What do you think of when you hear the term “content marketing?” Some marketers pick out blogs or social media posts, while others identify case studies or white papers. The truth is, all of these are correct, and there are even more types of content marketing at your disposal. In fact, there may even be a few here that surprise you.
Let’s dive into some of the different types of content you can include in your marketing strategy, and learn how you can become a content rock star.
1. Blog Posts
Perhaps one of the more popular types of content marketing, blog posts are a powerful way to bring relevant, engaging content to your target audience. Not only do blogs offer an opportunity for you to demonstrate your expertise and authority on a subject, but they also position you to educate (and perhaps entertain) your readers on a regular basis. Blog posts are also incredible SEO tools: they help drive organic traffic to your site, increase the number of indexed pages on your site, and provide your site with more inbound links.
To get the most from blogging:
- Ask yourself, “Who is the audience, and what is the goal?” Answering these initial questions helps you create blog posts that yield better content, and makes it more likely to be read and shared.
- Be sure you are optimizing your blogs, increasing opportunities to rank better on search engines. Based on your blog topic, search keywords and keyword phrases with high search volumes and find opportunities to work them into your subheadings, title and the content itself.
- Post social media content linking to your blogs to boost exposure and drive site traffic.
- Publish at least two blog posts per month, weekly, or more, if you have the resources.
Burton, an outdoor outfitter, includes topics its customers care about on the blog that don’t oversell. You can from the headline above that this blog post isn’t pushing a product or service, but they’ve done their research on their users’ interests. That doesn’t stop them from running ads on the page, of course.
2. Social Media
With all the different platforms – and different audiences on those platforms – social media is one of the most dynamic types of content marketing. You can customize your content by platform, utilize various media like videos or live streaming, and direct traffic to your website from your posts. Social media can boost SEO by sending signals to search engines, connect you with target audiences, offer a channel for customer service, and keep brands top of mind with fresh content.
To get the most from social media:
- Decide which platforms make the most sense for your brand and how you can use them.
- Ask yourself, “What are the typical ages of the platform’s users? Do users go there for education or entertainment? What types of content work best on different platforms?”
- Publish content in line with your brand voice, on a regular basis, and be responsive to users’ questions, reviews, and comments.
- Don’t oversell. Be promotional 20 percent of the time, and helpful or entertaining the other 80 percent.
Airbnb creates inspiring social media posts for customers who like to learn about and travel to new places.
Without a doubt, a video is one of the most popular types of content marketing right now. In general, people are viewing more video content than ever before. Fifty-four percent of consumers want to see more video from brands and businesses they support. Online video not only engages people, but it can also be used to educate consumers and lead to conversions.
To get the most from a video:
- Decide what is your goal: awareness, education, entertainment, etc. because your customers are at different stages of the buying journey. You’ll want to consider eye-catching, introductory videos for the beginning stages, as well as the how-to or product demonstration videos for those who are closer to the buying stage.
- Incorporate your video content into your other types of content. Videos have proven to increase the engagement in emails, social posts, and blogs.
Popular food blogger, Lisa Leake, creates videos to promote her brand, 100 Days of Real Food. (Source)
It’s been interesting to see – or should we say listen – to the rebirth of podcasting in recent years. Monthly listeners are growing from 21 to 24 percent year over year, and advertisers are expected to spend $500 million on podcast ads in 2020. Why should this be considered in your content marketing mix? Podcasts present you with a mostly captive audience; listeners tend to stick around, as long as your content is valuable. Podcasting also gives you the opportunity to inject humanity into your brand and demonstrate thought leadership to your audience.
To get the most from podcasts:
- Ask yourself why you should do a podcast and what you can do differently or bring to the table that your competitors have yet to.
- Make sure you understand your target audience, what they want to hear, and how you can deliver – not just once, but over and over again.
- Consider how well you can integrate your brand into the podcasts.
- Be sure you have the resources (time and money) to support an ongoing program. Listeners will commit to a podcast they like, but you have to be committed, too.
5. Case Studies
“How a Hotel Client Achieved 2000% ROI with Our Product!”
“Manufacturing Company Increased Conversions by 10x with Our Services!”
Case studies are a highly effective way to demonstrate the quality of your products or services, by using real-life examples. In fact, they are the top content for buyers, with 78 percent accessing case studies when researching purchases. Consumers like case studies because they can see how the results you’ve produced can add value to their own brands. This type of content marketing helps build trust and credibility to your business.
To get the most from case studies:
- When considering which client experiences to turn into case studies, choose the ones with convincing results. You want to show readers how successful your approach or services have been, and that you have the processes in place to do it again.
- Be sure to include information about your client’s unique challenge they were looking to solve, what steps you took to solve that challenge, and the details of the outcome.
Google demonstrates its capabilities through case studies, one of the most effective types of content marketing. (Source)
6. White Papers
If you want to gather information about your customers, one of the best ways to do it is with white papers. Seventy-six percent of buyers are willing to register for and share their information in exchange for white papers. These long-form types of content marketing are a great way to generate leads, as they create interest through data, details and tons of industry-relevant information.
To get the most from white papers:
- Determine the most valuable pieces of content you can develop, that tie in strongly with what your brand can deliver to a business or individual.
- Spend the time necessary to create a high-quality, information-dense, and data-rich presentation on the subject. White papers are a heftier piece of content than a blog or social post; they should take more production time and effort, too.
- White papers are usually “gated,” which means someone has to share a certain amount of information with you in exchange for the download of your white paper, so create a separate landing page where readers can submit their details and acquire the white paper. When creating your lead form, consider what information you really need from prospective buyers. Too many fields may turn away and frustrate them before they hit ‘download.’
Educating your customer is not just about sharing useful tips or relevant data; it’s also about establishing your brand as an industry expert. Infographics can help you do both, by communicating helpful information about an interesting topic and about your brand in an easily digestible format. These visual assets help you build trust and authority with potential customers, and they’re easily integrated with other types of content marketing like blogs, social media, and white papers. The best part, they’re highly shareable, which can quickly spread your reach to new audiences.
To get the most from infographics:
- Pick a highly relevant topic for your target audience—your infographic should tell a story that matters.
- Collect interesting and up-to-date information about your topic.
- Invest in good design to make the infographic attractive and useful. If you don’t have an in-house design team, the expense of hiring a third-party is well worth it.
- Create blogs, social media graphics, and other content around your infographics. Smaller bits of data are perfect social media fodder that can “tease” the full graphics.
Social Media Examiner uses infographics to visually communicate ideas and relevant topics to its target audience: marketers. (Source)
With all the different types of content available to marketers, it’s important to understand the roles, strengths, and challenges of each one. Not every type of content works for every brand, and you may have to prioritize two or three at first. Once you have enough data to see what’s working and what’s not, you can use it to influence decisions about where to assign your marketing resources to be most effective for your brand.
Most importantly, each of these seven types of content rarely stands alone. Once you’ve put in the work to create a fantastically-written, data-packed blog, look for opportunities to repurpose by turning it into a video, infographic, or both!
What does each of these content marketing assets have in common? The first step in their ideation: determine an audience and a purpose. Every piece of content you create should solve a real problem for a particular audience. Once you have your personas and content strategy in place, getting your content engine running is a breeze. A comprehensive content marketing education ensures you have those first steps down. Our Advanced Content Marketing Training does just that.