Reel in new audiences, build brand awareness, and increase conversions by experimenting with different types of content marketing.
Here, you’ll find:
- A comprehensive list of the top types of content marketing
- Benefits of content marketing for your business
- Best practices for utilizing multiple types of content marketing
- Pros and cons of outsourcing content production
When you think about content marketing, your mind likely goes straight to blogs. But content marketing is so much more than listicles and how-to guides.
Considering that the average reader only spends 37 seconds reading a blog, you may be doing your company a disservice if you’re not investigating other types of content marketing.
Let’s talk about some of the most common types of content and how they can bring big results to your business.
The top types of content marketing
- Case studies
- White papers
- Interactive content
The 4 major types of content marketing
When creating your content marketing strategy, it’s best to consider several types of content. Here are four of the most common forms of content you’ll come across. (Bonus: these also tend to perform well for businesses of all sizes and industries.)
Blog content is arguably the most well-known form of content marketing — and for good reason. Blogs and articles are an effective way to provide valuable information to your target audience, while improving your rankings in the search engine results pages (SERP).
But here’s the thing: While writing a blog here or there might seem like a quick and easy way to pull in some organic traffic (we wish!), it takes a great deal of strategy and stellar writing to stand out from the millions of other articles floating around the web.
So if you plan to start or improve your blog, focus a significant portion of your efforts on long-form content. Long-form articles (generally those with over 1,000 words) tend to perform better than short-form pieces, and longer pieces get 77% more backlinks than shorter articles.
You don’t have to be restricted to creating blog content for your own website. Connect with other bloggers in your industry and ask about creating guest content. You’ll be able to take advantage of an audience that’s already engaged, and continue proving your industry authority.
Video marketing has been a major trend for several years now, and there doesn’t appear to be a slowdown coming anytime soon. A whopping 91% of businesses currently use video content as a marketing tool – the highest figure to date.
Videos can cover nearly any topic you desire. Take your audience behind the scenes of your company or provide a step-by-step tutorial about one of your new products. Film a short question-and-answer session with your company’s president or highlight a success story with a video case study. You can even consider live streaming to increase engagement even further.
Your videos don’t have to be long-winded to be effective. In fact, short clips are incredibly effective at increasing engagement on social media thanks to their inherent sharability. Plus, according to HubSpot, 73% of consumers prefer to watch short-form videos over their long-form counterparts.
Videos are ideal for adding a unique element to any online channel. They can be shared on social media, included in emails or newsletters, or featured on a landing page for a product or service.
3. Case studies
When a customer thinks about purchasing from you, they need more than just your word about how great your product is. Potential customers want proof, which is why case studies are so effective.
Case studies allow you to highlight your company’s success stories, outlining exactly how you served a client and the benefits they reaped as a result. When audiences can see your company in action (instead of hearing about your results secondhand), they’re much more likely to be convinced of your value to them.
Infographics are particularly flexible, so you can use them again and again. Post an infographic on its own as a social media post or include it within a relevant blog post.
Infographics are often used for communicating statistics or other information that’s harder to interpret through large blocks of text. But they can also be handy for providing checklists or how-tos.
If you find it difficult to come up with new social media content, infographics can be helpful. They’re inherently engaging thanks to their unique format, and they’re relatively easy to create, especially if you’re using information or statistics that you’ve already compiled for another piece of content.
Less common yet effective types of content marketing
The content formats we’ve just discussed aren’t the extent of your options. There are nearly endless ways to connect with your audiences through your content. If you want to explore your options, here are a few more formats to consider.
5. White papers
Publishing your own research or providing your expertise on a topic in your industry is key to setting your business apart from the competition. White papers are popular avenues for providing in-depth discussion and analysis to capture your audience’s attention.
White papers are often created by an industry’s thought leaders, making them an appealing avenue when you want to enhance your brand’s reputation. While white papers do take more time and effort than some other forms of content, they’re likely to remain relevant for much longer than a short social media post.
If you don’t need a visual element to get your point across, a podcast might be a great digital marketing tool for your business. You can discuss relevant trends in your industry, bring in authorities in the field for interviews, or talk about updates your company is going through.
Even if you don’t want to start a podcast yourself, you can still take advantage of this medium. Reach out to successful podcasters in your industry and see if you can secure a guest spot. You’ll be able to explore a new form of content without making too much of an investment on your part, and you can reach a portion of your audience you may have previously been missing.
7. Interactive content
For many companies, one of the main goals of content marketing is to increase audience engagement. That’s why interactive content is becoming more and more popular.
When you read a blog post or watch a video, you’re engaged to an extent, but it’s much easier for the mind to wander. Interactive content such as quizzes, tools, games, and webinars can keep users engaged for much longer and make your brand more memorable.
Interactive content can be fun and informal, which brings a breath of fresh air to your online presence. It provides a chance for you to engage with your audience and ensure that your company’s name sticks in their heads.
