Online content has increased by leaps and bounds in recent years. Now, in addition to website text, marketers might suggest that you create blog posts, white papers, e-books and more for your company — but what are all these different content types?
Here’s a quick breakdown of the different types of digital content and their value for brands:
Blogs are a great marketing tool — if they weren’t, I wouldn’t be writing this right now. With a well-kept blog, you can drive traffic to your site, start conversations with your customers and fuel your social media posts. There are several common types of blog posts, including listicles, how-tos, op-eds and thought leadership.
A well-kept blog can drive traffic to your site, start conversations with your customers and fuel your social media channels.
When most people think of listicles — short for “list articles” — they think of sites like Buzzfeed. While the pop culture media site is surely a champion of the listicle, just about any company can benefit from this type of content. Lists are easy to read and digest, so they’re a great way to concisely present information to your readers.
Another common blog form is the how-to. These are instructional pieces, and they’re especially good for attracting visitors to your website from search engines. You can write a how-to article on just about anything, from “How to Clean Your Cat’s Ears” to “How to Write Better Social Media Posts.”
If you have strong opinions about a topic that’s relevant to your readers, you may benefit from posting a few op-eds. The term was coined by newspapers, but it now applies to online content, too. An op-ed is your chance to express your well-formed opinions, and it’s sure to grab the attention of readers who share your stance.
Perhaps the most challenging type of blog post to master, thought leadership is the latest frontier in blogging. The biggest brands invest lots of money in thought leadership blog posts written by industry experts — they want to predict upcoming trends and push the boundaries of industry thought before their competitors do. When done right, thought leadership will establish your company as a trustworthy pioneer in your field.
White papers are more complex than blog posts. Hubspot says that “a whitepaper is a persuasive, authoritative, in-depth report on a specific topic that presents a problem and provides a solution.” In more casual terms, white papers are longer form thought leadership pieces that help businesses solve problems, and they generally lean heavily on research. The value of white papers is that they are often gated — readers have to provide contact information to get access to the content — and this is a valuable way to gather sales leads.
E-books are similar to white papers, but they rely more heavily on imagery. They’re essentially picture books for adults, and they lend themselves especially well to visual industries or visual presentation of research. Like white papers, e-books are typically gated, allowing you to collect information from qualified leads.
If you have a really impressive client win that you want to share, you could probably use a case study. These are recounts of your work with a specific client — the things you helped them with and the results they saw as a result. Case studies are a great way to grab the interest of potential customers by tempting them with your success record.
The beauty of infographics is that they’re easy to read and easy to share.
Infographics are my favorite. They’re visuals that tell a story with the help of supporting statistics. The beauty of infographics is that they’re easy to read and easy to share. Infographics typically perform well on social sites, so if your audience is especially active on social media, you may want to invest in some infographics.
Video marketing strategies are extremely popular in today’s digital environment. Modern audiences have short attention spans, and it’s a struggle to get people to sit down long enough to read through blog posts. That’s why marketers are turning to various forms of video to engage and entice readers. Search Engine Watch explains that there are several forms of video marketing, including tutorials, testimonials, culture vids and automation.
Last on my list is the lovely podcast — think radio talk shows that you host on your website. The nice thing about podcasts is that they’re more affordable to create than videos. However, because there’s no visual component, you better make sure your content is riveting, otherwise no one will sit through your episodes. There are modern podcasts that are widely popular, so they can definitely be a lucrative marketing venture if done right.
While this is not a comprehensive list of all digital content types, it’s enough to get you started on your new and improved content marketing strategy. If you need help or advice, feel free to contact me!