Content marketing is beneficial but if you’ve never considered it before you may have a tough time figuring out the different types of content you can use. Even if you’ve tried your hand at content marketing you may be stuck on how to truly get the most out of your content. It always helps to have a list of the different types of content.
Here is a list of that content as well as an explanation of the types of businesses that could benefit most from it.
1. Blog Posts
Blogging has become a popular way for businesses to communicate with customers and potential customers. This type of content marketing allows you to create a voice for your business. It also offers the flexibility of sharing other types of content within the blog. Posts can be text based, image based, video based or a combination of the three. The thing to remember about blog posts is that you have to create them with a level of consistency to keep people coming back to read your blog posts. You don’t have to post everyday but you do have to post regularly.
Businesses that could benefit:
Blog posts can work for a variety of businesses because it lets you share the type of information that works best for your audience. It’s most ideal for businesses that are information or news heavy. If you have a lot that can be shared and discussed in your blog, you won’t be at a loss for content.
2. Guest blog posts
If you aren’t interested in hosting your own blog, you can create content for other blogs. This requires you to do some research and identify blogs that are well aligned with your brand with an engaged and active following. You also have to be prepared to pitch your posts to the blog owner. In this instance you should prepare some blog post topics and possibly have some of those topics expanded into posts ready to be published. The best way to ensure that your posts are accepted and published is to take some time and familiarize yourself with the blog voice. You want to make sure your posts fit in with the blog you’re submitting them to otherwise your posts won’t be shared.
Businesses that could benefit:
As with a blog that you create yourself, guest blog posts can also work for a variety of businesses. As long as there is an active blog, you can submit guest posts to it.
3. Cartoons or comics
There was a time when cartoons and comics were reserved for younger audiences but they also provide some value to businesses interested in sharing information in a more whimsical way. Cartoons and comics can be used to explain topics that may be tough to understand or not particularly interesting overall but need to appeal to a wide audience. This is one of the forms of content being used to explain some tech products that would benefit a non-tech savvy audience. Creating a cartoon or comic can be done a few ways. You can hire a professional who can design or create a comic. You can also use a tool that will allow you to create your own cartoon. These are some websites that make it easy for you by offering a menu of characters and scenes.
a. Go Animate – http://goanimate.com/
b. Moovly – http://www.moovly.com/
c. Wideo – http://wideo.co/
Businesses that could benefit:
If your organization is targeting children or parents of children, this type of content would work well. It’s also great for creating videos about tech products, sanitation products, health products and any other kind of product that could benefit from the whimsical nature of animation.
EBooks are electronic books written to be shared online or through eReaders. They can be as short as 10 pages or as long as 150 pages. An eBook is a long form of content that is used to provide information. Sometimes there is a call to action in the book but other times it’s used as a piece of collateral to build an email list. These pieces of collateral take an extended amount of time and should be created with a plan for how it’s going to be used. An eBook can be used to discuss a topic, educate an audience or tell a story. It can also be used to do all three. You can also create how-to guides in eBook format. Businesses that could benefit: If your company is related to internet marketing or other business oriented industries, it could benefit from this type of content. It also works well for health and fitness organizations as well as any specialized niche industry. Any time you’re dealing with an audience base that appreciates information, you could benefit from creating and distributing an eBook.
Infographic is short for information graphic. It’s when a long, often complex series of statistics and information is put into an easy to read graphic format. If you create a research heavy report or document and want to share the information to a broad audience, this is an ideal way to do it. Businesses that could benefit: If your business is very statistics oriented or involves making use of complicated information, an infographic is a great way to communicate.
The great thing about video is that it can be used by any type of organization. If you’re going to use video, it has to be well planned and executed. You don’t have to go out and spends tens of thousands of dollars but if you don’t have a huge budget, it’s important that you make sure your video is good quality. It’s also important to make sure your video isn’t too long. You don’t want people to feel like they have to sit through a long video when they visit your website. Make it short and punchy while asking them to take action in some way. When it comes to video length you do have some wiggle room but not much. Ideally, your video shouldn’t be much more than 1-3 minutes. However, if you are providing valuable information, it could go up to 5-7 minutes. There are some companies that can make videos that run for as long as half an hour or longer. Don’t do that unless you’re absolutely sure your audience will tune in. Educational companies may share videos of workshops that provide instruction of some kind. In this instance, a longer video may be accepted. Businesses that could benefit: Any type of business can use video. The thing to keep in mind is to make the video valuable and not too long. If you find yourself creating a video that’s going to run for several minutes, look for ways to break it into chunks and create a series. This is a great way to have people coming back to your website consistently to gain access to all of the information you’re providing in the series.
Sometimes the best way to encourage people to become new customers is by letting your current customers sing your praises. Testimonials can be very powerful for showing the value of the product or service you are providing. The best testimonials are ones that sound and feel authentic and include specifics about your business. For example, I was in desperate need of a plumber and Jamie was willing to come to my home on a Saturday and fix my bathroom sink. Without his help, my apartment would have surely flooded! Thanks so much. As you can see that testimonial mentions a specific service and employee as well as how it was beneficial. This feels much more authentic than, I really love working with your company. You guys are the best! While both are great to share, the first one presents a very specific reason why your customer was pleased with your business. It tells potential customers why they should work with you. When you are working stand out from the competition, showing why your business is better than others is a great way to do that. Businesses that could benefit: If your business offers a specific product or service, it could benefit from this type of content. It’s best to make sure your testimonials reference specific benefits that were gained from using your products or services. You want them to sell your business, not just tell people how cool you are.
8. Livestream Video
This type of video content is different from other video because it is usually centered on a specific event or occasion. There is some planning that must be done, but it usually involves simply setting up a camera to record while other things are going on around it. You do want to make sure whatever you’re live streaming will provide value to your audience, but it’s usually expected that this will be long form video. You have to ensure that your video is good quality as well as your internet connection to ensure that the stream isn’t broken while the video is airing. The best way to take the most advantage of this type of video is to stream it and capture it to be used at a later date. You can repurpose the streamed video and share snippets of it on your website after the event is over. This video serves two purposes. It brings an audience to your website while the video is being live streamed and provides an opportunity for additional page views if you decide to share the video after the event. Businesses that could benefit: If your organization hosts workshops, seminars, panel discussions or other educational presentations, it could benefit from livestreaming those events. This is a great way for conferences to expose a portion of the event to people who couldn’t attend to encourage them to attend the next time it takes place. It also helps with securing speakers and presenters. If they know their talk may be featured on the web, they may be more willing to be a part of your event for free or at a reduced cost.
If you don’t have the budget to create a video or aren’t comfortable being on camera, you can put together a podcast. This is an audio only form of content that you can use to educate, inform or entertain your audience. You can make it a one-time occurrence or an ongoing podcast series. When it comes to length of podcasts, it’s much more liberal than video. People tend to treat podcasts like radio shows which can run for several hours at a time. While you shouldn’t create podcasts that run for several hours, you can do them for anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes. Depending on how compelling your discussion is people will gladly tune in to a 90 minute podcast. Creating podcasts are a bit easier than creating video but it still takes an element of planning and an investment in a good quality recording system. You need a good microphone, the ability to capture audio and an audio editing program. You can host the podcast on your own web server or use a service. It’s best to use one of the services that make it possible for you to make your podcast available to a larger audience while featuring it on your website as well.
b. Podomatic – http://www.podomatic.com
c. Podbean – http://www.podbean.com/
d. Podcast Garden – http://www.podcastgarden.com/h/en/
Those are just a few of the tools available that make it possible for you to host your podcast through a service. You should definitely take some time and research to find the one that best serves your needs. Businesses that could benefit: Niche oriented businesses with a specialized focus would benefit most from a podcast. Your audience has to have a strong interest in whatever topic you’re discussing to tune in for 30 minutes or more. Entertainment and pop culture based companies could also benefit from a podcast.
10. Case studies
These are a little different from testimonials because they’re written in a more official context and format. This is a great way to highlight how your business executed a solution to a problem from start to finish. It can demonstrate the layers that come with operating a business and successfully working with clients. Case studies are best when they’re no more than a page and a half long. You should keep it brief, and focus on the who, what, why, when, and how of the situation for your clients. You want to show your potential clients what they can expect when working with you. Businesses that could benefit: Case studies are great for new businesses with a service focus. It allows you to present your methodologies and work process while marketing your business. One of the hesitations customers may have with trying a new business may be knowing whether it is worth the investment. Case studies can help you demonstrate your worth using a practical example.
11. User Generated Content
This is content that you invite your customers to create and share on your behalf. This is a great way to engage your customers and turn them into marketing representatives for your company. You can invite them to create product demonstrations, reviews or posts about how much they love your product or service. It may require an extra level of management to ensure that this type of content reflects your brand properly. In some cases, it’s not a good idea to try to regulate user-generated content too much because that will discourage people from creating it. You should really consider your audience before actively encouraging this type of content. Make sure they will make content that you’ll want to have representing your brand.
Businesses that could benefit: This type of content is great for any type of product or customer service heavy business. For example, if you have a tech product, you could invite users to create how to guides or product demonstrations. You could also benefit from this type of content if you have a sporting product that you’re selling. Inviting users to create videos showing cool ways they use your product can really help with sales. Any type of product that has a specialized use can benefit from user- generated content.
That’s a pretty comprehensive list of the different types of content you could use in a content marketing campaign. However, it’s always a good idea to keep an eye out for other forms of content. The thing that makes content marketing valuable is that it’s only limited by your own imagination. As long as you don’t let your creativity overshadow your product or service, you can explore as many options as you want.
Although there are some businesses that would benefit most from certain pieces of content, you shouldn’t limit yourself. If you see a form of content that you want to use for your business, do it. The key is to ensure that you commit to the process of creating the piece of content and keep the quality as high as possible.
If you are a new business and want to livestream a nontraditional event like a new product unveiling or the opening of a new office, go for it. As long as you have a plan for how the content will help your business, you should do it. With content marketing, your ultimate goal is to increase sales for your business. However, you have the ability to be creative about how you reach that goal.
Now that you have some insight into the different types of content you can create, you have to make sure that your content has a clear objective. Yes your overall objective is to increase sales but how you do that must be decided in advance. There are four objectives you should choose from when creating content.
1. Content that entertains Do you want your content to be entertaining? If so, you need to look for a creative way to accomplish that objective. This is the type of content that you create to be shared. It can be funny or just very interesting. Since what’s considered entertaining can be subjective, it’s best to commit to your concept to ensure that it comes across effectively.
2. Content that persuades Do you want to convince your audience of something? Using your content to persuade is a great way to let it work for you long after it’s been created and shared. You should make sure your persuasive message is consistent throughout the content.
3. Content that educates Do you want to provide value to your audience by educating them? People often appreciate it when you enlighten them about something and help them increase their level of knowledge on a topic. Educational content can always be valuable well after it’s been created and shared initially. Do your best to make sure the educational information you provide is as timeless as possible. You want to be able to use your content for as much time as possible.
4. Content to sell or convert There is some content you create solely for the purpose of turning potential customers into actual customers. It’s perfectly fine to use content solely for this purpose but if you do, it must include a clear call to action.
While there are four distinct objectives, it’s entirely possible to combine them when you’re creating content. However, it’s important that you have a clear purpose with the content. You don’t want to create content with a muddled objective. This is why it’s important to plan your content before it’s created and shared. This allows you to ensure that your objective is clear and that the content does its job effectively.