From the ornate copy that makes up an insightful eBook to the graphic of a really eye-catching infographic, the savvy marketer has a range of content types. Even better, each option has multiple ways to reach, convert, and retain an audience.
Skyword’s research shows that the average brand has taken a diversified approach to content, with many creating at least six types of content in total. Often times, the way they use these assets is limited: only two types (one of which is sales collateral) actually support customer conversion and retention. So it’s no wonder that brands see a 28% decrease in effective content usage after the engagement phase of the audience trip.
Of the myriad forms that content can take, six core types – videos, infographics, long-form downloads, webinars, interactive tools, and podcasts – serve as key tools in a healthy content ecosystem. When you play to everyone’s strengths, every campaign is fresh, engaging, and increases the bottom line.
To make it easy to compare and contrast these six common types of content, we’ve created Battlecards that break down what each feature does and how you can customize and deploy it to suit your content strategy.
The video’s greatest strength is its ability to draw emotions. For the same reason, we can’t take our eyes off a captivating movie. A well-produced video tells your story loud and clear in a way that stays with your audience.
Look for places to embed video on your website to increase the time on the page and do an SEO upgrade. Cut the longest versions of your videos into short “snack clips”. These play with the temporary nature of scrolling social media and give you more material for your content calendar.
Pro type: Videos are assets in their own right, but they are strongest when combined with written content. Link or embed videos with other related content on your website. Publish your videos to YouTube, Vimeo, and other video content hubs to increase their awareness.
An infographic is an efficient way to communicate several important data points. The creative presentation of attention-grabbing statistics and numbers does not make any detours.
By combining high quality research with a cohesive visual narrative, you can give your audience fascinating, easily digestible thought-guiding material. Infographics help increase the scrolling depth / time on a page (especially if they’re interactive), increase search traffic via visual search and backlinks, and increase social engagement.
Pro type: Infographics are great for sharing your brand’s original research data, synthesizing a thought-leading concept, and explaining how a process or product works. Also, because they’re precise and visually eye-catching, they can easily be re-shared, linked to websites, downloaded, or bookmarked. Embed them on website pages with a strong anchor copy and expand their distribution through social networks, email, and PR.
3. Long form download
Long-form materials like eBooks and white papers are well positioned to target potential customers in the brand transformation phase – those who are about to buy or partner with you. The strength of a long-term asset is exploring an expertise for your brand in a reader-friendly layout (often supported by illustrations).
Regardless of whether it’s gated or ungated, this type of asset should serve as the centerpiece of a hub-and-spoke content campaign. Videos, graphics, and shorter articles can engage your audience and lead to longer-form content. When content is gated, compelling landing page copies and outbound advertising are critical to generating leads.
Pro type: These detailed assets can also be atomized and distributed across channels as blog posts, infographics, and quote cards to aid reach and engagement. When you’ve published your piece, give it a different look and think about how to recycle your graphics, summaries, and best one liners.
A webinar is a video seminar, workshop or presentation with one or more speakers. Unlike other types of content, it’s time-based so your audience can add something to their calendars. Webinars are a quick way to generate leads and meaningfully involve participants through live participation with in-house or guest experts. A strong webinar library is also a great source for ongoing lead generation.
Pro tip: Promote webinars as events: Use a pre-event campaign to encourage early registrations and a post-event campaign to attract leads for the on-demand version. By referencing your on-demand webinar with smaller, related resources, you can continue collecting leads long after the webinar was first recorded. You can bring more participants together by promising original data and inviting influencers or well-known experts to speak.
5. Interactive tool
Interactive tools like online tests, ratings, and calculators make your worth more personal than other types of content. If your value proposition is that you can save revenue on a company’s IT costs, consider how you can prove it. Perhaps it is a rating that rates how effective a company’s devices are for the job they do, or an online calculator that shows IT professionals how they work. Mobile device costs are compared to the industry average. A simple tool can go a long way in demonstrating the special value you can bring to a company.
Pro type: These assets work best when they answer a specific question and produce an actionable result. Promote these assets independently or inline as a break in other content. If you are offering results of significant value, you should group those results behind an email contact form. Otherwise, share the results freely and use them to lead the audience to related content like white papers and webinars.
A podcast – an episodic series of pre-recorded audio discussions or narrations – is an easy way for your brand to spread thought leadership. A podcast series is a way to develop your in-house expertise: you can cover topics of interest that address your customers’ challenges, industry news and trends, or social topics if those are related to your area of expertise.
Pro type: Podcasts are also a powerful advertising and networking tool. A product-centric podcast can be a launchpad for new offerings and features if you have a very dedicated customer base. Otherwise, you can use the platform to tastefully integrate your solutions and invite partners or industry influencers as guest speakers.
Content types are the building blocks of your marketing strategy. Gone are the days when hard selling and advertising were enough to increase ROI. Marketing success depends on high quality, carefully placed content – and each of these types can play multiple roles in order to achieve different goals along the buyer’s path.
In our free whitepaper, the Content Marketer’s Field Guide to Content Types, you will learn how these six content types work together in harmony to create an effective content ecosystem.
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Selected image assignment: Ross Sneddon on Unsplash