For marketers, content is still king. It provides value to your targets, helps establish you as an expert in your field, drives traffic, and tells search engines why your website should be ranked highly.
But what’s the best type of content? You would likely get 12 different responses if you asked a dozen marketers.
Some will swear by blogs, while others will claim infographics are the best way to generate exposure. Ebooks can be a great way to establish your authority, while memes encourage organic shares.
Every type of content has different strengths and weaknesses. By understanding each offer’s unique benefits, you can develop a cohesive content marketing strategy unique to your needs.
In this piece, we’ll take a look at 17 types of marketing content, explain how you can use them to achieve your goals, and give you the knowledge you need to make a bigger splash with your marketing.
Why Content Marketing Is Important
The world has gone digital. As of July 2022, there were 5.03 billion people worldwide using the internet. That means 63.1% of the global population could potentially land on your website.
Thanks to smartphones, the internet has become the go-to source for entertainment, shopping, or settling arguments about Florida’s state bird (the northern mockingbird), no matter where you are.
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that a study by the Pew Research Center found 31% of American adults reported being online “almost constantly.”
The heart of any successful digital marketing campaign, content marketing offers several benefits, including:
- Building trust with your audience.
- Improving SEO efforts.
- Showcasing your expertise.
- Helping maintain your brand’s reputation.
- Encouraging social shares.
- Improving conversion rates.
And on top of this, it’s one of the most cost-effective ways to attract new leads, as you can often repurpose your content to get added exposure without a lot more work.
Of course, not all types of content will reap the same level of rewards. Your mix will depend on the specifics of your business and your goals, but some types are essential.
17 Essential Types Of Content
Since 1994, when Justin Hall created the very first weblog, or blog, as it would come to be known, blogging has been a cornerstone of successful content marketing.
A great way to regularly add new content to your website, blogs are a versatile, low-cost, and often evergreen way to boost organic traffic.
Their long-form format lets you focus on your target keywords and the important topics to your audience.
Blogs can also play an important role in your SEO strategy.
Their length (the average blog post is 1,500 to 2,500 words) provides Google’s search bots with a lot of information about their content, which in turn helps it determine how it helps answer search queries.
To ensure your blog posts are generating as much traffic as possible and getting the results you need, make sure they are:
- Written for humans – not search engines.
- Use your targeted keywords.
- Optimized for loading speed.
- Linked to sites with high authority.
- Use headers for effective skimming.
And don’t forget your long-tail keywords. Remember, the more detailed a blog post is, the more likely it will attract the traffic you want.
Plus, it’s a great way to show off your brand’s personality.
2. Case Studies
Your target customers have a specific problem. Your goal as a marketer is to show them why your business is the best answer to said problem.
To do this, you have to demonstrate not just that you’re an expert in the field but also that your solution actually works. And one of the best ways to do this is through case studies.
Case studies give your audience a real-life scenario in which someone like them used your offering to solve their problem. They see the buying journey from start to finish, helping them visualize how your product or service works.
They allow you to portray yourself as an expert, which helps reduce perceived risk, particularly for high-cost products and services.
And like blogs, they offer a longer format in which you can effectively add keywords without feeling like they were shoehorned in.
To maximize their impact, you should make sure your case studies:
- Focus on an issue your target audience can relate to.
- Feature a cohesive narrative from start to finish.
- Include real statistics wherever possible.
- Accurately portray how your business solved the issue.
Santa Claus is not the only one making a list and checking it twice. Many people love a step-by-step guide to performing a task or solving a problem.
By dividing tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, checklists can make even the most complex jobs less daunting. And from a marketing perspective, they’re a great way to generate leads.
Audiences use them as a simple, easy, and free way to make sure all the right steps are being followed. They create ownership, establish expectations, and set deadlines, all of which contribute to productivity.
In addition to creating a useful tool for customers, checklists also let your targets know you understand what they’re facing. Good checklists will include:
- A title establishing the purpose of the list and why it’s useful.
- Step-by-step tasks that outline the overall process – including subtasks.
- Timeframes for each step – this could be a hard date or a range.
- Status indicating whether a step is completed, in progress, or not started.
4. Customer Reviews And Testimonials
You know your business is great, but let’s face it: saying it yourself doesn’t count for much. What does matter, however, is what your customers are saying.
Word of mouth for the digital age, customer reviews, and testimonials give you a level of credibility no amount of paid marketing can ever achieve.
Studies have shown 93% of consumers say online reviews impact their shopping choices, which makes them extremely valuable.
