Content is central to any good marketing strategy. We are living in an age of content with around 90% of all marketers doing content marketing. (source)
This makes sense as 80% of people like to learn about a company through unique custom content.
But ‘content’ is a broad term now. There are so many different types of content. Let’s look at the main types of content; along with how and why to use each. (Watch our Content Marketing Workshop video here)
While going through this list; think about what your audience wants to consume and how you can distribute and promote each piece.
Jump to: How-to articles – Case Studies – Latest Trends – Interviews – Opinion Pieces – Guides – White-Papers – Resources & Tools – List Articles – Company News – Photography – Videos / Episodes – Q&A Session – Infographics
1. How-To articles
Let’s be honest, we’ve all asked Google ‘how-to …’ at some stage, if not regularly. It’s a very common start for a lot of search phrases. So it’s by no coincidence that how-to articles are a great resource and can rank well.
People want specific answers to their specific how-to questions, so be specific, and be unique. Show your unique way of solving the problem.
How-to articles are generally easy to create as you’re simply sharing your knowledge, tips and tricks. Aim for 500 to 1000 words in a step-by-step format with images at each step.
These articles are great for your own blog. However, this article structure can also make for creative content to offer to other blogs. Example: “How to find and book the best tropical villas” created by Booking.com and distributed to a prominent travel blog; through Contento of course.
Once your how-to article is live, you need to promote it through your social channels, EDMs, boosted posts on Facebook.
2. Case Studies
Case studies are a great way to show and explain to your market, in detail, how your product or service works for a customer similar to them.
If your service or product works across many industries or customer types; you should consider creating at least one case study for each. These are great for longtail search terms i.e. ‘inventory management for apparel’.
People looking at a case study are generally hot leads. Aware of your company and service, but now looking to be convinced that it will do everything they need. They want to see how a company, just like theirs, is successfully using your product or service.
You need to have some cheerleader customers to use as the case study. Dive into the physical need for your product and how it affected their business and them personally. The story should be emotive but backed up by data.
Case studies are great for leads that are at the ‘consideration’ stage of your funnel. You can a link to, or include a .pdf version, into your outbound sales comms at the appropriate time.
“Great to hear you’re considering our service. I’ve attached a case study of a company just like yours.”
Use snippets of your customer interviews as testimonials or statements in your articles you push out to media and blogs. They help towards creating credibility and social proof.
Put your case studies on your website as landing pages that are easy for users to find. Or keep them as .pdf downloads that are only available to people that request them.
3. Latest Trends
Everyone wants to keep up with the latest trends. Especially if you’re in a trend-centric industry like fashion. People love reading ‘latest trends’ articles as they are “need-to-know” and create FOMO.
Your knowledge is valuable and your market wants you to tell them where you think the latest trends are going.
Trends and forecasting article are easy to write as you no doubt have already done the research. You know what’s trending, why, and where those trends are coming from. Start writing!
These articles are great to share across other blogs. They have a tone of value and editors are always looking for expert opinions and forecasts. Fire one of these articles out to media, through Contento, and see who picks it up.
Great for awareness across social platforms. Boost these to a wide audience. Include in your EDM and let your audience know you’ve been published on another blog. Great for social proof and credibility.
People love sharing their knowledge and interview style articles, and videos, are a great format for this type of content.
Interviews are also a good excuse to reach out and engage with leaders in your industry.
Make a list of people you would want to interview. People with years of experience, an interesting point of view, or are recognised as leaders in their field. Reach out and request an interview for your article.
The best way to conduct an interview is by phone or over coffee. It’s important to record the interview so you can play it back when you create the article. You can do this with just about any smartphone nowadays. They all come with a Voice Memo app or similar.
Interview articles are great for your own blog are to offer to other blogs and media. They are usually very insightful and add a lot of value to the reader. An easy win for getting media placement and high-quality backlinks. Use Contento to offer your interview articles to relevant blogs.
Get a good photo of your interviewee and feature that image on the article. Share your interview article across your social media accounts and remember to tag in all those involved.
