Content marketing allows you to directly engage your target audience, raising business or brand awareness and attracting even more customers. Many different types of content fall under the “content marketing” umbrella—from white papers to content for social media.
Understanding the advantages offered by the different content formats can allow you to choose the right media for your business or brand. You then build a long-term content marketing strategy that takes into account your unique goals—what you want to accomplish with your content.
A successful content strategy should include a mix of written content and visual content such as images and infographics. This article provides an introduction to the most popular types of promotional content used by both major brands and small businesses.
14 key types of content
The goal of any piece of content should be to connect with your target audience. The first step is picking the best content according to your objectives and ideal consumer. This increases the odds of capturing a potential customer’s attention and gaining leads.
Here are 14 key kinds of content that can help your business turn initial curiosity about your brand into conversions.
- Social media posts
- Email newsletters
- Blog posts/articles
- Product guides
- Customer success stories
- User-generated content
- Case studies
- White papers
1. Social media posts
Social media is a low-cost digital marketing tool, with many platforms to choose from, ranging from the formal and professional LinkedIn platform to the more fun and casual Instagram app. In addition to being low-cost, social media is engaging, versatile, and current. Brands and businesses leverage trends to gain traction or create their own campaigns.
Social media can also be used to disseminate other types of content marketing, such as blogs and infographics. Backlinks from social media drive traffic to a brand or business landing page, boosting search engine rankings.
Spotify’s #SpotifyWrapped campaign is an example showing how social media is used to organically raise a business’s profile. The campaign is highly personalized, allowing people to share their most-played songs of the year. Of course, while sharing on social media platforms, people also promote the Spotify brand.
2. Email newsletters
Newsletter campaigns are a long-term form of content marketing that involves sending regular emails to a dedicated subscriber list. The email lists could be business-to-business (B2B) or business-to-consumer (B2C). Some brands or businesses may have both types of email newsletters.
Most email newsletters are sent weekly, every other week, or monthly. The emails are generally succinct, containing everything from news about the brand or business to promotional offers. Email campaigns are a great way to stay in the minds of potential or former customers.
Skillshare offers a compelling example of email marketing done well. Consider this email sent during the COVID-19 pandemic, for example. It is not an overt sales pitch. Instead, it provides relevant, timely resources, such as ideas for indoor activities and advice on working from home.
3. Blog posts/articles
Blog content consists primarily of written text, usually with some images. Blogs take various forms, including listicles, how-to guides, and FAQs. You’re likely to use a blog for providing engaging information and personal content for your target audience. This allows you to build trust.
The travel platform Nomadic Matt is an example of great blog content. In addition to travel guides, Matt’s blogs include tips on low-budget travel, travel safety tips, product reviews (e.g. travel insurance), and more. There is also thought-provoking content, such as the article, “Does travel really change people?”
The engaging title sets the premise of the blog post, which reflects on the question. Pictures are interspersed throughout the text to keep the reader engaged. Plus, the blog actively invites engagement. At the conclusion, Matt uses a call to action (CTA) inviting readers to share their thoughts via social media.
4. Product guides
Product guides provide in-depth information about a business’s specific product. They may consist of videos, images, and written text or a combination of all three. They might offer a basic introduction to a product or highlight new features. The result is a detailed informational tool.
Publishing a product guide is a great way to keep consumers engaged with your product and ensure they’re aware of all the features it offers. This product demo from SurveyMonkey shows how product guides provide practical information for consumers in an easy-to-digest format.
5. Customer success stories
Customer success stories consist of testimonials from real-world customers. These testimonials come in many formats, including influencer testimonials, blog post reviews, case studies, social media testimonials, and video testimonials.
Such objective, third-party points of view help to reinforce your marketing efforts, building trust among consumers. Yext shows how customer success stories can help legitimize a business. They offer a diversity of examples, citing big-name brands such as Samsung, Banks.com, and People’s United Bank.
