Brenda Peterson
Brenda Peterson
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Content marketing is becoming one of the most popular ways to attract customers and increase sales for all kinds of businesses. It appears that 89% of B2B marketers and 86% of B2C marketers are actively using content as the essential tool for their promotion strategies. Surprising? Not really. According to the recent surveys, 82% of people actually enjoy consuming content from companies and 73% of buyers prefer to get acquainted with brands namely through articles rather than ads.

Content marketing allows companies to achieve several goals at once:

  • Engage prospective customers;
  • Keep customers’ attention;
  • Generate leads;
  • Improve brand loyalty;
  • Enhance SEO;
  • Drive traffic to blogs and company websites;
  • Increase direct sales.

What is more, content marketing is incredibly cost-effective, about 62% cheaper as opposed to traditional marketing techniques, and is capable of generating three times more leads as per dollar spent. Impressive, isn’t it?

But why do only 30% of marketers consider their efforts in this direction effective? Many of them make a grave mistake considering that content marketing comes down to blogging. While blogging is indeed very important, there are many other types of content that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Employing different content types is extremely useful for promotional purposes as it allows you to increase the engagement level and cater for various audience groups. Sticking to a single type of content might work for some businesses, but only through trying multiple approaches you can expect the results to be satisfactory.

So what types of content are there? Are all of them equally effective? And which content types should you include in your own content marketing strategy? Let’s find out together!

  1. Blogs

Blogging has become one of the most popular types of content these days. Blogs are sprouting up like mushrooms all over the web and their topics are as diverse as their authors.

Blogging has started out as a way to keep a personal online diary and evolved into a standalone genre used by both individuals and companies alike.

Starting a blog is a great way to drive traffic to your website, improve SEO, and increase your overall online visibility. However, to be effective, blogging must be regular. The more often you post, the higher engagement you create and the more noticeable your content becomes for search engines.

Here are our tips for starting a successful blog.

screen of computer

  1. Articles

Publishing interesting and useful articles, you can attract more readers to your website and raise awareness about your brand, products or services. You can broach all kinds of issues in your articles and share any information you find relevant to your potential audience.

Articles can either educate or entertain your readers, or both. There are no specific requirements for their length and form so you have plenty of freedom to adjust the format to the topic in focus or the preferences of your audience.

It is a good idea to introduce a certain number of keywords in your articles to optimize them for search engines. And don’t forget about catchy headlines to sparkle readers’ curiosity!

  1. News

Pretty much like articles, news can make a brand known to a wider audience by improving SEO and website rankings. Posting news is a perfect opportunity to deliver regular content, and since the frequency of adding new and relevant information is one of the criteria taken into account by Google while ranking websites, there’s no reason not to include news into your content marketing strategy.

Moreover, news are among the content types that shouldn’t be too long or take too much time to create. But they always keep customers updated about the company’s latest activities, developments, and releases. This helps to strengthen the relationships between the brand and its clients, create more engagement, and increase the company’s reputation.

interview

  1. Guides

A guide is a relatively long piece of content that gives a detailed explanation of how to do things. It is usually larger than a regular blog post, contains more valuable information, and has a better visual organization.

Creating a guide takes a great deal of knowledge and expertise. It also requires considerable time investments and skills in arranging information in a logical, consistent, and visually appealing way.

Guides are often made in PDF and are distributed as downloads which makes them amazing lead magnets. For example, if you are a photographer, offer a comprehensive guide for beginners on making professional shots in exchange for registering on your website. This can help you obtain lots of email contacts for your further marketing efforts.

  1. Reviews

While markets are bursting with products, services, and brands, reviews are among the most popular content types nowadays. They draw the attention of millions of people and are capable of driving a lot of traffic.

The popularity of reviews is based on our inherent inclination to believe opinions. Naturally, you will be more likely to believe a person who has already tried a product rather than an advertisement from the manufacturer.

Good news is that you can review basically anything you want: gadgets, books, video games, movies, restaurants, software, etc. What is more, reviewing different things not only can help you increase traffic, but also earn some real money since many companies are ready to pay handsomely for well-written reviews of their products.

  1. Opinion Posts

Opinion posts, or ‘rants’ as a more informal term goes, are somewhat similar to blog posts but are usually much more emotional and subjective. The idea behind is to offer your own vision of an event or issue.

You are free to express opinions on anything you find relevant for your readers. The more expressive and opinionated your standpoint is, the more resonance it is likely to cause.

Opinion posts have a potential to go viral. They are eagerly read and shared in social media which makes them great for generating traffic. However, it is important to make sure you’re not crossing the line in attempts to draw public attention. It’s okay to be controversial but offending other people’s opinions must be avoided at all costs. Otherwise, your post can have a totally opposite effect and damage your reputation.

opinion

  1. How-to Posts

How-to posts are similar to the aforementioned guides but are more informal and flexible in form. However, at its core, a how-to post is still an article describing how to do something. It can either be in a form of a step-by-step instruction or a list of useful tips. The essential idea is to help readers solve a problem.