You’ll also want to email the interviewee, drop them the URL of the article and encourage them to share it through their own networks.
5. Opinion Pieces
Controversy creates drama, and drama plays to some of our most basic human instincts. We love drama. Creating opinionated articles can be controversial and are a great way to show you have a strong point of view on the given topic.
Your opinion is normally a core belief of your company. Part of your brand story that defines who you are, and why you are different.
There’s a fine line between having a valid and educated opinion and being a troll. Make sure your opinion is valid and you can back it up with data, research, and/or experience.
Plan out your opinion article in a way that captures the reader in the beginning and then slowly unravels the reasoning behind such an opinion.
Best for your own blog but could be offered to other blogs as a guest post.
Again, you want to push this through your social channels. Boosting these posts to the most relevant audience should generate loads of clicks-throughs and comments.
In-depth articles that teach the reader about a particular process are another great piece of content you should be creating. Guide the reader through every step with good explanations, images, and even videos.
These are normally bigger articles broken into sections or steps. 2,000 to 10,000 words broken up with illustrations, images and design is what you should be aiming for.
Guide articles are great value-adding content that gets shared.
Start by writing out each step in the process and make notes under each step. Treat each step as its own piece of content and spend some time planning and researching each section.
Create a table of contents at the start of the article with and link to each section to make it easier for return visitors.
Guide article are best for your own blog.
Great for organic traffic, but you’d also want to do boosted posts through your social channels to specific audiences. Use guides as key-content and create guest post articles that link back to it. This will raise the page authority of the article/guide and also increase your domain authority.
Get technical. White papers are generally used in the corporate world. They explain, in depth, how a specific industry is utilizing your product or service. Normally to overcome a problem and/or increase their efficiency.
White-papers are driven by data and research and are great at setting you as an authority in your industry.
High-quality white-papers contain unique research and data that make it valuable to the reader. Pull together your own data that backs up how your product or service has helped others overcome a problem. You should also use testimonials and statements from real customers.
White-papers are good for gated content. A .pdf file that is only accessible if the viewer entered their email or contact details. This is also called a lead magnet. You can assume that anyone requesting this .pdf is a soft lead.
Ad to your blog or website landing pages as gated content. White-papers are generally very specific and designed for a very niche reader. They are used in the Consideration part of your sales funnel. Use retargeting to offer your whitepapers to aware prospects.
8. Survey Findings
People love facts and numbers, and a survey is a great way to gather quantifiable data within a niche. You’ll need to gather responses from enough people to make it reputable. Surveying 100 B2B marketers is more reputable than surveying 10.
You could also partner with another company to promote and collect responses. Share and discuss the raw data, and then go create your own content around it.
We suggest using Google Forms to create a public survey.
Think about the questions you want to ask and how the answers could be turned into content. Promote the survey out through your social media channels, mailers etc.
Close off the survey once you reach your desired response limit.
Start pouring over the data and find the stories you can turn into meaningful articles.
You can also turn your data into an infographic. Hire an illustrator to bring the data to life. (find an illustrator)
The articles you create from your survey data can be used on your own blog or offered to others. You are most likely able to create multiple articles and assets from your findings.
Look at creating some visual graphs from the data to share across your social channels; with links back to the main article.
9. Resources & Tools
Handy tips always go down well. You’ve no doubt got a bunch of tools and software you use to get things done more efficiently or give you insights you couldn’t otherwise get.
Turn these handy tips into articles that explain how and why you use each. Include screenshots, images and videos, as you explain each one.
Note down a few of the go-to tools that you use on a regular basis.
Explain each tool, why you use it, how it works, and what it costs. You can even show how effective the tool is with some of your own data.
Use screenshots and maybe even some videos to show how to use them.
Publish to your blog or offer it out to other blogs in your industry. You can easily offer articles to niche sites using Contento.
Good for awareness campaign through social media platforms. Boost to wider audiences. You could also include them into your mailers.
10. List Articles
List articles really took off a couple of years ago. Marketers found that list articles get a lot of clicks as the viewer knows they are skimmable and contain quick valuable information. “5 top ways to …” These headlines got out of control and are considered somewhat clickbait-ish now. However, they are fine as long as you’re specific in the headline. People still love list style articles.
This article is considered a list article; “15 content types you should be using in your marketing”. It says exactly what it is and you can expect it to be a skimmable list of useful information.
Lists articles should be included as part of a varied content plan. Start by researching list articles. After reading a bunch of headlines your brain will be firing off loads of ideas. Write all of them down!
List articles are great for your own blog or offered to other blogs as guest posts. You could include your own service as one of the list items.
Push push push. Promote the live article through your social channels and also include in your newsletters.
11. Company News
Your business is forever changing and there is always news to tell. Sometimes you just have to get a bit creative on it. Keeping an open and transparent relationship with your customers is key to creating an emotional connection with them. You can do this through company updates and news.
These articles don’t have to be long, and they don’t have to be boring either. Being honest and transparent can connect with your reader and hold their attention.
There are a number of different ways you can distribute your company news, depending on the length. If you have lengthy news articles then posting them on your own blog would be best. Shorter news content might be best to add into your email newsletters or post directly to your social channels.
If you are adding to your own blog then promoting those news articles is key to drive engagement. Remember to use your social media channels, mailers, and you could even add links to the bottom of your email signatures.
People love beautiful images. They are a great piece of content and you can use images to tell your brand story. Product or service you can create beautiful images to engage and inspire your audience.
Photo assets are always good to have on-hand for marketing purposes.
Do some research on photography styles. Find what you like and then look at hiring a photographer to create this look using your products.
The same can be done for services. Before, during, and after shots are great at explaining your service.
Another way to gain photo assets is through leveraging events. If you are involved in or are running events, be sure to snap lots of photos.
Not only are photos key for native social media assets, they are also great for gallery style blog posts. Most websites allow you to create a gallery of images.
Photos are also good for including in guest post articles you can offer to other blogs.
Photos are key for social media. Having good original photos is what you need for quality engaging posts.
You’ll also want to look at promoting your gallery articles through social media and your newsletters.
13. Videos / Episodes
Videos are another form of content you should consider including in your content marketing strategy.
There are many different types of video, from big production shoots to quick and easy screen sharing videos. It all depends on what your budget is and what you’re trying to do.
Simple screen sharing video are great for software demos. You can easily create these using Quicktime or Loom.
For more professional videos you might want to consider using a service like 90Seconds to assist you in producing your videos.
Social media is a no-brainer. Videos go great on all social platforms.
Once on Facebook or YouTube, you can embed them into your website. Create a blog post, add a few hundred words and embed the video.
Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, your own blog or website. Push your videos through every channel you can, and also link to your video in your newsletters or onboarding emails.
14. Q&A Session
Question and answer articles give great insights and tips from your interviewee. They are simple to create and make good skimmable articles.
Reach out to an industry leader you believe your audience wants to hear or learn from. Once they accept your request for a QnA interview, you can fire them ten or so well crafted questions. Questions that invoke insights and not just yes or no answers.
Once you have the answers back, create an intro to the article, and layout questions in bold with the answers below. Easy peasy!
These articles are great for your blog and also make good guest articles for other blogs. You can use Contento to offer these articles out to other media/blogs.
Drive traffic to your Q&A article through social promotion and include in your EDMs.
You can also promote this article through your interviewee’s channels.
A visual display of data; infographics are snackable information bites that get people excited.
The first thing you’ll need to create an infographic is some respectable data. It’s always best to do your own research, be it a survey or research into your own product stats. Industry stats could also be used.
You’ll need to decide on what stats are worthy of illustrating and then engage with an illustrator to bring that data to life.
Infographics generate a lot of shares and backlinks; so it’s best to host these on your own website.
Share snippets of the data across social to tease the audience into viewing the full article and infographic. Do not just post the whole infographic on Facebook. You want the shares and backlinks.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR | Carl Thompson
17 years of playing in the digital marketing space. Over that time Carl has worked with many companies, created a clothing label, and co-founding tech companies Tradegecko.com, Bronami.video, and Contento.marketing
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