Critical Content: The Four Key Content Types for Your Business

“Content Marketing.”

You’ve been told your business needs it, that content marketing is the number one way to succeed in the digital age, but what defines content? Content is everything you produce and display to your audience. 

Content breathes life into your business and keeps everything tied together. Content is how you generate leads, interact with your customers and build your brand authority. And as with all things, variety is the spice. Don’t limit yourself to just one or two types of content. You need a healthy mixture of different content types to compliment each other. Words, pictures, audio, they’re all necessary to succeed in content marketing.

Here are the four critical content types that all businesses, big and small, should be producing. 

#1: Writing

Writing is more important than ever, it’s just jumped ship from ink pens to keyboards.

Writing is absolutely critical in content marketing. Most other forms of content require at least some writing to supplement them. Written content is your bread and butter. Depending on your resources, you can produce written content in-house or outsource it to a content creation company like Content Cucumber. 

Blogs

Blogs are must-have written content. Blogs give your audience entertainment as well as information and help to build your brand authority. And best of all, people like to read blogs (there’s a reason there are well over 400 million blogs on the internet today).

E-Books

For the ambitious, nothing draws in leads like a solid e-Book. While a high quality e-Book may take quite a bit of upfront work, they can reap you generous rewards. E-books also make back some of your initial investment, should you choose to charge for them. (You can also provide e-Books for free, depending on your audience and your company’s needs.)

White papers and case studies

White papers are basically more technical e-Books. They provide a lot of technical information on your products and the industry at large. If you’re working on B2B marketing, then white papers can help you build credibility and your brand. 

Another option is publishing case studies. Case studies are a good way to showcase specific applications of your products, and to let your audience know how your products have helped other customers. Case studies are right at home in blogs, e-Books or even social media posts. 

#2: Visuals

We all love to look at photos. The truth is that most of us never actually grew out of the picture book phase.

“A picture says a thousand words.” Images rank very well as far as SEO goes, and they’re a great way to break up otherwise monotonous content. You can use visuals to quickly convey information, and what’s even better, images can be shared more easily than large chunks of text. Consider consolidating your message into an infographic that can be inserted into a larger blog post or even shared solo over social media. 

Need more convincing? 75 percent of consumers look for photos before they look for a website. If your site is the host of the best photos, then you’re naturally going to get some high levels of organic traffic. Even using stock photos can still give you a little boost on the search engines. 

#3: Video

You don’t have to produce an Oscar-winning feature film to generate leads with video content. There are a lot of free or cheap tools available online to help you get started (and don’t forget about students or interns, who are usually eager to tackle these kinds of projects). 

Video does heaps for your SEO, and it’s also one of the most engaging pieces of content you can create. Videos are easily shareable and can be posted in multiple locations with little hassle. 

The downside to video content is that it can be hard to create. There’s an initial cost involved in the equipment and a fairly high learning curve. You can contract out video production and editing, but the costs are typically higher than other kinds of content freelancing. For this reason, a lot of smaller businesses ignore video content, which is a shame, because you can do some great work even on a budget. 

Interviews

Interviews are a helpful bit of content marketing. They lend you credibility and connect your business with other authorities in your industry. You can publish your interviews as written, audio, or video content, depending on the platform. 

#4: Social media posts

From Friendster to Myspace to Facebook to Instagram. I wonder which portmanteau we’ll be posting to next.

Social media is like the glue that holds all your content marketing together. Your Facebook, Instagram or other social media channels are what lead potential customers back to your website and your other content. Social media posts are where you have a chance to directly interact with your audience. 

Think interactive

You want your audience to engage with your social media presence. It’s not enough for them to just follow you or like the occasional announcement. Social media is where you get to know your audience better. Use social media as a platform to ask your audience questions, encourage feedback and host giveaways, contests, or other interactive activities. 

Know each platform

One of the reasons so many social media platforms exist is because each cultivates different behavior. Twitter is where people go to be pithy and sassy. On Instagram, people aren’t looking to read words, they’re scrolling through pictures. Understand each platform’s user base before you start formulating content. 

Don’t overwhelm yourself

The Internet is awash in social media. It can seem like new platforms are popping up every day. It’s best to focus your efforts on a few accounts rather than spread yourself too thin trying to post on every platform. If you only have the staff to handle Instagram and Facebook, then don’t open a Twitter account only to abandon it. 

Focus on the platforms that your audience is using, and remember that  this might not necessarily mean the most “popular” option. For example, the Pew Research Center usually ranks Facebook at the top of the most populated social media platforms, but we all know that younger consumers aren’t exactly racking up Facebook hours anymore, despite probably having accounts. So if you’re targeting teens or young adults, you might put your efforts into a different social media option. 

Mix it up

Don’t fall into the trap of getting stuck producing just one kind of content. If your content production becomes stale, you will miss out on potential leads and a lot of website traffic. Don’t be afraid to mix content genres, either. Experiment with video placement in your blog posts. Throw an infographic into your e-Book. The possibilities are endless!

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