10 Types of Content and How to Use Them

Content is king, and for a good reason.

Content marketing helps increase traffic to your website, improve brand awareness and build authority in your industry. Content gets you more leads, better conversions, and increases your sales.

Not all content is the same. Blogging may first come to mind when you think of content marketing, but many types of content are worth using.

Today we’re going to cover 10 popular content types and how you can use them as part of your content marketing, as well as best practices to follow. 

1. Blog posts

Blog posts are a popular form of content and a great way to cover relevant topics your target audience is searching for.

Blogging allows you to provide value to your readers, rank for valuable keywords, and drive more conversions to your products or services. 

Blog posts are a popular form of content as they are highly shareable. In addition, blog posts can drive organic traffic and conversions for years after being published.

Writing great blog posts starts with choosing great topics. Having an in-depth understanding of your target audience helps. Another essential step to find blog topics is keyword research. Keyword research allows you to determine the search volume of queries and how competitive they are. 

To get the most out of your blog posts, optimize them for on-page SEO. This includes targeting a focus keyword, writing meta tags, URLs, and writing the most comprehensive content possible for the search intent of users.

2. White papers

White papers are documents that provide detailed information about complex topics.

White papers often include statistics and cite studies to help readers understand a problem and the solution. The white paper will include a call to action to a product or service as a solution to the problem.

Along with helping readers solve complex industry problems, white papers also establish you as a thought-leader in your industry. 

Overall white papers are great for generating leads, especially high-quality ones that require a longer sales cycle.

White papers are among the more expensive and time-consuming types of content to create because of the amount of research required to write them.

White papers usually follow a standard format of a title, abstract, problem statement, background, solution, and references.

To write a great white paper, ensure the topic is one people care about. Keep it professional and relatively formal. Write a strong introduction. Don’t be salesy. Instead, focus on presenting solutions to problems.

3. Videos

Video is an increasingly popular form of content. Most web traffic today is goes to video. In many cases, people will watch videos of products before making a purchase.

Since video is not going anywhere, it may very well be a content type for your company worth investing in.

There are many types of video content, including YouTube videos, which could be vlogs, case studies, educational videos, or interviews. Animated explainer videos are another popular type of video content.

Using a platform like YouTube is a great way to start building video content. Alternatively, you can host the video content on Vimeo or your website. 

Video content, just like other content, is about providing value to people in an engaging way and customized for the audience it’s for.

The length of video content depends on the type. An explainer video may only require 60 to 180 seconds, while an interview on YouTube could be 30 minutes or more.

Include a clear call to action at the end of your videos.

4. Ebooks

Ebooks are electronic books, often offered as downloadable PDFs. 

Ebooks are a great way to get into detail about a specific topic and provide a lot of value to your readers. They also help to establish you as an industry authority and thought leader.

In terms of marketing, ebooks offer an excellent opportunity to build your email list. The most common way to do this is to offer your ebook as a download at the end of a blog post in exchange for a user’s email.

Like a white paper or a blog post, ebooks should primarily focus on providing value and answering questions rather than selling. Leave the selling for a call to action at the end. 

To write an ebook that gets results, choose a strong title and design a beautiful cover. The title and cover are what primarily determine whether one will download your ebook. 

Since ebooks are typically longer than other content types, break up content with bullet points, graphs, and images to keep users engaged.

5. Long-form content

Long-form content is content that has a long word count. This type of content is great for covering topics in detail.

Most blog posts are somewhere between 500 to 2,500 words. Long-form content could be 5,000 words, 10,000 words, or even 15,000 words.

This content is more like an ebook than a blog post, often divided into chapters, but is often published on websites like a blog post. 

Long-form content establishes authority, and you can provide answers to your target audiences’ questions all in one post.

However, more words aren’t necessarily better. Not all content should be long-form. A topic that only requires 1,000 words to be comprehensive shouldn’t be longer for no reason.

Every word must count, so only write 10,000 words for a topic if 10,000 words are required to cover it comprehensively.

6. Case studies

In marketing, a case study is a piece of content that describes how your service or product has helped previous customers solve their problems.

Case studies are beneficial because they show that your services or products are legitimate and worthwhile (because other people have used them and got results). This builds trust. 

When writing your case study, choose a specific angle, but write it in a way that’s relatable for all of your target audience.