Reviews and their less-celebrated-but-no-less-important-counterpart testimonials help reduce the feeling of risk and provide a useful way to overcome potential objections. Plus, because they’re customer-generated, they cost you nothing.
There are several ways to encourage them, including:
- Directly asking for reviews and testimonials.
- Incentivizing customers to create them.
- Creating automated replies that make creating reviews easy.
Google factors in positive reviews when determining Search Quality Raters Guidelines.
These do not have a direct impact on search rankings but do help ensure your pages meet the minimum quality threshold the search engine demands.
You should prominently feature testimonials and reviews wherever they logically fit, including on webpages and in emails.
One of the best ways to present yourself as an authority is to demonstrate thought leadership. And one of the best ways to do that is by creating an ebook.
These long-form texts are not advertisements, at least not in the traditional sense, but instead, they offer value to potential customers.
By deep diving into a subject particular to your field, you demonstrate your expertise while simultaneously providing value to your targets.
If your ebook covers a particularly under-covered topic or presents information in a new light, it can lead to significant interest in your company. And even better, because these long-form texts are generally hidden behind an email or contact form, they offer a great way to generate new leads.
6. Email Marketing
The bread-and-butter of marketing in the 21st century, email marketing is a fast and flexible way to reach a highly targeted audience.
Whether you’re trying to stay top of mind for existing customers, reach new ones, or build brand awareness, email marketing gives you a measurable way to engage with targets.
You should be using email to contact people regularly at each stage of your sales funnel.
Limited-time offers can help persuade that hesitant lead to finally give you a chance. Birthday messages to existing customers help keep your brand at the forefront, and abandoned cart emails can entice people back to complete purchases.
No matter what your business goals are, there’s an email strategy to help you achieve them.
Make sure you keep your strategy centered on those goals, segment your audience to speak to specific audiences, and measure your results. Then, take what you have learned from this campaign and apply it to the next one.
7. Guides And How-Tos
In-depth guides and how-tos are necessary for any company offering a complex product or service.
Another way to demonstrate how knowledgeable you are, they are a great way to expand your online presence.
For example, if you are a software company, providing how-to content in the form of printable guides or online training courses will help your clients get the most from your product.
They can also help eliminate frustration and minimize learning curves – both things customers love.
Everyone knows a picture is worth a thousand words. Infographics are this adage applied to marketing.
By allowing you to present a significant amount of information in a quick and easy-to-understand format, they provide an easy way for viewers to understand information.
Great for catching the eyes of people who only scan the text on your webpage (which is almost everyone), infographics give marketers control over which information is highlighted.
Create infographics that call out statistics, events, or timelines that help pitch your business. Quick and low-cost, they often act as standalone content that can be shared on social media.
To ensure you’re getting all the credit (and backlinks) you deserve from your content, include a snippet of HTML code that allows other webmasters to embed them on their sites.
9. Interactive Content
In the old days (i.e., before the internet), marketing usually talked “at” an audience. But now, the power of technology has given marketers the ability to speak “with” people.
Interactive content is a great way to harness this functionality to gather information, boost engagement, or find new customers. Plus, they’re a great way to provide value and/or showcase your creativity.
Create quizzes to help people decide on which product is perfect for their needs, build games to distract them while increasing your brand’s exposure, or create an app that adds value to their lives.
While this type of content may require a bit more technological knowledge (or outsourcing) than some of the items on this list, it can also be one of the highest-performing.
Want to massively expand your audience with just one piece of content? All you need to do is secure an interview on Joe Rogan’s podcast. Simple, right? Well, maybe not, but don’t let that discourage you from putting the power of interviews and question-and-answer segments to work for you.
A great way to build relationships (and links) with other websites, these are a great way for your internal thought leaders to showcase their knowledge to external audiences.
By going “on the record,” you’re showing the world that you stand behind your offering. This implies quality customer support, helps with reputation management, and can improve overall engagement.
Unfamiliar with the word “listicle?” You’re not alone. But they refer to something you’ve definitely seen before. In fact, you’re reading one right now – it’s an article structured as a list, hence the name.
While the most popular of these are often Buzzfeed-esque pieces like “15 Hedgehogs With Things That Look Like Hedgehogs,” they don’t have to be mindless entertainment but instead can be used as powerful pieces of marketing content.
People love listicles because they are easy to skim, you know what to expect, and they break information down into digestible chunks.
Marketers love them because they’re easy to plan and write.
Create your own marketing listicles following these steps:
- Choose a topic and angle.
- Select a keyword.
- Write the list points.
- Wrap up with a solid conclusion.