6. User-generated content
User-generated content is created by the consumers who actually use a business’s products or services. Examples of user-generated content include videos, photos, and memes. For example, a brand might ask users to share a video of themselves using a product with a certain #hashtag.
User-generated content is beneficial because it requires users to be active, keeping them interested and engaged. Beauty brand Glossier exemplifies how this approach sparks an emotional connection with consumers. They repost heart-warming content shared by customers, like this:
Quizzes consist of a question-and-answer (Q&A) format, creating an interactive experience where the user answers questions, usually multiple choice. Quizzes can be used for educational purposes—for example, to reinforce learning after reading a white paper or ebook.
Quizzes are also often used for entertainment. BuzzFeed is famous for its quizzes about nonsensical pop culture topics. While the quizzes don’t always serve a practical purpose, they reflect the fun BuzzFeed brand and entertain users. Here’s an example that proves great content doesn’t need to be serious:
Podcasts consist of recorded audio content, distributed via popular channels such as Spotify and Apple Music. The content may be live or pre-recorded. Podcasts allow you to reach a new audience. People who might not be interested in reading long-form content such as an ebook might be more willing to listen to a podcast.
Podcasts are also very versatile. They can be used to share information, get insights from relevant industry experts via interviews, or provide a behind-the-scenes look at a brand or business. Sephora’s #LIPSTORIES podcast is a great example.
Each episode features a guest who discusses topics related to self-image and shares memories of the moments they felt most beautiful and empowered. It’s an innovative way of translating a beauty brand to a non-visual format while looking beyond the superficial veneer of the industry.
Video content is yet another way to engage a broader audience, since some people might be more interested in watching a video than reading a blog, ebook, etc. Video content might consist of tutorials, product guides, interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and more.
NaturallyCurly exemplifies many ways of using video content. Their YouTube channel includes tutorials of how to use their products, interviews with users about their “wash day” routines, and other relevant information (e.g., curly hair myth-busters).
Infographics present information and statistics in easy-to-digest, visual content. A big advantage of infographics is that they’re shareable. When you add social media links, people can easily post them, disseminating your brand’s or business’s content—and potentially driving leads.
This infographic about the most and least bike-friendly cities in America by Tower Electric bikes is a great example. The graphic is useful to the brand’s audience. It presents data in a visually appealing and easy-to-understand format.
Webinars consist of live-stream video seminars, usually inviting viewer participation via chat or social media channels. Webinars are a popular B2B tool. They tend to be information-rich and fact-based presentations. For example, a company might use a webinar to educate clients about a new product.
Another benefit of webinars is that they can be recorded and saved. In addition to having a live event, you can create a piece of evergreen content you will use repeatedly in the future. This webinar from Notion, titled “Manage Your Contacts and Sales Funnel,” is a great example.
During the live stream, participants could submit questions via crowdcast. Now, people are still able to access the webinar online and get valuable information. The content is relevant to Notion’s products and customers, providing practical and helpful information.
12. Case studies
Case studies provide a detailed examination of a scenario, extracting key learning points that may be applied in other similar scenarios. Brands and businesses often use customer case studies to demonstrate their success stories. Case studies are a great way to prove a product’s or service’s effectiveness and value.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions show how inspiring a case study can be with this HubSpot example. HubSpot—seeking help with lead generation—asked LinkedIn Marketing Solutions for assistance. LinkedIn targeted businesses with content including webinars and ebooks on their LinkedIn feeds. This resulted in 400% more leads.
13. White papers
White papers are longer than blogs and more information-dense. They often include detailed data, charts, and graphs about a specific topic. White papers are excellent vehicles for establishing thought leadership. You can use them to prove your brand or business is an expert on a topic, thus generating leads.
This white paper from Cisco Edge, “Networking and Your Competitive Edge,” is a good example. It presents a problem (enterprise network security) and provides stats, facts, and data about that problem. Finally, it presents a solution—a secure digital network, specifically Cisco’s Digital Network Architecture (DNA).
Similar to white papers, ebooks are often used to demonstrate expertise and establish thought leadership. