight to the point and actionable while still offering value tend to perform better than hefty guides that take a while to read through.

Summary sheets/cheatsheets/one-pagers

Obviously, not every single download is going to get tens or hundreds of customers. In fact, the submission rate is a valuable metric as it highlights just how much interest there is in that type of download. In reality, two of the most successful types of premium content came in the form of a summary sheet (with 735 submissions and 21 customers) while a checklist saw an incredible 898 submissions and then 42 customers.

hubspot stats

hubspot stats

In comparison to other types of premium content we’ve created, the summary sheet and checklist weren’t really content-heavy. It featured enough copy to provide some context, but nothing drastic which required a lot of scrolling or anything where the reader would have to dedicate a lot of valuable time to get through them.

Summary sheets, one-pagers and checklists don’t just work in the decision stage of the buyer’s journey either. If it’s early on, receiving 326 submissions for a simple checklist way before the reader has even chosen any alternatives to what’s being offered or even a skimmable, straight-to-the-point cheatsheet which received 324 submissions.

hubspot stats

digital 22 tactics cheatsheet lp

However, short one-pagers and summary sheets won’t always have the same constant success because it depends on what you’re offering. Educational pieces, as you can see, do really well but that doesn’t mean a pricing page, for example, will always reach those same heights. We’ve created a couple of short pricing guides too, but it just depends on where the readers are at in their individual journey.

pricing guide

d22 pricing statsTwo other standout examples which show how one-pagers/summary sheets work really well saw incredibly high submission figures with 1,109 submissions on one while the other has received 6,477 (and counting). 

premium content data

Despite not getting any customers through that, it still shows how smaller, digestible premium content that doesn’t waffle and gets to the point works well.

hubspot statsThe reason these two also stand out despite no customers being attributed to these one-pagers is because they’re super early in the buyer’s journey - as highlighted previously. The readers that download these types of premium content are not even close to needing the products or services on offer. If anything, pushing the services and products here would have scared them off. Instead, they’re available simply to educate readers.

When all of those people need more assistance and knowledge, who do you think they’re going to come to?

This shows you don’t always need to create endless pages of content for the sake of it to make it feel like it’s ‘premium’. The quantity doesn’t dictate how premium it is, but what does is if what you’ve covered offers enough value without wasting any unnecessary time. When you plan your next premium content piece and feel like you can provide knowledge in a one-page summary sheet, go for it.

Over time, see how it plays out and compare the data against the detailed eBooks you created in the past.

Catalogues and brochures

In the next phase of my research, I noticed the stats were great for catalogues and brochures. This might not be a suitable option for everyone because, well, not everyone needs to showcase products in a catalogue or brochure. The other thing with catalogues and brochures is, while the checklists and summary sheets mentioned earlier were at the early stages of the buyer’s journey, these brochures and catalogues are obviously at the decision stage.

That means when a reader is ready to check out your prices, not just receive education, they’ll see how much your offerings are worth. When used at the right stage, the results can be pretty spectacular. For example, take a look at two of the catalogues below, both of which received over 1,000 submissions each and a combined total of 80-ish customers via these catalogues.

premium content stats

premium content data

Those figures have been steadily increasing for a while, especially since both have been live for quite some time. Another brochure which was published more recently compared to the previous two is also off to a really good start, already achieving over 245 submissions and three customers. If Rikki decides to sign me up to this mission again in a few months, it’ll be interesting to see what the figures look like as it continues to gain traction.

revival beds premium contentUsing catalogues and brochures as your premium content is fairly self-explanatory. If you have a visual product you need to sell, don’t waste its potential by just using copy entirely. The ones I analysed were image-heavy with some supporting text - enough to encourage a sale or at least pique further interest.

While it wouldn’t work for software or a service, this type of premium content works best in your marketing efforts if you’re trying to have your readers buy a physical product from you. If you do fall into the latter category, try a brochure or catalogue and analyse your results over time compared to previous content types you’ve created to see which one performs the best. 

Oh, and it’s an added bonus if you can complement your physical brochures with digital ones to cover both bases. The last catalogue mentioned was actually just the digital version, so imagine what the results could look like with both figures combined.

Templates

The final type of premium content you need to look into are templates. Although I was toying with the idea of demoting them down into the hit and miss category because there have been cases where the stats weren’t impressive, I think there’s a lot of potential with them.

The main reason is education, which means they can work at pretty much any stage of the buyer’s journey. They’re also not too sales-focused and right off the bat, readers know they’re getting something actionable they can utilise and benefit from, rather than reading even more content.

hubspot statspremium content statspremium content datapremium content data hubspothubspot data

Although some templates have performed better than others, they’re great from a submission perspective. While they’ve gained a handful of customers since the templates went live, you could argue their sole purpose isn’t to have readers immediately get in touch and work with you compared to other download types.

Let’s look at an eBook for example. You might outline the problems a reader is facing, offer solutions and then highlight how your business can help. The reader can either get in touch or stay within your content ecosystem for more education until they’re ready to talk to you.

Templates don’t necessarily work in the same way. The reader has come to you to solve their problem and in that moment, the solution is the template itself. So if you don’t get a bucketload of customers right away but receive a ton of submissions, that’s still a good sign. It shows people want to utilise your templates. Just be sure to continue pushing out content and tackling their pain points so they come back to you or keep you in mind.

Hit and miss

Quite a few types of premium content fall into the hit and miss category. Appearing here doesn’t mean they’re necessarily terrible choices. Or that you should never do them again as part of your marketing strategy because Raza from Digital 22 told you not to (don’t throw me under the bus like that) - it just means when I was analysing the data, some of them worked at times while others, not so much. 

You could actually argue that it’s genuinely a toss-up between one working and the other failing to get off the starting block. Surprisingly, the biggest culprit might actually be eBooks.

eBooks

Remember at the start of this section when I said we’ve created more eBooks than any other type of premium content? This is where it becomes relevant. One of the biggest reasons why eBooks are hit and miss is because although they might get high submission rates, it’s rare that they bring in any customers.

Why? They’re pretty freakin’ long to read.

Not every reader wants to read through a blog post, only to find the premium content you’re offering is now an extensive 50-pager. Today, not everyone has the time to read through chunky guides like that, regardless of how much value you’re giving. To give some context and to be completely transparent, we can attribute 34 customers through the creation of eBooks. 

That’s great. But that figure probably wouldn’t seem as impressive when you consider it took just under 80 eBooks to get there. And even more so when one checklist I mentioned in the ‘most effective’ section gained more customers through that alone compared to nearly 80 eBook efforts.

That’s not a knock on the content within the eBooks - far from it. In fact, I found some amazing stats for some eBooks, such as an eBook set out as a user manual gaining 16 customers through it following nearly 330 submissions. While another is nearing 2,000 submissions yet we can only attribute one customer against it for now.

hubspot data

hubspot data

I’d suggest during your premium content planning phase, decide how you’d angle your eBook if that’s the route you’ll go down. The stats I dug my way through showed that ordinary eBooks with no real hook or angle don’t really do anything special. Instead, think of a more unique way you can create an eBook but sell it differently.

For example, create an eBook but sell it as a user manual if you need to explain how to use your product. Or if it’s a more educational piece where you want to offer tactics and tips, how about a playbook? You can even angle it as a prospectus (if it’s related to your industry) One of the eBooks we created went down the playbook route and the landing page complemented it by selling the unique angle. Although it’s still fairly recent, it’s achieved 84 submissions and four customers so far.

experiential stats

Then with a prospectus angle, an eBook achieved nearly 2,500 submissions and 19 customers.

ebook statsAnother reason why eBooks fit with the hit and miss category is because the majority of eBooks tend to perform really well from a submission perspective, but it’s 50/50 from a customer perspective. So, people are submitting because they like the sound of what’s on offer. When they get the eBook, they just don’t have the time to get through it.

Based on what I found to this point, it’s safe to say that smaller content is fully read, which is why smaller, digestible and quick-to-read premium content influences the same more. With the eBook situation, they’re more in-depth, longer but they aren’t fully read which means they don’t influence the sale as much.

Infographics

Infographics not being higher up might come as a surprise to many, especially since they aren’t text-heavy and instead rely on visuals and shorter, more impactful copy to leave an impression. Based on the data, it seems as if infographics do appeal to audiences, but don’t seem to influence sales as much.

