Content marketing is a powerful way to reach a wider audience and draw new customers into your business. But to make it work, the focus needs to be more on the content and less on marketing.
Over 70 per cent of readers say they’re turned off when content is a thinly-disguised sales pitch.
Let’s look at the different types of content marketing and how to use them most effectively.
What is Content Marketing?
“Content” covers a range of different forms of information, from the written word to live video. Content marketing is the process of using this content, which provides useful information to your audience, to market your business.
This marketing can be explicit, such as a sales pitch embedded in a video or a promotional spot at the beginning of a podcast, or it can be passive. Passive marketing means you don’t try to sell to your audience but instead rely on the quality of your content to create positive feelings and trust.
Ideally, your content marketing strategy will strike a balance between the two. If you sell too hard in your content, it’s likely to turn off some of your audience but it’s also not a good idea to never pitch them anything.
The Content Creation Process
The content creation process starts well ahead of writing a blog post or recording a video. If you want content marketing to be most effective, you need to do some planning.
There are three steps in the content process:
- Plan your strategy so you’re not throwing content against the wall to see what sticks.
- Decide what channel(s) you’re going to use to share your content – blogs, YouTube, social media, etc.
- Create your copy – blog posts, podcast episodes, video scripts, or any other form of content you’re using.
Developing a strategy and a plan of attack for getting your content into the world before writing a word will help you see the big picture and how all the pieces can work together. It’s not as fun as writing or recording the content but it’s every bit as important, if not more so.
Optimise + Grow Online can help you develop your content strategy. We also offer several do-it-yourself guides that will help you get started.
7 Effective Types of Content Marketing
We’re going to look at 7 of the most popular types of content:
- Case Studies
- eBooks and How-To Guides
Which of these are the most effective for you will depend on various factors. If you work in the business-to-business (B2B) market, for example, case studies are likely going to be more effective than infographics.
Some markets are more interested in video content while others would rather read a blog post or ebook. Others might respond well to more than one. Knowing your audience is the key to choosing the best types of content.
Blogging is one of the most popular types of content marketing, from both the marketer’s and customer’s perspectives.
From the marketer’s perspective, blog posts are easy to write, they help with your website’s search engine optimisation (SEO), and they’re low-cost to create.
From your readers’ perspectives, they’re a good way to learn more about a topic (assuming you’re providing value) and they’re accessible virtually anywhere. They can be read on a computer, smartphone, or any other device without disturbing anyone nearby.
If you provide value in your blog articles and post on a consistent basis, you can develop a loyal readership, which can turn into leads and sales.
Video has been the fastest-growing type of content over the last several years. Every day, over 1 billion hours of video gets watched on YouTube alone. Combined with Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other popular video platforms, there’s a huge audience watching.
These sites all let you broadcast video to your audience but that’s not your only option. You can also create interactive video content in the form of live webinars and streaming demos.
And once those live events finish, you can post the recording on YouTube and other sites to extend the reach beyond the people who attended live.
Infographics use images and words together to tell a story. This type of content is effective on social media platforms. On average, it gets liked and shared three times as often as any other type of content.
Your audience is also more likely to read the content of an infographic than they are to read text. This will vary from one market to another but as a general rule, many people don’t read text-based content. They’ll either skim it to look for the key points or they’ll lose interest partway through and click away.
Infographics use images to support the text content, making it easier and quicker to read.
Many customers like to see a product in action or see how it worked for someone else. Case studies are an effective way to share this type of information. They typically get into some depth about the product or service, sharing actionable information along the way.
Case studies can help you build your reputation as a leader in your market and because they’re based on your data (or someone you’ve worked with) they’re not easy for your competition to duplicate.
Case studies tend to follow a simple pattern:
- Share a summary of the case study
- Outline the problem you set out to solve
- Explain your solution to the problem
- Share the results
eBooks & How-To Guides
eBooks and other how-to guides might seem a little intimidating at first but they can be great lead magnets so they’re worth the extra effort. This is especially true if the information is evergreen, meaning it doesn’t go out of date or change quickly.
There’s no standard length for an ebook. They should be as long as they need to be to share the information you want to share. This could be a handful of pages or it could be several hundred pages. It all depends on the topic.
Keep in mind that the ebook isn’t meant to be one long advertisement for your business. It should offer actual solutions and useful information to the readers. You can promote your business but make that secondary to the content.
Once you capture a lead by drawing them in with the ebook, you’ll be able to start promoting things to them as part of your normal content marketing funnel.
Checklists are another popular type of content. They’re similar to an ebook in some ways but instead of giving the reader a lot of helpful information, they boil it down to some simple steps the reader can take.
This is another great type of content to use as a lead magnet. Readers will often use them over and over, keeping your brand front-of-mind. Use them as an incentive for people to sign up for your email list, promote them throughout your other content, and you’ll get a constant stream of new prospects in your funnel.
Checklists are quick and easy to create and almost anyone can put them together using a simple word processing app.
Podcasting is another content channel that has been growing steadily over the last several years. Roughly 20% of Americans listen to podcasts regularly. Almost two-thirds of podcast listeners have bought something that was promoted on a podcast and almost 90% of podcast subscribers listen to every episode.
People listen to podcasts in the car, at the gym, at their desks, and anywhere else they can plug in and listen. This gives podcasts a bigger reach than many other types of content.
Podcast content can take various forms, including:
- How-to information
- Case studies
You can also promote your other content in a podcast, multiplying their effect even further.
How to Multiply Your Content Marketing Efforts
Any of these types of content can help you reach a wider audience but you’ll see even faster results when you combine several of them. For example, if you create a video you could publish the audio track as a podcast episode, post a transcription of the video on your blog, and share any or all of them on your social media pages.
You can also include one or more of those pieces of content in the messages you send to your email list or include links to them on those other sites in your email.
When you create content strategically, you can repurpose a single piece of content into several unique pieces with very little effort. You’ll reach a wider audience, get more SEO benefits from your larger content footprint, and build a reputation as a leader in your market.
Where to Turn for Help with Content Marketing
Are you not sure which of these types of content marketing is best for your business? Or maybe you’d rather focus on what your business does best and leave the marketing to experts who understand the different platforms and how to leverage them?
Optimise + Grow Online can help. Our content marketing services will help you reach a larger audience and grow your business through content marketing and other online strategies. Get in touch with us today to book a free discovery call and find out what we can do for you.