In this digital era, it’s important to embrace all forms of content to help your brand stand out.
Text-based content will always play a part in digital marketing, but creating and promoting visual and interactive content can bring huge benefits when you get them right.
Broadly speaking, we can categorize the different types of content into:
In practice, many of these different types will overlap but the small differences can have a big impact.
Let’s jump in.
Types of Written Content
1. Blog Post
Blog posts are consistently a top performer for brands.
Not only are blog posts essential for effective SEO (search engine optimization), they can increase your thought leadership status, help build networking opportunities, and act as a lead generator for your business.
Create blog posts when you want to inform your audience, increase brand awareness, highlight your company’s knowledge of current industry news, or build a long-term track record of providing helpful, valuable content.
If you’re wondering what type of blog post to try, there are no shortage of possibilities. Here is a list of 21 different types of blog content.
|1. How-to Blogs
4. Round Ups
8. Company News
9. Product News
10. News Release
13. Step-by-Step Guides
15. New Strategy
17. Best Practices
20. Gone Wrong
Try This: Think of a keyword that matters to your business and then plug that into a tool like BuzzSumo. What’s the most shared content? This will give you some ideas about what types of blog content resonates with your audience.
If you’re looking for an example of a great company blog, check out the Unbounce Landing Page and Conversion Blog
2. White Papers
White papers are effective for businesses wanting to prove industry expertise. Like e-books, white papers can be offered as a free digital download, or can be published online as PDFs for improved search engine optimization.
Use white papers when you want to solidify your reputation as a SME (subject matter expert) or when you want to offer a specific opinion that is best delivered in long format. Unlike a blog post or thought-piece offered as a guest post, white papers should be educational and backed up by hard evidence and statistics.
Try This: Create a white paper on a topic related to your most popular blog posts. Then, offer the white paper as a content upgrade on those blog posts.
E-books are powerful lead generators for brands hoping to grow their email marketing subscriber list or boost engagement opportunities for their sales teams.
E-books can be offered as a free digital download, provided as gated content to premium subscribers, or offered on marketplaces like Amazon to establish brand authority for a company CEO.
Use e-books when you want to offer in-depth or background information, when your audience isn’t time-constrained, or when you want to move past the building awareness stage and help guide potential customers deeper into your sales funnel.
Try This: Create an ebook on a topic that matters to your potential customers. Let people download the ebook by providing their name and email. Reach out to these people with targeted marketing advertising your products or services.
For example, we partnered with Convince and Convert to create an ebook on how to develop effective SEO strategy. When you create an ebook, be sure to also create a dedicated landing page with the gated ebook.
4. Customer Success Stories
We’re more likely to buy something when we know a real customer has faced similar challenges and benefited from a product or service. Customer success stories show how your company performs in the real world.
Salesforce has a clear link on its homepage, taking users to dozens of customer stories.
Try This: Ask your top customers for feedback on how your company has helped them, and publish the results.
MailChimp, the email marketing platform, has some great examples of customer success stories.
5. Case Studies
89 percent of marketers say that case studies and testimonials are the most effective content forms for influencing purchases. Like customer stories, case studies prove that your solutions work.
Case studies are especially useful for conversion rate optimization. Providing case studies as a component of your content marketing strategy can help convince customers to try your product/service and are also helpful for long-term search engine optimization.
Use case studies when you need to prove value, highlight differentiation points against your competitors, or showcase your company’s sales history within your industry. A testimonial on the front page of your website is a teaser; a case study delivers the real results behind a testimonial teaser.
Try This: Be sure to demonstrate a challenge faced by a customer and show how your solution provided the answer.
6. Product Content and Guides
These help to address the specific concerns of bottom-of-the-funnel leads. They will also feature keyword phrases with less competition, which is great for SEO.
On-site guides and demos show prospects what you do, how you do it and help them to imagine using your products. Publish a set of product guides on your website that is free of jargon and salesmanship.
Try This: Upload a product demo video to YouTube, which links back to your website.
For example, we created a Quick Start Guide that breaks down how to use your Constant Content account. It even has a video, featuring my goofy mug.
7. Resource Centers
One of the best ways to address specific concerns of potential customers is through a help center page.
Olark offers live website chat software. Its help center page has a clear link from its homepage, showing prospects how to set up their product. Its articles cover account management, product features, and company policies. These guides are also great for SEO because they target very specific keywords.
According to a study by Dimensional Research, 90 percent of people surveyed said online reviews influenced their purchase decision. Reviews, ratings, and testimonials provide more evidence from genuine customers that your company delivers on its promises. Promoting these content assets to leads in the bottom of the funnel gives them one more reason to take further action.
Try This: Create a web page devoted to testimonials that show specific benefits to prospects.
9. Comparison Sheet
Making side-by-side comparison easy for potential buyers is another great way to gain customer trust and make buying decisions easier. Sometimes, a simple chart is the best way to present helpful information. You can use charts to compare your own products to one another or to those of other companies.
Try This: Limit products or features compared to five or six, and separate different entries with contrasting colors and clear spacing.
An FAQ page on your website can be instrumental in advancing potential sales. You can answer questions about your industry, products, services, and more. These are not just helpful to potential buyers; they can save your staff time by reducing the number of routine questions they get asked.
Try This: To make your FAQ page more accessible, separate your questions into different categories, and update it regularly to keep it relevant.
It’s always a good idea to remind your audience of your credibility and expertise. One simple way to do this is by showcasing your awards and achievements.
Try This: Display trust badges and any proof of achievements alongside bottom-of-the-funnel content and on purchase pages.
12. User Generated Content
User-generated content is great because it provides social proof to potential customers, and it’s free.
Whether you use Instagram to show off customers wearing or using your product or collect customer success stories to share on your website, try to incorporate at least some user-generated content into your content strategy.
Try this: Figure out who your most engaged customers are, then send them a survey asking about what challenges made them seek out a solution such as yours, why they chose to work with your company instead of another alternative, and how they are benefiting from your product. You can then turn that into a success story.
13. User Guides/User Manuals
User guide and manuals help customers get the most out of your product. They’re how you turn new customers into power-users.
Try This: Hire a professional technical writer to create or rewrite a user guide. Great user guides and documentation are key parts of an effective onboarding flow.
Types of Visual Content
In this digital era, it’s important to embrace all forms of content to help your brand stand out. Text-based content will always play a part in digital marketing, but creating and promoting visual content can bring huge benefits when you get it right.
There are three main advantages of using visual content:
- It’s more attractive. Press release distribution company PR Newswire found that including photos, videos and other visual media in press releases attracted 77 percent more views than text-only content.
- It’s more accessible. We can process visual information 60,000 times faster than textual content.
- It’s more memorable. According to Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina, you’re six times more likely to remember information if visuals are attached.
According to a study by Venngage, images are the most frequently used type of visual content.
While people may overlook a block of text, an image can communicate your message in a few seconds. You can find free stock photography images on sites like Flickr and Photobucket, but to make your social media and blog posts more memorable, create original images.
Cisco predicts that videos will make up 80 percent of all global Internet traffic by 2019.
Evernote has always made good use of video on its website and across social media. The brand’s detailed explainer videos educate users about their tools, and its website also features various videos of customer stories.
How-to product videos, behind-the-scenes coverage, customer testimonials or employee interviews are a good place to start. Try to include a call to action that encourages viewers to take the next step, depending on your marketing goals.
According to the Nielson Norman Group, infographics are “liked” and shared on social media three times more than any other type of content.
Pointvisible’s Content Marketing Statistics and Trends: 2017 Edition is a great example. Using bold graphics, they demonstrate the importance of content marketing using detailed stats and facts, but in a visual way that’s easy to follow.
Pull together some stats and interesting facts promoting the benefits of your company, and create your own infographic using tools like Canva or PicMonkey. You can then distribute this via your website, social media channels and email.
Related: 5 Reasons Why Your Readers Will Love Your Infographics
Memes are ideal for Twitter and Facebook and are easy to create. Think about your target audience and what they’ll find amusing or inspiring.
Grammarly is a great example of a company using memes well.
Their Pinterest page also features sharable “Grammarly cards” that promote their tool and the importance of good grammar.
GIFs are perfect for sharing fun, light-hearted content. Twitter has made it easy to add GIFs to tweets, with a built-in option that lets you attach a GIF based on your chosen phrase
You can also create your own GIFs with GIF Maker by Giphy or And Then I Was Like, which helps you turn webcam video into a shareable GIF. You might already have video content that you can repurpose into a GIF.
With a screenshot, you can show your audience how your product or service works. You could also add marketing copy or a testimonial to the screenshot for added credibility. Have you read a testimonial or review from an industry forum about your product? Why not take a screenshot and include it in future content?
20. 360-Degree Video
Not every video is suited to the 360-degree makeover, but if it helps to highlight your brand in an interesting way, you could give it a try.
Visit Las Vegas uses 360-degree videos to give viewers virtual experiences of trademark Vegas scenes, from party events to a zip line over the Las Vegas Strip.
What unique experiences can you offer your audience with 360-degree video? For help with creating these interactive videos, see this article from HubSpot.
One of the more recent types of visual content that has been gaining popularity are online magazines (“e-magazines”). Similar to the physical magazines we’re all familiar with, online magazines look to combine big, powerful imagery with interesting stories and snippets.
Red Bull, Harry’s and Fujitsu are all examples of companies that come out with their own magazines.
Types of Interactive Content
Many readers enjoy entering contests, especially if there’s a valuable prize. They’re a great way to encourage user-generated content and increase brand engagement. You can also collect email addresses because you need to inform the winner, right?
Online supermarket Ocado created an essay contest, asking customers to write about their fantasy restaurant, offering a Michelin-starred dinner party as a prize. The contest was promoted on social media and their blog.
Try this: Woobox helps you create sleek contests, coupons, deals and more, via social media and landing pages.
As well as being great for collecting audience insights, polls are quick to read and hard to ignore.
The career website The Muse used Twitter Polls to ask users what would make their workday better. Most people chose the “better boss” option and the company used the results to inspire a subsequent blog post.
Try this: Easypolls is a simple tool for creating polls that you can customize and embed on your website.
More and more companies are using fun Q&As in their marketing, whether it’s asking users what type of animal they are or which city they should be living in.
Art equipment suppliers Aaron Brothers created a color quiz asking users “What’s your color?” It generated around 500 leads that they could hopefully convert into customers at a later stage.
Try this: Qzzr makes it easy to create great-looking, customized quizzes that you can embed on your website or share on social media. It also gives you stats on user engagement.
Assessments give users more personalized recommendations or results based on how users respond to a series of questions. They’re also a great way of collecting data from potential buyers.
Dell EMC, a global leader in the data storage industry, created an assessment featuring seven questions for potential clients about their current situation and future requirements. The results page highlighted which products would be the best fit for their business.
Try this: SnapApp is a powerful online tool for creating assessments, personality tests and much more.
Brackets pit users against each other in a series of rounds until a winner is announced. Users cast votes on anything from their “favorite superhero” to “the best Beatles song.” The competitive element also encourages users to revisit the content.
Tech news site BostInno received over 100,000 votes for their startup-themed bracket, encouraging Bostonians to vote for which tech company they thought would have the greatest impact in five years’ time.
Try this: Woobox helps you create your own voting brackets which you can then embed on your site. You’re in control of the voting theme and deadlines; Brackify takes care of the rest.
27. Interactive White Papers
White papers tend to be information-heavy, which can turn off some readers. Thankfully, you can now convert longer content into interactive experiences with animations, hidden hover effects and more.
Athenahealth, which provides cloud-based services for health care professionals, created an interactive white paper entitled “Five Elements of a Successful Patient Engagement Strategy” with a magazine-style front page, scrolling stats, animations and tips for health professionals.
Try this: Ion Interactive helps marketers quickly create powerful interactive content, from landing pages to white papers. You can also access useful lead data from the built-in analytics.
Types of Video Content
28. Product Demonstrations
Product demo videos are a fantastic way to show your product in action while also making potential customers feel like they are getting an exclusive inside look.
Demos tend to highlight key features and answer common questions to get shoppers to see how they can get value and move them closer to buying.
If you’ve been creating high-quality content for your blog, why not put it in a video format as well to give your audience a wider variety of ways to consume your insights.
These are some of the easiest types of videos to produce and they tend to get high engagement.
If you’re not sure where to begin, take some cues from some of the top YouTube celebrities who have been able to capture and hold the attention of wide audiences.
30. Company Culture
A major goal of content marketing is to showcase the vibrant, human side of your brand. One of the best ways to do this is to give viewers a peek at your company’s employees and culture. You don’t need to have a quirky, Google-esque culture to make this work.
Company culture videos can include interviews with employees, company parties, birthday celebrations and more. The key is to show that your company isn’t a faceless entity but a mosaic of real people and personalities.
31. How-To Tutorials
People tend to be visual learners and how-to tutorials are some of the most sought-after videos on the Internet.
In fact, the number of YouTube searches for tutorial videos soared by 70% in 2015 alone.
Providing helpful instructions and tutorials builds long-lasting customer loyalty and it also reaffirms your credibility and product knowledge.
A webinar can be a highly effective way to engage with your audience, especially for marketers in the B2B realm.
In fact, a report from the Content Marketing Institute reveals that 66% of B2B marketers cite webinars as one of their most powerful content marketing strategies.
Since webinars require users to register, they can also act as valuable lead-generation tools. As an added bonus, the content from a webinar can also be repurposed into blog posts.
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