If you’re reading this article, you probably already know that producing good content is essential if you want to grow a following and bring in relevant leads to your business. According to Hubspot’s 2023 “State of Marketing Report,” content marketing is a top priority for 80% of marketers, and this is no surprise when you consider that value-added content is one of the best ways to attract, engage, and educate your prospects, bringing them closer to becoming signed-up clients and customers.
While there are scores of different types of content you can produce (including blogs, social media posts, infographics, landing pages, webinars, podcasts, and more), most companies stick to just a few – blogs, for example – and keep churning out the same content formats month after months. Even if your blogs are informative, interesting, and of high quality, you may still be missing out if you adopt this approach.
And it all boils down to simple preference. Some people love to take their time plowing through a lengthy article full of helpful tips and examples. Others just want the basic facts straight up. Some love words and some prefer pictures. Some salivate over diagrams, graphs, and numbers, while others want their information delivered in sentences and paragraphs. Some don’t want to read at all. The only hope you have of reaching those people is through images and video. When you vary the types of content you produce, you can reach and inspire more people.
What are the different types of content?
There are so many different types of content, and there are so many different ways to deliver these types. Content is an area where marketers and writers can go wild, dream up new ideas and formats, and even develop an easily recognizable content style specifically for their brand.
Let’s look at some of the bread-and-butter types of content you should start producing for your business.
White Papers, eBooks, and Reports
Goal: Establish Expertise and Authority
Generally written in a more formal or even “academic” style, the goal of these content forms is to establish a high level of expertise and industry knowledge. Utilizing multiple types of content writing will help position the company as a thought leader or influencer in a particular field.
Usually between 3,000 to 5,000 words long, these meatier pieces of content are often distributed as downloadable PDFs on websites and are very useful as lead magnets.
While white papers, ebooks, and reports take considerable time and effort to research and write, they tend to make the effort worthwhile. Research shows how effective they are at building trust and establishing authority with the desired audience.
Goal: Showcase Knowledge, Increase Reach, and Search Engine Rankings
This is the first type of content writing most people think of, and the most dominant form marketers use to attract business to the company’s website. HubSpot research shows that businesses that regularly publish quality blogs are 13 times more likely to increase their ROI. Blogs can be between 500 to 2000+ words long. As they are written to be read on a screen, it’s a good idea to divide blogs up into chunks using interesting headings, lists, and bullet points so they can be easily scanned for the relevant information.
Well-written, informative blogs that answer questions and address difficulties commonly experienced by your audience are among the most effective ways to drive organic traffic to your site. They are also a great way to showcase your authority and experience.
Paying attention to good SEO practices, such as using links and keywords, will also help you increase blog traffic and raise your profile on search engines.
Goal: Break Down Complex Information into Bite-sized, Visual Chunks
Infographics are visual representations of information and statistics. They appeal to people who don’t like reading lengthy articles and want a quick visual summary of the main facts. Done well, infographics can make complicated facts much easier to understand and digest. Research suggests that infographics are also thirty times more likely to be read and absorbed than longer texts. As an added bonus, they are relatively quick to create.
Email Newsletter/Nurturing Campaigns
Goal: Stay in Touch and Build Relationships with Prospects
Emails land directly in your prospects’ inboxes and offer an important way to stay in touch, build relationships, and notify your audience of offers, developments, and specific messages you want to share.
Instead of writing a new email each time there is something to say, many businesses invest in creating email nurturing campaigns for specific purposes. These can be written upfront and then set up within an email management system to be triggered in response to certain events, like when a user fills out a form or downloads an ebook on your website. The most effective emails are simple and short with a catchy headline.
Goal: Make Your Message Accessible and Easy to Absorb
A 2-minute marketing video can do a brilliant job of explaining your company’s values or core message in a format that will not induce fatigue, boredom, or confusion. Many people will earmark a blog or longer piece of content for reading later (and never go back to it!) but they will watch a quick video and absorb the message rapidly. Video scripts can be written by content writers and sent to professional video producers to create the finished product.
Content for different stages of the funnel
Another factor you should consider when deciding what type of content pieces to produce is the phase of the customer journey you wish to target.
Prospects in the early discovery phase may just be becoming aware of your company and how it could potentially offer solutions to their problems. At this stage, informational content that provides background information and explains how you can help is appropriate. You can use multiple types of digital content, such as informative blog posts, guides, explainer videos, and instructive webinars.
Further down the funnel, when prospects are getting more interested in buying, case studies and industry reports are more helpful in showing concrete evidence of your achievements and effectiveness. They may also appreciate articles that compare your offerings to those of popular alternatives (i.e. your competitors).
Before you start brainstorming content creation ideas, think about its purpose, the audience you want to attract, and what stage of their buying journey they are at. This will help you create targeted content with a higher chance of success.
Multiple types of content to get the most out of your chosen topic
When you understand the different types of content and how they are used, you can plan different campaigns to help you attract, connect with, and inspire your different audience segments.
To help you see how this might work in action, let’s pretend I own and operate “Gins R Us” – a boutique online liquor store. This month I plan on promoting some of my specialized European Gins, and I need quality content to back me up.
Content creation ideas in action
Here are five content creation ideas that will not only help me establish my authority in the gin world but also widely advertise my online store, start some lively engagement on social media, and, quite possibly, get me new clients:
- The Ebook
- The Blog Post or Series of Blogs Posts
- The Infographic
- The Video
1. The Ebook
With the proliferation of online content today, some people don’t have the time to consume a lot of information in one sitting and thus favor shorter forms of content. This is where an ebook can be a valuable asset for your business.
Yes, it’s a lengthy project that will take time and effort to create, but once you’ve done the initial work, you can repurpose the information to make lots of smaller blogs, infographics, images, and posts for your social media. Your efforts will be well repaid. An ebook is also a great way to showcase your in-depth knowledge and expertise in a particular field, thereby building up the trust of your audience.
For my online alcohol business, an ebook is an excellent way for me to show my mastery over the subject of alcoholic drinks and make myself the go-to resource for all things gin.
I’ve decided to create a very detailed book with the following sections:
- The history of gin-making
- Reasons why gin is making a revival
- A summary of how gin is made
- A rundown of some unique ingredients that can add extra spice
I’ll also throw in a comparison chart of various European gins, positive reviews, and great gin recipes. I’ll add a discount coupon code at the back too, and I’ll ask people to provide their email addresses so I can send it to them by email while growing my list at the same time. It’s going to be a cracker of a book, and of course, it will help me sell more gin
2. The Blog Post or Series of Blogs Posts
As amazing as my ebook will be, many of my potential customers will never get around to reading it (although many will download it with the intention of reading it at some point). For these people, bite-sized chunks of content will be more palatable. All that hard work I did researching my ebook has not been wasted, however, because with just a little bit of added time and effort, I can use all that information to write a series of shorter blog posts.
I plan on having one blog about the best ways to make a gin and tonic, another about the gin scene in Europe, another about flavored gins, and another with gin recipes. If I stagger the publication of each post and promote each one multiple times on my different social media channels, I’ll have enough content to last for ages. All from one piece of research. Smart!
3. The Infographic
An infographic is a visual snapshot that conveys tons of information in an at-a-glance format. It’s quick and memorable, and people will likely save these on their phones or disseminate them on social media.
I will do a simple infographic showcasing four festive gin and tonic recipes to wow the guests at your New Year’s Eve party. There will be simple illustrations of the ingredients and a few words to explain the process. The result will be pleasing to look at, informative, and imminently saveable and shareable. My logo and URL will feature prominently, of course.
4. The Video
No matter how short your blog posts are, they will still be too long for some people. Enter the video. Producing a video might sound daunting, but it doesn’t have to be a professional production a la Hollywood. With your humble smartphone, you can easily create a video that’s worthy of your Facebook Live, Snapchat, or Instagram Story.
For my Gins R Us social media channels, I’m going to run a series of videos showing how to make different cocktails using my gins. I’ll add a new video each week in the build-up to New Year’s, and I’ll add a coupon code in my social media feed so people can buy at a discount from my online store. It’s such a simple project that I might even get my nephew to do it for me.
I’m creating all this great content to attract people to my website and allow them to learn about my brand, but I also need to communicate with them directly and start building relationships with my customers. I have several plans for using email to this end.
First off, I’ll create a monthly newsletter advertising gins I want to promote that month as well as special offers and in-store events. Next, I’ll try and deliberately grow my email list. As well as a contact form on the website where customers can enter their details to join my loyalty club and mailing list, I also offer my downloadable ebook in exchange for an email address.
These strategies will help me collect email addresses from an interested audience and grow my relevant customer base. I’ll use a solution like Mailchimp to help me capture these addresses and trigger email sequences that allow me to stay in touch with my new audience and take the relationship to the next level. I may outsource this task to an external agency, as running a gin business solo is taking up a lot of my time!
Choose the Types of Content That Will Work for You
Quite simply, different types of content appeal to different audiences and can be used to achieve different purposes. To ensure your content has the widest possible reach, you need to think about how to create valuable content in multiple ways on a regular basis.
If this sounds daunting, remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel each time and can always repurpose some of your existing content – as Emily wrote in her fab blog post about the benefits of repurposing content.
If content isn’t your thing, and you’ve read this post in panic wondering how on earth you’re going to come up with multiple types of content, then sweat less and know that Purple Chia can do all the hard work for you. Content experts specializing in quality content creation, Purple Chia’s goal is to create content you can be proud of. Reach out to learn more about our content marketing packages and how we can help grow your business through the written word.