Let me guess.
You want to improve your marketing game on this digital highway called content marketing.
You've read everything you can find, from creating an exceptional content strategy to executing and distributing it. After all, these marketing gurus have promised you traffic, leads, and sales if you follow the strategies—a lot, to be precise.
But what is this content, content, content, everyone is talking about? Where do you start, and how do you know what works ( and doesn't), especially when each dollar counts?
You start right here.
Just pull up and idle a while, while I take you through the different types of content and how they work.
At first, they can be overwhelming, especially when you try to use all of them at once.
But relax; you don't have to implement all of them in your strategy.
You can choose the ones you feel will work best for you-- unless you have a considerable amount of budget and your audience is likely found on all these channels. Which, in my view, is unlikely.
Why Should You Use Different Types of Content
When most people think of content marketing, the first thought that hits their mind is blogging.
Well, blogging is great, and that's how I built most of the audience on this website, but it's just a piece of the whole pie.
The truth is that there are many other content formats, and they are growing by the numbers daily.
For instance, a prospect might not read a blog you recently wrote but might listen to your podcast on their way home.
But, some things don't just work.
Would you prefer to learn dancing by watching a video or reading an article?
That's the catch. Know where you're likely to find your audience and focus on that.
Varying these content formats is essential, but it doesn't have to be an ordeal.
In this blog, I'm going to show you the different types of content, and from that, you can figure out what will work best for you.
Ready? Let's get in.
Blogging has been around for almost as long as the internet.
The good thing with blogs is that they're shareable, help you build authority, drive conversions, and are easily found by search engines.
However, blogs' best practices have changed over the years to become a sophisticated endeavor, especially for businesses that seek to engage their audiences.
For your blogs to stay afloat in the search engines and get your audience's attention, they have to be relevant, high-quality, valuable, useful, and engaging.
Remember your competitors are looking for the same prospects you're looking for. So stand out.
There are many types of blogs today, and you can classify them into long-form and short-form articles. They're further divided into:
Blogging is a regular practice, and you should post fresh, original, and high-quality content frequently. In every post, ensure you include a CTA, link to external sources where your readers can find more information, and also link back to your blogs to help your readers discover more about you.
Besides, incorporate some SEO (Search Engine Optimization) on them, like using relevant keywords, to make sure they are found and indexed by Google.
Whitepapers are long-form content, usually 3000- 5000 words, and are effective if you want to prove subject matter expertise. You can offer them on your website as free digital downloads or post them as pdfs on your website to improve SEO.
Whitepapers offer an in-depth explanation of a certain topic and usually contain a lot of data and statistics to back claims.
You can use them when you want to establish yourself as a thought leader.
However, whitepapers are more expensive and time-consuming to create but are really worthwhile in the long run.
Pro tip: Create a whitepaper around your most read and popular blog and offer this as a free resource content upgrade of those blog posts.
An eBook, short form for an electronic book, is a book publication that's made available on a digital platform.
They can be anywhere from five to thirty pages-- but they offer immense value to their readers.
They are often offered as free downloadable resources on websites for premium subscribers only or published on Amazon to establish a brand's authority.
Most of the books I've read focus too much on their products rather than focusing on how they can help their readers.
You should aim at giving your audience value on how they can solve their problems without necessarily hard-selling them on any of your products regardless of how much they can solve their problems.
Let your service or product occupy just about 5% of the eBook, and let the rest be useful.
5%, yet it cost me over $1000 to create one so I should promote my product too?
I understand that, but that's why it's a form of content. Not an ad.
Pro tip: Create an eBook on a topic you know matters a lot to your audience. Offer this eBook for free by asking for your prospects' emails, and then use these emails for targeted marketing of your product and services.
4. Email Newsletters
If your business has consistent updates, releases, or information to share with subscribers, then email marketing is a surefire way to deliver digital content right to your audiences' inbox.
Email has a better ROI than all other forms of content marketing used by both B2B and B2C organizations.
Emails are usually short, concise, and to the point, making them relatively easy and faster to create.
The most important thing you need to consider is the subject line to ensure your emails get read and don't end up in the spam folders of your prospects.