Using data and statistics is an integral part of a good case study. Numbers matter when you’re discussing the results you got for a client for something like a PPC campaign or a weight loss journey.

Tell the story of how you helped a client from the beginning to end to get results and describe specific instances where you supported them.

Better yet, let your customers speak for themselves with a video or have them write a testimonial.

Lastly, provide actionable steps for how your readers can also go about replicating the results (which could be a call to action to enquire).

7. Listicles

Listicles, also known as list posts, start with a number in the title (just like this article).

Listicles are one of the most popular content types as they are easy to skim through, unlike lengthy articles.

They are highly shareable and easy to read. Users can quickly find the information they’re looking for without having to think too hard.

You’ll find that a lot of top-performing content in search engine results is in a listicle format.

To write the best listicles possible, use an odd number. Studies have shown that odd numbers perform better, such as 5, 7, 11, 15.

The exception is 10, which appears to be the best performing number.

When it comes to listicles, the title is everything, so focus on writing a good one—accurate, compelling, and not clickbaity.

Make your listicles skimmable and easy to digest, add images where possible to improve engagement, and don’t forget to write an introduction and conclusion.

8. How to guides

How to guides are similar to blog posts, but they are instructional, which is why they start with “how to”. Variations of the title could include “the complete guide to” or “the ultimate guide to.” 

How to guides are one of the best performing types of content next to listicle posts. People are always searching for how to do stuff – e.g. “how to fix a samsung refrigerator” and “how to do keyword research.”

They perform exceptionally well for SEO, as many people search for keywords like “how to fix a samsung refrigerator.”

How to content is excellent for providing value and establishing yourself as an authority in your industry. You must know what you’re talking about to instruct people to do something with accuracy.

When writing how to content, it’s essential to write concisely so the guide doesn’t drag on longer than it needs to be.

It’s also important to write using simple language so that your readers don’t get overwhelmed with excessive jargon, especially if they’re beginners. Use biteable paragraphs and relevant images to illustrate your instructions better.

9. Infographics

Infographics are images, charts, and minimal text collected together that provide an accessible overview of a topic.

They are one of the most popular content types because they provide a lot of information in a digestible way. They’re easy to look at, fun, engaging, and great for visual learners. 

Infographics are also a great way to build backlinks organically. It’s the type of content people naturally link to.

This content type also performs very well on most social media platforms, including LinkedIn, Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram, depending on your target audience and business.

To create the best infographics, keep them simple and easy to scan through. Unless you’re a designer by trade, hire a professional to design them. 

Write a captivating title, and keep the overall text as concise as possible.

10. Press releases

A press release is an announcement published on your site or more commonly sent to media to be re-distributed. It’s a great way to attract publicity to your company. 

There are different types of press releases with unique purposes.

Some discuss new product launches; others talk about events, new hires, acquisitions, re-branding, and awards.

They help establish you as an industry leader, reach a larger audience and build relationships with media.

The standard format for a press is as follows: company name and logo, release date, the headline, the subheading, the dateline, the lead, the body, the boilerplate, the end, contact details.

To write a great press release, be sure to follow a standard structure and understand the angle you’re going to cover. Write a compelling headline that gets attention, and write the press release in a way that would compel members of the media to share it.

How to choose the best content type

The best way to figure out which content to create is to spy on your competitors.

The aim here is to see what type of content your close competitors are consistently posting. Chances are, the content that’s working for your close competitors will work for you.

For many businesses, a blog is a great place to start. Depending on your target audience, resources, and competitors, adding other types of content such as white papers and videos may be a good idea.

For example, many B2B SaaS companies focus on SEO content and white papers. If you’re a SaaS company, this could be an excellent place to start.

Lastly, remember to consider how your content will work together. For example, a blog post’s call to action could be to an ebook or white paper. Infographics can be placed within a blog post or shared separately on social media. See what your competitors are getting results with, and replicate it.

The bottom line

Content marketing is a great way to grow your business. But not all content types will be suitable for your business. Hopefully, this list gave you some ideas.

Successful content marketing is all about consistency. Stay consistent with the content you publish.

Don’t forget to constantly assess the results of your content, and re-invest into the content that’s helping achieve content marketing KPIs you’ve set.

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