No longer solely the domain of true crime junkies, podcasts are a great way to build your brand with effective content marketing that people can consume on their commute, on a walk, or at any other time they find convenient.
Podcasts allow you to share your stories and experiences directly with your audience, building relationships by speaking to your targets on a personal level.
To maximize the impact of your podcasts, ensure you’re providing useful information in an entertaining format. You can also use guest hosts or interviewees as a way to expand your audience.
13. Social Media Posts
Everyone from your grandmother to the teenager next door is using social media these days.
While it’s true they might not be on the same platform, they’re all using it for the same purpose – to stay in touch. And there are literally billions of users worldwide.
Providing a way to initiate and maintain conversations with targets, social media has become an important part of every marketing mix.
Of course, how you use it will vary dramatically from one company to the next.
For example, a candy manufacturer may have good luck with recreating viral videos on TikTok, but that approach will probably fall flat for a software developer.
To ensure your social media efforts are reaping maximum rewards, you need to identify which platform or platforms your audience is using, then create content that will speak to them.
Seek to build relationships with both your audience and any influencers who can help expand the impact of your content.
And don’t forget, social media is also a great place to repurpose content you’ve already created.
Have a great infographic? That would be perfect for your Facebook. That tutorial video about your product’s hidden features should be on your YouTube page. Linking to your ebook on Twitter can help you land new leads.
Find where your content fits, then put it on your social channels.
14. User-Generated Content
Much like testimonials, content created by your users gives you an authenticity no amount of self-promotion can match. Even better, because it’s generated by a third party, it doesn’t take much investment on your part.
User-generated content, or UGC, could be anything from someone tagging your brand in a selfie to a recording of them using your product. It provides social proof while simultaneously providing word of mouth and encouraging engagement.
Encourage your fans and customers to make content by:
- Regularly posting UGC on your social media channels.
- Inviting user-submitted content, with or without rewards.
- Creating and using your own branded hashtag.
If you’re looking for a way to engage your audience, there’s nothing quite like video.
Platforms like YouTube, TikTok, and Meta’s Reels have made videos a ubiquitous part of digital marketing. And with good reason – video content works.
While this type of content generally requires more time and resources to produce than text or static content, video content has been shown to increase dwell time, improve customer understanding of your product or service, and lead to higher lead volume.
Part of the strength of video content lies in its versatility.
From short demo videos and social media clips to interviews and long-term videos that tell your story, video can help you connect with your audience in a way most other forms of content can’t.
When you think of content marketing, webinars are probably not the first thing that springs to mind. However, they can be a very valuable part of your strategy.
Whether you’re using on-demand webinars to provide round-the-clock value or live sessions to create personal connections, these online education sessions are a great way to educate existing and potential customers, attract new leads, and establish your authority in your field.
To create successful webinars, first, identify an area of need. Maybe there’s a new law that impacts your industry, and there are many questions surrounding its implementation.
Maybe there’s a certain aspect of your offering that customers don’t seem to understand clearly. Or perhaps you just want to offer expert insights on a relevant topic.
Whatever it is, your webinars should provide unique content that adds value. Require an email list for registration, and they provide a great way to build new contact lists.
Not to be confused with ebooks, whitepapers are lengthy papers filled with data, statistics, and information – sort of like business research papers.
The information they include can be the results of your own studies or a compilation of information compiled from other sources. Either way, they should offer key takeaways and provide credible insights.
Keep your design clean and visually appealing for easy scanning, and allow others to link to it to help generate backlinks.
Takeaway: Why Use Different Types Of Content
Though they may have common features, every prospect, lead, and customer you’re targeting differs.
Some people are visual learners and like videos and infographics. Others prefer to be taught new information and retain information from webinars best. And yet, others prefer downloadable texts they can peruse on their own time.
If you’re only creating one type of content, you’re not reaching as many targets as possible with a more varied approach.
It’s often tempting for busy marketers to take the easiest approach, but this isn’t the best recipe for long-term success.
Instead, determine what your goals are and how you will define success. Then, use this to create a multi-channel content plan that will help you reach it.
Regardless of which content mix you opt for, there are certain things every element, regardless of format, must do:
- It should provide value.
- It should promote your brand and product/service.
- It should be targeted to your specific desired audience.
- It should actively move customers along the purchasing journey.
- It should be shareable.
Don’t be afraid to experiment and take risks. Not every type of content works for every brand, but if you put in the work, you’re sure to see rewards.
- 7 Best Content Marketing Platforms For An Effective Strategy
- 12 Ways To Use Content Marketing To Build Brand Awareness
- Content Marketing: The Ultimate Beginner’s Guide
Featured Image: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock