High Performing Content Types in Marketing
This is Chapter 2, Part 2 from the Content Types and Ideas Guide.
Content marketing is very much needed in any marketing strategy. The reason? It brings many benefits to the table.
In fact, content marketing is one of the most powerful digital marketing strategies for businesses of all sizes and industries. Why is content such an important marketing tool? 🤔
Here are 3 main reasons:
1. High ROI – content is a fundamental part of email marketing which has a high ROI of around $40 for each dollar spent.
2. SEO search ranking – content is one of three main SEO search ranking factors. So, make sure to get your content right, and people will start visiting your website, stick around and who knows, even become (loyal) customers.
3. Trust and authority – content has a great contribution in building trust and authority. How do you achieve that? By proving your expertise, professionalism through content and by providing visitors and customers with helpful, informative, and valuable information that meets their needs and wants.
However, when it comes down to developing your strategy, it can be difficult to decide which type of content you’d want to use to grow your business. After all, not all types of content will appeal to each of your visitors.
The solution? Opt for a variety of content.
How do you know which type is the right one for you? Well, let’s go through several content types that will help you decide.
When we talk about blogging we need to consider the fact that blogging includes many types of articles. Among the most shared content online are the following blog types: how-tos, reviews, lists, and storytelling.
According to Forbes, websites that include a blog generally have 434% more indexed pages than those that don’t. This means that websites with blogs have a better chance to wind up on the first page of search engines like Google. The trick here is for consumers to search for relevant keywords.
Additionally, businesses that blog receive 97% more inbound links to their websites in comparison with websites that only opt for static pages.
What is an inbound link (or backlink)? – It is a hyperlink on a third-party web page that leads to your website.
Why are inbound links important? – SEO reasons mostly, because Google and other search engines translate multiple relevant inbound links to a page as a sign that the content on that page is useful and relevant. Additionally, you can also use guest blogging to help build up your inbound link profile.
What is guest blogging? – Simply put, guest blogging is a method an owner of a blog may opt for in order to increase traffic to their website. Generally, guest bloggers write content for other, similar blogs in their industry as guest bloggers.
The benefits of blogging:
- Blogging helps to improve your search engine optimization
- It’s an excellent way to build relationships with your leads and current customers
- The more valuable content you provide, the more likely your target audience will be to consider your brand when they want to make a purchase
- Blogs are a powerful way to provide value through short-form content
First step? If you want to start blogging in order to improve your content marketing and grow your brand, what you’ll need to start with is a clear blogging strategy.
What does this strategy need to include?
- the topics you plan to cover in your blog
- keyword research to see what consumers are typing into the search engines to find brands like yours
- discovering other topics that might be relevant and valuable and create blog content around these topics
- nailing your headlines (is key) for the topics you’ve decided on
2. Social Media Posts
It’s very important to acknowledge that the content of your social media posts play a valuable role in the way your business manages to engage new leads and existing customers.
Social media posts can be used to:
- help new leads discover your products or services
- alert customers regarding any sales and/or promotion you might have
- provide leads and customers with additional, relevant information about your products or services
Social Media is a key element in the success of your content marketing strategy.
In fact, the social aspect of your content strategy will make the difference between success and failure.
Why does Social Media work? When used correctly, it works because it has to do with emotional interactions between human beings – people relating to other people, or certain situations they might be going through. So, once you manage to develop relationships with your customers, make sure to nurture those relationships to their best extent.
Developing trust with your customers is extremely important. And how do you develop trust? By having the same values as someone. This takes us to the fact that your brand needs to share those values, and be open and transparent with customers. People will always follow brands that they trust, and when it comes down to making a purchase, trust plays a great role.
Trust is quite weak and shaky in the digital marketing world – and if you are not able to create it, you most likely won’t convert leads into customers.
There’s huge power in social media.
And this power is exactly what can take your content marketing strategy farther than you’ve ever imagined. So use that power. 👊🏻
The benefits of Social Media content:
- it can be used to directly influence a purchase or a decision
- social media is one of the best types of content marketing for lead nurturing and keeping in touch with your audience
- you can use social media posts to begin a conversation with customers and engage with your target audience
However, make sure that you have a good mix of promotional and informational, valuable content across all of your social media platforms. And enjoy the great benefits of your well-written, well-targeted social posts. 💪
Opting for videos is an excellent content marketing plan for all businesses, but especially for small businesses. Why? Mainly because it provides a really good ROI (Return On Investment).
Additionally, by opting for videos you can also expect an increase of 105% when it comes to how much time your customers spend on your website, and two times overall conversion compared to a non-video marketing strategy. And guess what? The more time your customers spend on your website, the better the chances for your business to make a sale.
Another reason for you to start using videos is that consumers love video content and are viewing more videos than ever before. In fact, one-third of all online activity is spent watching video content. And, that’s why regardless of the industry you are in, videos are one of the best types of content if you really want to engage with your target audience.
What type of videos should you create?
- Short, attention-grabbing informative videos can help you engage consumers
- How-to videos and product/service demos are excellent for guidance and influencing the purchasing decision
According to data when shopping online, about 80% of millennials consult videos about a product, service, or brand before deciding to finalize a purchase.
And videos are also one of the most favored content types for mobile device users. Not to mention that most age groups really love watching videos – whether they are educational, how-tos, or fun videos.
There are clearly many ways you can use video in your business. But, here are some ideas that may inspire you:
- Use an explainer video to introduce people to your business. Like this 👇
- Create a video showcasing features of your products or services.
- Shoot a tutorial to give visitors step-by-step instructions on how to use your product or services.
So, videos are in and if you want to keep up with the latest trends, you better start shooting your first video. 📹
4. Long-form Articles
According to the data, people enjoy sharing long-form articles on social media. This is great, because as a result, you’ll end up with more traffic on your website.
However, if you are interested to use the long-form content format, then you’ll need to write more in-depth content that requires a lot of research.
Some companies, for instance, love to opt for writing and publishing guides about specific trending topics. These guides can have several chapters, with each chapter having its own URL. As a result, the chances for the guide to appear in search results are high.
Here’s an example of a long-form article/guide – Chatbots & Social Media – I have written in collaboration with Rebrandly. 👇
What are checklists?
Checklists are a kind of worksheet that basically provides a list of things to do. The way the information is provided is in a step-by-step process with the purpose of helping you achieve a certain desired outcome.
Checklists are excellent content assets for small businesses as they aren’t difficult to create and promote. And the best part is that these checklists provide important value for the target audience. Why?
Because checklists are:
✔️ easy to read
✔️ easy to follow
✔️ they provide valuable information to help your target audience make smarter decisions regarding what they are interested in and consider purchasing
So, the smart thing to do after you create a checklist on a relevant, trending topic, is to share those checklists on social media. You can even consider incorporating such checklists into a blog post and share it that way, too.
You can find several resources online with checklists and templates that will help you out on nailing this type of content.
Jeff Bullas describes infographics as “a mix of design, writing, and analysis that are ideal for an age of big data.” 👇
Here are the main benefits of infographics:
- They communicate complex data in a visual format and are the most socially shared form of content that has the potential to become viral.
- They can become more viral than presentations and documents. In fact, 84% of those who use infographics to market their brand consider infographics as being an effective content type.
- They are extremely engaging. And the reason is that humans process visual data faster than words.
So, basically, infographics play an essential part in helping businesses provide useful, educational content to their audiences that can also add value for leads and customers.
What can you use infographics for?
You can opt for infographics to help you explain a complicated topic, show statistics that help bring insight and a better understanding regarding the value of what your business provides for customers.
Why use infographics?
Here are a few reasons to use infographics in your content marketing strategy:
- People love facts and statistics in an attractive form (enter infographics 🙌)
- Humans love the visual, and infographics are easily scanned
- The chances of an infographic becoming viral on social platforms are higher than regular text
- They help you create brand awareness
- They drive traffic to your website
- Creating an infographic proves your knowledge (due to much the needed research the creation of an infographic involves) and position you as an expert in your industry
And, here are a few tips to get you started:
- Plan your infographic like any other type of content – make sure the message is clear and it tells a story
- Come up with a good, catchy headline and just as interesting subheadings
- Opt for Canva, Piktochart, or any other visual content marketing tool to create it.
If you are looking to provide value to your leads and customers, eBooks are a great and effective type of long-form content you can do that with.
Done the right way, an ebook can be a really great lead magnet and can be the answer to your customers’ problems, wants, and needs.
But wait, what is a Lead Magnet? 🤔
A lead magnet is an incentive (a motivation) that businesses offer to potential buyers in exchange for their email address (generally), or other contact information.
Basically, what lead magnets generally offer is a piece of digital, downloadable content, like a free PDF checklist, or an eBook, whitepaper, video, and so on.
The bottom line is that your eBook should definitely provide some sort of valuable, helpful information and insight for your target audience. Your eBook should be the answer to your audience’s questions, needs, wants, and challenges.
Additionally, the goal of eBooks is to help you build a relationship and trust with your target audience so that when they are ready to make a purchase of the product/service you are selling, they pick your brand.
Here’s an example of one of the eBooks I have written, a very useful guide about Copywriting for Social Media. 👇
8. White papers
In many ways, white papers are quite similar to eBooks.
White papers are another type of long-form content that can work perfectly as a lead magnet.
What’s the main difference between eBooks and white papers?
Well, the most important difference would be the fact that white papers are generally a little bit more data-driven, as well as detail-focused. But this is also what makes whitepapers one of the best content types for B2B.
White papers are also successfully used by small businesses that are interested in building thought leadership and gain respect in their industry.
But, one of the greatest benefits of white papers is the fact that they play an important role in helping your small business gather information about new leads.
According to a 2017 content preferences survey report, 76% of buyers surveyed said they are most willing to register for and share information about themselves in exchange for white papers.
And keep in mind: the purpose of the best white papers isn’t to play the role of a marketing pitch, but to serve as a great help in meeting the needs of the target audience. So, it’s not about a hard sell, but about effectiveness.
Here’s how you can create excellent white papers:
- Find and focus on one essential subject
- Don’t be superficial with your information, opt for in-depth research
- Verifiable statistics are a must when it comes to backing up the claims you mention in your white papers
- Make sure to include charts, graphs, and pull quotes (a brief, attention-grabbing quotation taken from the main text of an article and used as a subheading or graphics feature)
- Create a clear call to action so your readers know exactly what to do next
Emails are a great content type to rely on when creating your content marketing strategy.
And when it comes to emails, email newsletters are also an excellent content type.
While email newsletters are generally used to highlight the content you’ve already created in other formats (blogs, eBooks, videos, etc), they can also be something completely new – like stand-alone content. Like this 👇
After all, emails have great ROI (Return On Investment). And that’s exactly why you can’t and shouldn’t ignore this content type.
10. GIFs & Memes
Not only that GIFs and memes have become highly popular among consumers, but they are also some of the most shareable types of content on the web today.
And just to make sure we are on the same page regarding memes, let me just describe them as images that have gone viral online or screenshots from well-known movies, along with a caption that generally says something entertaining, funny, insightful, or simply relatable.
Here’s an example of a fun meme 👇
Image Source imgflip
Just like memes, GIFs are a fun way to communicate and engage with your audience. What are GIFs? GIFs are animated images that can be shared on different social platforms and in emails.
Just in case you were wondering, yes, I do love ‘Friends’, it’s not a coincidence. 😛
11. Quizzes & Polls
Quizzes are known to be one of the most engaging content formats. And they are attention-grabbing. Besides being fun, quizzes can be an excellent way to boost your content marketing and sales. How come?
Well, for one, quizzes have a 78% completion rate and an 82% click-to-conversion rate. By going through a quiz, we may feel that we satisfy our need for introspection and self-confirmation. The result? It makes quizzes very clickable, convincing, and obviously shareable. So, quizzes should definitely be part of your content marketing strategy.
Next time you are scrolling down on social platforms and you see companies or people posting quizzes, have a look at how engaged people are. And, notice just how tempted you are to click the button and take the quiz yourself. 🤪 Just like quizzes, polls are great at boosting audience engagement and brand awareness.
Besides, having shareable, fun, and engaging content as part of your content strategy is always a great idea. Not to mention that polls are generally easy to complete which makes it even better. And if you add the fact that polls are simple and fast, and that people love participating and answering questions, the conclusion is clear: polls are great! 😉
Image Source: Twitter
What can you use polls for? You can simply use polls to gather relevant information and statistics from your industry. ‘What for?’ you may ask. Well, so that later on you could turn this valuable information into a fantastic source of exclusive content that can boost your authority in your industry.
So, try out social media polling and see its effectiveness in boosting engagement with your audience.
What are podcasts? Podcasts could simply be described as on-demand internet radio talks. The word podcast is basically a combination of the words pod and broadcast. Now, first thing first, let’s have a look at some statistics and facts regarding podcasts in 2019.
Image Source Podcast Insights
And here are some Podcast Listener Stats (USA) 👇
Image Source Podcast Insights
And here are some more statistics regarding podcasts according to the Podcast Insights:
- “70% of the US population is familiar with the term “podcasting” – up from 64% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)
- 50% of all US homes are podcast fans (Nielsen, Aug 2017)
- 51% (144 million) of the US population has listened to a podcast – up from 44% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)
- 32% (90 million) listened to a podcast in the last month – up from 26% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)
- 22% (62 million) listen to podcasts weekly – up from 17% in 2018 (Infinite Dial 19)
- 16 million people in the US are “avid podcast fans” (Nielsen Q1 2018)
- 56% of podcast listeners are Male
- 45% of monthly podcast listeners have a household income over $75K – vs 35% for the total population
- 27% of US podcast listeners have a 4-year college degree – vs 19% for US pop
- 36% of podcast listeners are non-white – vs 30% in 2010 (Nielsen, Aug 2017)”
So, it’s clear that podcasts are a great content type to engage your target audience. With podcasts, people have the possibility to access your content at their own convenience – which provides the flexibility people want and need today.
The benefits of podcasting:
- A great alternative to video (for people who aren’t comfortable in front of the camera for example, or for those who want to simply listen to educational content without actually watching a video)
- Increased traffic generation
- Podcasts are very engaging
- Help in building relationships with your target audience
- Can help in building familiarity with a wide range of audiences
- Podcasts offer advertisers the possibility to hyper-target
- Podcasts provide SEO benefits
- Podcasts can help your business get ranked in the app store
- Can improve public speaking skills (because you know… practicing makes things better 😎)
- Quite easy to create
If you are looking to start a podcast, here’s how.
13. Case Studies
What’s a case study?
Simply put, a case study is a web page that includes several basic parts, such as:
- The description of your customer’s history, needs, and pain points
- Your customer’s goal
- The hypothesis for your strategy for your customer
- The step-by-step implementation of the strategy you used to help your customer
- The results of your strategy (with a quote from the customer)
- The conclusion of the case study, what you’ve learned in the process, and how it can help other people, other customers.
Case studies are one of the most effective content types for winning over new customers.
Basically, case studies give you the chance to feature your customers and to:
- Show off what you’re doing right
- Create niche-specific content
- Build trust and authority
- Highlight your competitive advantage
The bottom line is that case studies are valuable, particularly if you have meaningful client/customer work to display in an educational, helpful, and engaging way.
Like this 👇
Image Source WPRiders
When reading an article we just love to see a relevant, contextual photo we can relate to, isn’t that right?
Well, it’s the same with your audience, too. When your consumers are searching for information online, few of them are interested in reading a huge text that completely lacks images. Actually, some people may even leave a page if it’s fully loaded only with writing.
So, make sure to split up the body of your text with some fascinating, relevant images. Why are visuals so powerful? It comes down to the way our brains receive and transmit information. Look 👇
Image Source Business 2 Community
Did you know that our brain processes image 60,000 times faster than it does written text? Also, 90% of the information sent to the brain is visual, and 93% of all human communication is visual.
This means that when you want to communicate with your audience, it’s better to do so by also including images in your communication plan.
Additionally, be aware of the fact that when an internet user is skimming your website or social profile, you’ll need to be able to communicate interesting, valuable things… and you need to do it fast. And that’s where visual content plays an essential role.
Not to mention that because of the digital content oversaturation and the increased adoption of mobile internet access, people’s attention spans are shorter than ever. As a result, the content presented only in the form of text is neither attractive nor engaging. So, make sure to consider images as a critical part of your content marketing strategy.
The great thing about stories is that they provide marketers the opportunity to connect with their customers and communities in an engaging way. Not to mention that stories are clearly on the rise, and have grown to become a key social media content preference.
Facebook Stories is one of the many exciting ways you can provide your target audience with enjoyable visual content.
Facebook Stories opens up an organic way to connect with your audience. With Stories, businesses can show their uniqueness in an easy-to-understand way. By showing your audience your brand’s behind the scenes to your audience, you allow them to get to know the people behind the company – which shows transparency and builds trust.
Image Crop via Facebook Business
How do Facebook Stories work?
When you publish a story, it appears at the top of the newsfeed on Facebook and at the top of the Messenger inbox. You can also control who sees your Stories. As a brand, you can choose to share your Stories with all of your followers or with a select few.
You need to know that Stories disappear after 24 hours and won’t automatically show up in the normal newsfeed, but you have the option to share your Facebook Story to your newsfeed as well.
How do you create a Facebook Story? Here are the simple steps you need to follow:
- Click the “Create Story” button on your Facebook app.
- Then record a video by holding down the round button. You can also create a slideshow by touching the button once.
- You have the option to edit by adding location tags, filters as well as stickers.
- Then, simply share your story by touching the + icon in the middle of the screen or share with particular users on Messenger.
Additionally, you can add camera effects to your stories. How? Simply swipe up or tap the effects icon. Facebook offers this cool selection of masks, frames, and filters.
You can also add targeted messages by selecting the text icon.
Image Crop via Spark AR Studio
The benefits of Stories:
- The placement of Stories on the platform or in messenger is one of the great benefits of Stories. Why?
Because, a post that you create for the general newsfeed might get buried by hundreds of other posts, or not show up on people’s feed at all. But when it comes to Stories, these are there at the top of the app on a mobile device and in the top right corner on a desktop.
- Stories create a sense of urgency
Stories disappear after 24 hours, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) quickly kicks in and people are much more likely to tune in and engage when they are interested in something.
- Stories get more engagement than regular posts
People have the possibility to send your brand a DM (direct message) while they are looking at a story you have posted.
- The possibility to see who has viewed each one of your Facebook Stories
By knowing who is looking at your stories will help you craft targeted stories to your audience.
- Facebook Stories bring great results
As reported by a survey, 50% of people claim that they make more online purchases as a result of Stories.
- A higher ROI
Close to 96% of advertising experts claim that Facebook provides a better ROI when compared to other social networks.
Why is Facebook Stories so popular? Because these Stories are mixing two key elements of communication: video and storytelling.
And why is it so beneficial to communicate using video and storytelling? Because:
- Storytelling gives businesses the opportunity to build relationships, sympathy, and trust with their customers
- Videos, on the other hand, play an important role in boosting engagement with easy-to-understand content
And I can’t help it to mention that there are many benefits to include storytelling in your content marketing strategy. So, I’m just gonna list some of the most important benefits of storytelling that you need to consider when working on your content marketing strategy:
- Stories share a real experience – which makes them genuine and emotionally appealing.
- Storytelling makes you unique – because you share a unique story, your very own story.
- Storytelling brings a human element to your content – which makes the story feel real and easily relatable.
- Stories draw empathy – people identify themselves with the human element of your story and manage to place themselves in the main character’s shoes.
- Storytelling doesn’t appear to be ‘salesy’ – which is exactly what makes people relax and enjoy the story as it is, without having to ‘worry’ that they are being sold something. With storytelling the sales part is indirect.
People have always been attracted to stories, and always will be. Everyone loves a good story. And that’s exactly why stories are so engaging and have the ability to capture the attention of the listener/reader. This means that storytelling is clearly a powerful content marketing tool.
AMP Stories – the 2019 Trend
What are the AMP Stories?
According to Visual Stories, “Powered by Google’s AMP technology, they are visually appealing, fast-loading, mobile-focused and search engine-friendly. Owing to features like high loading speeds, crisp content, and rich visuals, they score very high on user engagement metrics. And this has a positive effect on their search engine rankings, too. AMP Stories is the content creation format every blogger and content marketer should adopt, for this strategic shift is sure to boost user engagement and lead to business growth.”
So, you can check out the AMP Story Builder one-of-a-kind tool from Visual Stories to create AMP Stories, apparently without having to spend much time or effort. 😎
Image Crop via Visual Stories
✍️ Bottom line:
From Instagram to Facebook, to Snapchat, Stories are rising in popularity.
More and more people and businesses are switching to the Stories format with the purpose to connect with their audience in a prompt, organic way.
- Facebook Stories provides an organic way to connect with your customers.
With Stories, brands can show to their audience, to their customers what makes them unique in an easy-to-communicate way. With such Stories, you can display what’s going on behind the scenes of your business. And allowing your audience to get to know the people behind your brand is a great marketing strategy.
- Instagram Stories are great to collect customer feedback and are really engaging, not to mention fun for your audience.
Instagram Stories are not only fun and creative, but they are also great to boost engagement, build brand awareness, drive traffic to your website, and even to make sales – in one word (well 3 words actually😛): grow your business! So, all you need to do is to create a great Instagram Story.
Both Facebook and Instagram provide users the opportunity to create and share these somewhat casual posts called Stories that can help your customers get to really know your brand.
If you are still struggling with questions such as:
- Do Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories work the same way?
- Do they have the same tools or features?
- Can you post the same content you create to both channels?
… here’s a great article that explains the differences between Instagram Stories and Facebook Stories and helps you discover how to repurpose Instagram Stories for Facebook.
Just for the fun of it, have a look at the activity that takes place in just one internet minute 👇
Image Source Visual Capitalist
How can you and your business make it with such an enormous activity/minute and with such a high digital competition?
Well, I believe the only way you can make it and be successful is to stand out from the crowd. Find your USP (Unique Selling Proposition) and create your content marketing strategy around what makes your product or service different from that of the competitors. Be really creative with your approach and strategy, and with all the content you post online. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box, even when it may seem like a crazy idea.
To get more inspiration and learn more about the many content types available out there, check out this article.
Would you like to read the full Guide? Read the full guide to discover what types of content work best for you.