It is reported that the most popular types of content in the B2B segment are those suggesting a formula for success, scoring a 97% citing rate. In this sense, how-to posts are perfect for improving SEO.

The more detailed and insightful your post is, the better. Supplementary images, photos, diagrams, videos and other materials are only welcomed as they help readers to understand the subject better and at the same time make your article more visually appealing. Adding a few links and references will be a valuable addition too as they increase your credibility.

  1. Lists

Among the other overwhelmingly popular types of content, lists hold a very special place. For some reason, people tend to love numbered text snippets. And you actually can’t blame them. Lists allow you to organize the whole mass of information into easily digestible chunks and convey your idea more effectively.

In fact, even now you are reading nothing else but a list – the list of the most widely used content types. Truth be told, some topics are simply meant to be covered in the form of a list. Besides, sometimes it makes sense to fall back on lists when you need to present ideas subsequently, and make it visually distinctive, or put them in order according to the level of importance – lists are great for all purposes.

  1. Interviews

If growing yourself a reputation and getting a traffic boost is what you’re after, conducting interviews with industry leaders and experts is your best solution. Interviews attract much attention online and can bring a lot of new readers to your website. Furthermore, interviews are exclusive, so they make a great source of absolutely unique content.

The difficulty here lies in getting in touch with influential people in your niche and convincing them to sacrifice their time and answer your questions.

In case you conducted a video or audio interview, you should consider writing a transcript. This will cater to the audience that prefers reading to watching and contribute to SEO.

  1. Case Studies

Case studies are basically the most remarkable examples of solving problematic issues. You can either use them to describe how your solutions work on typical (or nontypical) problems encountered by your readers or to provide a vivid example of how your products or services helped people in real-life conditions.

It is reported that case studies are becoming increasingly popular among buyers: 78% of them access this type of content while researching their purchases.

Most often, case studies follow a standard pattern: case summary, review of the problem and solution hypothesis, a detailed description of the solution, an overview of the achieved results and their importance.

list and pencil

  1. Research Reports

In the modern world, where accurate data holds a key to success in almost every industry, precise numbers, metrics, and statistics are hugely valued.

If you possess enough skills and resources to conduct a comprehensive research, sharing its results with your readers can lead to a serious traffic boost. Not only do research reports draw much attention online, but are also very shareable. If your research is relevant and provides truly valuable data, you will be frequently referred to and find links to your site on many other web resources. This is great both for your online rankings and reputation.

Quality research data can help you establish yourself as an authority within your industry, but obtaining it is often difficult, time-consuming, and expensive.

  1. Longreads

As its name indicates, longread is a considerably large piece of content (2000+ words) that offers an exhaustive insight into a subject matter. Longreads can cover all kinds of topics. They are often supplemented with images, videos, and infographics helping to get an in-depth understanding of an issue in focus.

Longreads usually consist of several logical parts and include lists, case studies, research data, statistics, and lots of references. There are also certain standards and requirements for the style and visual presentation, but they vary depending on the topic and niche you’re in.

Longreads attract lots of traffic and are great for SEO – long-form content is mostly favored by search engines like Google. However, writing them requires lots of competence and time investments.

  1. White Papers

A white paper is an information-rich document that describes a solution to a relevant problem and offers lots of supplementary data needed for a better understanding of the subject.

White papers are usually distributed as downloads in PDF. They must be well-structured and have an appealing visual design. A white paper typically consists of several logical parts including an introduction, problem overview, solution explanation, review of desired results and advantages of the solution, etc.

This type of content can help establish your brand as an industry leader, increase sales, and generate leads. However, white papers are usually quite long and take a lot of time and efforts to write.

  1. Ebooks

Writing an ebook might be a challenge indeed. But if your book is any good and offers effective solutions, the results you’ll achieve with it will be worth your while. Ebooks are usually available in PDF (HTML versions are there too) as a downloadable content. This makes them a great lead magnet. Moreover, an ebook can help you build a reputation and strengthen your positions within your niche. And if your reputation is already high enough, you can sell your ebooks online by providing a paid access to them on your website.

Ebook formats vary greatly. The average length is around 10,000 words. While making an ebook, it is important to make sure that its design is attractive enough, so proper formatting and adding some vivid images shouldn’t be overlooked. A catchy title is certainly a must.

  1. Downloadable templates, worksheets, and checklists

Yet another type of downloadable content that proves useful if you want to generate more leads or complement your primary materials.

Designing templates, worksheets, and checklists doesn’t take too much time and you can use them repeatedly as most of them do not lose their relevance.

These short downloadable products are great to offer in exchange for subscribing to your blog or website. They are also quite practical and, if released regularly, can be an amazing addition to your main content. For example, if you offer online language courses, printable worksheets will be highly appreciated by your students.

Just make them clean, well-structured, and easy to use. And don’t forget to put your logo somewhere to indicate that this is your original content.