5 content marketing best practices
1. Meet your audience where they are
Our first best practice comes straight from HawkSEM Client Success Manager Brandi Harvey. Here’s her advice for getting your content to the right readers:
“There is a ton of research that points to which demographics hang out in various digital spaces, so tapping into that information can inform business owners as to the best place to start. As the company grows, it’s a good idea to consider expanding that reach into new channels, when bandwidth is available.”
On top of being in the right space to reach your audience, you also have to meet them where they are in terms of the purchasing process.
Turning potential customers into dedicated followers starts with understanding what your audience really wants. Where are your audience members on their customer journey? Those who are only beginning to learn about your brand may benefit from more straightforward informational content, while those who are already active in the industry might be drawn to more niche topics.
2. Create a content calendar
Your content strategy will have a lot of moving parts, and quality content can’t be created overnight. A content calendar can help you and your team ensure nothing falls through the cracks.
Your content calendar can be as broad or detailed as you need it to be. You might put every piece of content into the same calendar, or you may have different calendars for your social media marketing efforts, your email outreach attempts, and the like. Just don’t forget to account for important aspects of content creation such as outlining, editing, and reviewing performance once your content is live.
Don’t let the thought of creating a content calendar overwhelm you. There are plenty of content calendar templates across the internet to give you a head start.
3. Handle trending topics carefully
Whether it’s the latest TikTok trend, internet meme, or news story, there’s always something fresh happening. Capitalize on the topics that are getting major traffic to get your audience engaged with your brand.
“Trendy” content can be successful almost anywhere online, but proceed with caution. Here’s an insight from Harvey:
“Most channels can see engagement with trending topics. Catch those trending topics quickly. If you have a marketing team that you trust to stay in brand, empower them to jump on trends, memes, and topics quickly to make the most of them.
Remember Bernie Sanders at the inauguration? That trend swept through like wildfire and died quickly, and marketing teams that had to wade through approval after approval missed the wave. The same can happen with trending topics.”
So, which forms of content lend themselves best to these ever-changing topics? Here’s her take:
“For topics that are likely to get stale quickly, short-form video that can be produced quickly offers the best results. Instagram, Facebook, and even LinkedIn are also great for quick turnaround on quickly fading topics. Just be sure to include images or videos to stand out and help your content catch the eyes of your audience.”
4. Clearly define your goals
Imagine you’re planning to spend a few hours cleaning your house, but you haven’t defined what you want to accomplish by the end of the day. How do you know where to start? How do you know when you’re done?
Your digital marketing efforts follow the same logic. If you don’t set clear goals for your campaigns, you won’t be able to determine how successful your efforts are. The goals you aim for and the metrics you track may vary with each campaign, but it’s important to define them each time.
You might use your content strategy to achieve goals like:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Attracting new customers
- Increasing revenue
- Improving customer retention
- Building your email list or social media following
This list is only intended as a starting point. When you’re defining your goals, use the SMART method. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. That’s why goals like “secure 100 new customers by the end of Q2” are much more valuable than broad aims like “get new buyers.”
5. Let your audience help
You don’t have to come up with every piece of content from scratch. For instance, testimonials from satisfied customers are excellent for posting on social media, and they take very little effort on your part.
Plus, there’s no question about their effectiveness: nearly 90% of online shoppers use reviews to help them make purchasing decisions. This statistic is just one example of social proof in action.
User-generated content (UGC) can keep your audience involved and make your content strategy that much easier to execute. Encourage your customers or followers to share pictures or videos of themselves benefitting from your brand’s offerings. Gather reviews or ask for sound bytes to include in a podcast episode.
Working with your audience to create content benefits everyone involved. Customers feel heard and can start to build a community with their peers, and your company learns what its audience truly thinks and values.
Should you outsource content marketing?
It goes without saying that you want to create and distribute the best content possible. But with so many other responsibilities in the day-to-day of your job, focusing on content creation can easily get pushed on the back burner.
To ensure your company has consistent, high-quality content, you might consider outsourcing your content marketing efforts.
If you do decide to handle your content marketing tasks in-house, you still don’t have to do it alone. Platforms like LinkedIn offer free resources to help you improve your efforts and see a better return on your investment. You can also find marketing platforms to help you automate emails, improve your SEO rankings, enhance your video production, and more.
You can also pair with HawkSEM to take advantage of our ConversionIQ technology, which provides actionable insights based on real-time data to help you make the most of your marketing campaigns.
Content marketing comes in many forms, and they each have their own distinct advantages. Don’t be afraid to experiment with your options to discover which forms of content are most effective and rewarding for both your company and your audience.
If you’re not sure where to start or want to revamp your current content strategy, HawkSEM can help. Our content marketing services help set your brand apart from the crowd through keyword analysis, content planning, SEO strategies, and more. Contact our team today to learn how we can help.