What type of content are you going to create today? I find myself asking that question a lot.
These days, content takes on a myriad of different formats to capture eyeballs and win conversions – it’s not all just blog posts and infographics.
If you’re struggling to come up with content that will draw in an audience and keep them hooked, this one is for you.
Read on to discover seven types of content that drive engagement, plus eight pro-tips to make any content you create more successful.
7 Types of Content That Drive Engagement and Links
Having great content is important, but how you deliver it also matters.
Some forms of content continuously deliver higher ROI and better engagement than others.
You’re certainly not limited in the types of content you create, but if you’re finding yourself stuck in your next brainstorming session, consider one or more of these.
1. Authority Content
Authority content is a specific type of content that focuses on building your (or your brand’s) credentials in an industry.
(You’ll sometimes see this credibility referred to as topical authority — otherwise known as the perception that you know what you’re talking about.)
If you want to drive traffic, eyeballs, engagement, and backlinks, put some well-considered authority content out there. Google specifically looks for it, making it one of the single best ways to improve your SERPs.
You’re writing authority content if you’re:
- Linking to scientific studies or other ultra-credible sources.
- Delving into great detail on a topic and linking to subtopics throughout the piece (authority content often comprises content pillars).
- Providing specialized knowledge that’s difficult to acquire elsewhere.
Yet when we think about content for marketing, they’re rarely at the top of our list. Ebooks don’t get nearly as much attention as they deserve.
Ebooks are neat because they’re much easier to produce when compared to regular print books. And with a dedicated digital marketing strategy, it’s getting easier and easier to reach a wider audience.
3. Standout Opinion Pieces
You know what they say about opinions… everyone’s got one. As an industry leader, yours might be more powerful than you think.
Platforms like Medium and Huffington Post have made it easy for thought leaders to share their ideas. Plus, publishing there enables you to take advantage of the domain credibility, launching your opinions into the spotlight for a large audience.
It’s also an easy, quality backlink for your own blog.
If you have an unusual take on a topic or a current event, consider penning an opinion piece. It’s a surefire way to carve a name for yourself.
4. How-To Content
Tutorials and how-to content remain the single most common form of content out there. Why?
How-to content is a fantastic way to inspire your readers to take their engagement with your brand to the next level.
With such content, readers aren’t just learning about your brand. They’re solving a problem or meeting a need by themselves with your guidance.
Best of all, how-to content isn’t format-specific. You can create videos, blogs, infographics, and more.
5. Original Research Pieces
What’s better than well-researched, authoritative content?
Authority content backed up by original research.
Much of today’s content is modeled after other content. In some cases, that content is modeled after yet other content.
Sometimes, however, it’s original research.
When done correctly, original research is a powerhouse that drives engagement, leads, and backlinks. Personally, my most shared content pieces have all been interviews and original research pieces.
Those involve unique content that can’t be found elsewhere because we extracted and synthesized it ourselves.
Original research can take many forms:
- Investigative journalism.
- Case studies.
6. Trending Content
Going viral is the dream of every content marketer – but how to get content to go viral seems mystical to many.
Virality first cropped up in the social media video world, where it’s estimated that only about 1% of videos achieve this coveted status.
These days, however, every piece of content can easily go viral.
Creating trending content that goes viral is an art form, but here’s roughly what you need to do:
- Keep pace with your industry; use a news or social media aggregator to make it fast.
- Time it perfectly; viral content is meant to be fast, a flash-in-the-pan.
- Make it show-stopping. Throw an unexpected spin on things that makes people do a doubletake.
- Evoke emotion, whether it’s laughter or an “awww.”
Speaking of viral videos, this medium continues to dominate into the 2020s. It’s the absolute most popular form of content out there.
The advantages of video content are well-known but they’re worth repeating here. Video is great because it:
- Leverages visual and audio content.
- Bolsters text or other static content.
- Provides SEO support via transcripts.
- Can be uploaded and shared to other platforms.
- Invites engagement in the form of contents or shares.
8 Rules for Investing in High ROI Content
Phew! Are you full of ideas yet?
You’ve got so many options for creating high ROI content that bolsters your engagement, links, and conversion.
But no matter what content you create, make sure you’re doing it right. Follow these key rules for success.
Stay on Topic
If you’re like me – a multi-passionate professional – choosing just one thing and sticking to it can be a real challenge. However, it’s critical to stay on topic when building your content base.
I recommend that you find your content differentiation factor and let it guide your content creation.
Don’t be afraid to hire professional writers to create your content – in fact, you probably should! The Content Marketing Institute found that 80% of your competitors are.
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your content base. Keep your long-term goals in mind when you start feeling itchy for results.
Be Willing to Adjust Your Approach
Some things you try just won’t work. (I’ve definitely had ebooks and interviews bomb.) Be willing to step back and critically analyze what happened, then adjust your course of action.
Diversify Your Formats
Blogs, ebooks, and video content are the three most popular forms of content according to HubSpot, but they don’t need to be all you have.
The more you diversify your media, the better prepared you’ll be to allow your readers to share content across a variety of platforms.
Do Your Research
And by research, I don’t just mean figuring out what your readers want to read. Research keywords, industry news, what your competitors are writing about, where their content gaps are – and deliver something even more valuable than them.
Create a Content Strategy
Before you dive into the wonderful world of content creation, make sure you’ve got a road map! That would be your content strategy – the answer to why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Use Modern SEO Best Practices
SEO has been around since Google first got started in 1998. And guess what — there’s a lot of bad information out there. Make sure you’re using modern SEO best practices because they’ve changed a lot over the last few years.
High ROI Content Is a Long-Term Game
There’s a reason why content marketing has all but taken over the content world – customizable, interactive, engaging, and original, content is ideal for use in all industries and disciplines.
But there’s a catch. You’ve likely noticed it if you’ve made it all the way down here.
High-quality content and solid content marketing is a long-term game. It’s not something that happens overnight.
That’s why it’s so critical to get started on the right foot first.
I’ve provided a close look at seven awesome, high ROI content types as well as eight tips on making the most of whatever content you choose to create.
The rest is up to you!
- 100 Types of Content: The Definitive Guide for Marketers
- 9 Types of Content That Will Help Your Local SEO
- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
Screenshot taken by author, April 2021