Sure, it’s something worth revisiting once we create even more infographics. The data could change entirely and I might find out that infographics are actually one of the best types of content to create. In this instance, though, they were a ‘miss’ from the customer attribution perspective.

infographic stats

infographic data

hubspot data

hubspot infographic

As you can see in the stats above, the majority are ticking along nicely as the submissions continue to increase (remember, inbound is a long game) but none have become customers through these infographics - yet.

Pillar pages

Another type of premium content which falls in the hit and miss category are pillar pages. I won’t lie, this one hurt a little as I love me a good pillar page and still firmly believe they have a lot of potential when done right. Although they’re similar to eBooks in terms of success rate and also tend to perform well from a submission perspective, but they’re not always contributing to readers eventually becoming customers.

Like eBooks, it’s most likely because pillar pages are lengthy reads depending on the core topic chosen. Although they’re not designed to be super long and should link to blogs that go into more depth, the word count can add up and it’s unlikely someone will sit there and read it all in one sitting.

Don’t let it put you off from creating pillar pages entirely, though. They’re great for SEO and to help establish your business as experts, but don’t rely solely on this type of premium content all the time moving forward. Although we can attribute a couple of customers to pillar pages and are great for submission rates, the stats show pillar pages aren’t always a winner when it comes to winning customers.

pillar page statspillar page hubspotinbound pillar pagepillar page hubspot

It seems to be a similar trend for anything long-form, like eBooks. Although a pillar page might be packed full of value, it’s unlikely they’ll be read in full so don’t influence sales compared to something short, snappy and full of value. As attention spans are decreasing anyway, it’s perhaps a little counterintuitive to have readers go through several blogs - and then a pillar page that never seems to end.

Case studies

It’s probably a common theme by now but again, case studies can work depending on the context in which you use them and also the format. The fact is, case studies won’t be the best type of content to offer in the earlier stages of the buyer’s journey - they’re perfect for when readers are at the decision stage.

However, the reason case studies are more hit and miss as opposed to ineffective is because of the formats of our case studies and also the volume of case studies created. Although we’ve created plenty of case studies, we’ve only gated a handful and kept them as a premium offering, rather than something people can read for free without handing over their details.

Who knows, maybe if we created as many case studies as we have eBooks then the data could be completely different? Take a look at the stats below. Sure, they’re doing alright from a submission perspective but not from the customer perspective. A case study’s purpose is to help readers understand how you’ve helped others in their situation so it can be the last piece of premium content they need to read before reaching out to you. At the minute, that hasn’t been the case so the case studies aren’t fulfilling their purpose entirely.

case study stathubspot datahubspot statscase studyd22 case studyWhen I took a deeper look at the case studies, I also noticed the formats of the case studies could be harming their chances of success. So far, it’s obvious the theme is shorter guides tend to perform better than longer pieces. The existing case studies are quite text-heavy and require multiple pages to tell the full story. This could suggest not everyone is reading the entire case study which, again, goes against its purpose.

In future case studies you create or even if we go and optimise our case studies, a good test to try out is shortening the case studies; making them shorter and snappier and telling the full story in a more succinct guide than something more extensive.

Webinars

Webinars tend to fall into two categories when used as a CTA which means their success rates can differ depending on what’s being promised.

  1. A reader fills out a landing page to sign up and save a seat at the live webinar.
  2. A reader fills out a landing page to receive a pre-recorded webinar.

Webinars are perhaps up there as the most hit and miss types of premium content alongside eBooks because of the variations and how unpredictable they are. For example, if you did a good job of selling your webinar as an unmissable event earlier this year, chances are you saw amazing success rates because plenty of businesses need advice on how to navigate through the challenging times brought to us by COVID-19.

We’ve seen mixed results through using webinars as premium content as a lot of factors come into play. For example, saving a seat doesn’t guarantee someone will attend the live webinar. On the other hand, someone might not watch the pre-recorded webinar in full because it’s easily accessible and “they’ll get back to it at some point.” 

Before you know it, it’s forgotten about or they’ve found something else that’s valuable. Here are some webinar figures when we used it as a form of premium content.

webinar statswebinar datawebinarwebinar statsLike many other content types, don’t let these figures put you off entirely. In your industry, webinars might be just what you need and exactly what your audience craves. If you’re very demo-focused, you’re more likely to see regular webinar success. For others, they’re easily a proven hit from a submission perspective, but your contacts might need something a little extra from your content efforts to help them become customers.