  1. Images

Content is not all about text. Visual content is as important and effective for your marketing efforts as a written word. And its popularity is growing incredibly fast.

Let’s take a blog post as an example. Would you prefer to read a post which represents a cumbersome text monolith or the one that is organically diluted with colorful pictures?

Vivid images make your content more diverse, approachable, and memorable. If you manage to complement text with interesting photos, illustrations, diagrams, graphs, memes and other images, your content will be more attractive, engaging, and shareable, which is exactly what you want to achieve.

girl with the computer

  1. Infographics

Infographics are visual data representations. Almost any kind of information can be presented in the form of infographics: statistics, research reports, charts, case studies, etc.

Infographics have a wide popular appeal because they allow explaining complex things in a simple way. Moreover, they are vivid, memorable, and even entertaining at times.

What makes infographics so special is shareability. If you manage to make a good and useful piece of infographics, it is very likely that it will be shared on social media and linked back to. This raises public awareness about your website, increases traffic, and expands your backlinking catalog – which is exactly what you need for a good SEO. However, the downside of infographics is their price which can easily go beyond $1,000.

  1. Slide Presentations

Making a slide presentation is a good old way to convey complex ideas in a more organized and easily digestible way. Slides consist of images and text captions. This is what makes them so comprehensible and effective.

Just like infographics, slide presentations are highly shareable. They can either be distributed through platforms like LinkedIn SlideShare or offered as a downloadable content.

Slide presentations do not take much time to make and allow you to cover almost any topic. They are especially good for presenting projects, research reports, case studies, statistic data, etc.

  1. Videos

Videos are the future (and actually the present) of content marketing. They are extremely popular on the internet and are regularly watched by millions of people worldwide. Companies are actively using video content to promote their products and services. Around 85% of businesses hire dedicated staff and allocate resources to produce videos in-house.

The advantages of videos are obvious. They can be both informative and entertaining at the same time, and only a few other types of content can compete with videos in terms of engagement level. Moreover, video content uploaded to YouTube can significantly increase your visibility on the web (YouTube is the second largest search engine).

However, creating quality videos is neither easy nor cheap. You need lots of professional equipment and staff. Nevertheless, it’s absolutely fine to start small (even your phone camera is enough for starters) and scale up as you go along.

You can find out how to create a successful YouTube channel here.

  1. Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to deliver your content by means of audio channels. They enable you to take your content to the entirely different dimension. Not all people out there have enough time to read what you have to offer. But many of your prospects would love to listen to it while driving home or cleaning up. This makes podcasts accessible and extremely effective for your business.

What is more, podcasts are not so difficult and expensive to produce. You just need a decent piece of recording equipment and a good microphone.

It is also a good idea to accompany podcasts with other content types, for example, blog posts. They are easily combined with each other and can be mutually complementary.

Consider providing each of your podcast with a transcript. This will help SEO a lot.

  1. Roundups

Sometimes it makes sense to give credit to other authors by providing a list of links that might be valuable for your target audience. Not only does this render you as a field expert, but also serves as a good sign for search engines.

Just gather several useful links under one accurate and meaningful title, and it’s done. You can also provide the links with your own insightful introductions or comments to add some extra value to your post.

  1. Forums

Although forums are initially made for communication, hosting them can be an amazing addition to your website.

Answering each other’s questions, visitors generate valuable content on their own. Their replies (and your replies as well) are a good source of information that can be used by other people to find solutions to their problems.

people discussion

  1. Dictionaries

If you work in a niche that requires knowledge of specific terms that might be new for an outsider, creating a dictionary is absolutely a must.

A dictionary will help your potential clients and readers understand better what you are talking about in your posts. In this sense, your content will be easier to approach and will not put your audience off with expressions they cannot comprehend. What is more, dictionaries allow you to use a lot of niche keywords which will do good to your SEO.

  1. Social Media Posts

When it comes to social media marketing, it’s not only your connections network that matters. The things you post on social networks is also a separate type of content.

Social media posts are vital for SMM and help you to maintain communication with your customers/readers and keep them updated on your recent activities and releases.

  1. Emails

Just like social media posts are essential for your SMM campaigns, emails are the centerpiece of your email marketing.

Through emails, you can let your prospects know about your latest news, offers, newly released products, discounts, special deals, events and so on.

There are countless ways to write and design emails. Different goals and topics pose different requirements for your writing style and visual presentation. But as soon as you master the skill of crafting professional emails, you will be able to draw more attention to your site and increase your sales.

So which one suits you best?

As you see, there’s a huge diversity of content types out there. The list offered above includes only the most popular ones and is not exhaustive.

Which types of content will be the most effective for achieving your goals? This is totally up to you to decide. But don’t try to employ all of them at once because you will only waste your time and efforts. It is much more productive to focus on just a few options and master other ones as you and your website grow.

As long as your website is built on Ning, filling it up with diverse and exciting content is not a problem. Blog posts, articles, photos, videos, podcasts, forums, paid content – you name it! We made sure your content marketing goes without a hitch.