5. Customer Success Stories and Case Studies
We are more likely to buy something from a company after seeing that the product helped solve a problem that we're experiencing. It's our nature.
Case studies help you prove and back up your marketing claims with previous stories of success.
In fact, about 87% of consumers rely on reviews before making any purchase. They are particularly helpful for conversion rate optimization and play a vital role in convincing clients to try out your product.
Pro tip: Use case studies when you want to prove your solutions work, and highlight how your product helped solve the specific pain points for each case. Place testimonials on the front page of your website, and accompany them with case studies to further explain and clarify these teasers.
6. Website Content
Web content is the textual, visual, or aural content published on your website and forms a great part of the user's experience.
Take it as the meat of your website and the first content your client interacts with when they visit a certain page of your website.
As the main key towards traffic generation, you should create and organize it into categories for easy navigation for a successful website. Also, optimize it for search engines by using keywords to make it easy to find on Google.
7. User Guide and Manuals
User guides help the bottom-of-funnel prospects understand how your product is and why they should consider you as their go-to solution. They are good for SEO since they feature less competitive keywords.
Pro tip: Publish detailed manuals that avoid salesmanship and a lot of jargon to make them understandable to your prospects. The best way to go about this is by finding someone who approaches your product as a client would, rather than someone who's used the product before to simplify the concepts.
8. Press Releases
Press releases are written communication that reports specific, but brief communications about a certain event, product launch or circumstances.
It should be as short, succinct, and informative as possible-- ideally not longer than one page.
Take it more of a summarized announcement of something you want to promote to your audience. It can be a new product, vital news or people to contact. So take them more of how you’d pitch a new service to your audience while making it short and sweet.
Text-based formats play a vital role in content marketing, but that's not all there is.
Embracing other forms like visual content will help your brand stand out and bring huge benefits when you get it right.
Considering that at least 75 million people in the US watch online videos every day, and 95% of viewers retain a message after watching a video, missing out on this opportunity is costly for any marketer.
Those are some really good numbers up there.
Videos, any videos, engage audiences, drive traffic, convert and increase shares and comments. The key to tapping into this powerhouse is providing valuable and useful content in a short period to your audience.
Covid 19 changed many things, and here's the deal, webinars are here to stay.
In fact, as far as marketing is concerned, their importance is going to increase rather than dwindle.
Latest studies show that 64% of buyers are opting to self-educate, which translates to 56% of the sales cycle being complete by the time they're getting to the phone.
And how are they self-educating? You guessed that right.
Webinars not only keep your audience engaged, but they help them voice their opinions, chat with you, ask questions, and even answer questions. They also build a two-way trust creating a high sales potential.
The good thing with infographics is that they provide and convey a lot of visual information and data in a relatively small amount of space.
With the right selection of color, proportion, and negative space, you can provide memorable, attention-grabbing, and persuasive information in an easy and digestible way to your audience.
The most important thing to remember when creating infographics is that it's more of an art than just curation.
So keep them clean, decluttered, and organized. Utilize a lot of negative space, break up text and use complementary colors to make it visually appealing to retain interest.
Interactive content works better than other forms of content because it's more engaging and immersive.
It allows your audience to compete, test, compare themselves, consume information faster and act.
12. Contests and Quizzes
People love challenges, especially if there are valuable prizes in the end.
Contests increase your brand's engagement, arouse your audience's interest and help increase user-generated content.
Did you know that 96% of consumers that start Buzzfeed contests finish them? Now compare that to the percentage of people that read all your blogs to the very end.
13. Polls and Surveys
87% of survey-takers want to have a say in a company's future products and services. This shows you how important polls and surveys are.
They are a great way to collect audience insights. Besides, they're quick to read and almost impossible to ignore.
There you have it.
Content comes in many forms. All you need to do is understand where you can find your audience and use these channels to provide high-quality content that's valuable to them.
However, understanding the types of content is only half the journey. The other half lies in understanding each contents' best practices for the highest engagement and ROI.
So what kind of content will you be creating next?
If it's any text-based content and you need some help with its curation, feel free to reach out to me, and I'll be more than willing to assist.