Least effective

Now we reach the final three types of premium content that haven’t quite hit the mark compared to others. There could be several reasons for this: it might not appeal or apply to the readers, the format could be off or the content type hasn’t been created enough times to get more actionable data.

Quizzes

Either way, quizzes struggle to make a big impact compared to some other premium content types I dissected. Granted, we’ve only created a couple of quizzes in comparison to eBooks or short summary pages. As you’ll see below, both quizzes that are currently live have no submissions or customers, even though it’s quite an effortless piece of content to navigate through.

This type of premium content is another worth revisiting at a later stage, especially since it’s one of the newer ones we’ve created compared to the more ‘traditional’ content types. Its success might also depend on several factors, such as:

  1. Readers might not want to sit there and complete it ‘in the moment’ compared to content they can download and read whenever they choose.
  2. They might not have the relevant information on hand to answer the questions the quiz asks.
  3. They don’t think the answer/outcome applies to them so go elsewhere.

It could be anything. Quizzes are great shout if you have multiple products or solutions and you want your audience to complete the quiz so they find the one most relevant to them. But if they’re not ready for finding a solution just yet or don’t think the quiz offered the right one, the quiz might not influence the sale as much as another content piece might.

quiz stats

I think it has untapped potential for sure, but for now, it doesn’t quite hit the mark.

Calculators

Falling right to the bottom of the pile are calculators. Again, we haven’t gone crazy in terms of producing calculators as a form of premium content, but the ones we have made haven’t really provided a lightbulb moment which suggests ‘we need to do more of this!’.

calculator

calculatorThe figures don’t make for exciting viewing and you could argue they’re almost identical to quizzes, because to get the most value from them, your audience needs to have all of the relevant information on hand. If they don’t have their figures to put in the calculator, who knows when they’ll come back to use it?

Two quizzes that have been live for almost a year have yet to hit 20 submissions without contributing to a single sale. When you compare the stats between quizzes and calculators to other types of premium content, there’s a clear divide on which our audience prefers.

It’s also a case of whether the effort is worth the - lack of - rewards. All of the other content types are quite straightforward to create as you only need a platform to write and a designer to make it look snazzy before placing it behind a landing page. When it comes to quizzes and calculators, you have to consider the use of specialist software or bringing in your developers to help out.

When you consider the effort that goes into every type of premium download, the ones that don't require the use of specialist software/annoying your developer to take time out of their day to help you out seem to perform the best.

The winners and losers

After analysing the data and reading through nearly 170 content pieces, it’s fair to say the type of premium content that performs the best for marketing are the summary sheets/one-pagers/cheatsheets.

These short, snappy guides don’t just prove readers are interested in them because of their impressive submission figures, but they also influence the most sales. This seems to be the case because they get value in a much shorter time than they would compared to dedicating a big chunk of their day to reading through longer content and trying to find something which helps them the most.

In the runner-up spot, it’s templates. I believe templates are a type of premium content which readers value. It’s minimal effort for them and it’s a lot more actionable because the templates are what help the readers out at the time and they can use them right away. They don’t have to read through endless content to begin using them either. They’re clearly interested based on the submission data so it’s a format that does appeal to audiences.

From a loser’s perspective, it would probably be a little unfair to just give this unwanted award to quizzes and calculators. Although they’re proven to not be that effective, we’d have a clearer picture when more have been created and revisit a little later down the line. I’d actually say eBooks are the big losers here.

Obviously, it can differ. Some will be huge hits while others will flop. This is based on volume more than anything as I was assuming the customer statistics would be much higher, especially for those that have been live for quite some time now. Again, after reading so much content before downloading the eBook, it seems a bit counterintuitive to then have them read another chunky guide when they might not have the time or brain space to do so.

As I mentioned earlier, it also depends on how you angle the eBook as some tend to perform better than others. You could also split your eBook into shorter summary guides as a test to see how they perform as smaller pieces of content. Play around with variations and over time, see which one brings you success in your industry.

At this point, it would probably be a bit silly/super hypocritical of me to shove another eBook your way so I won’t do that. If you’re new to inbound marketing, though, then I have just the thing to help you get started which won’t have you sat around for hours reading another chunky guide.

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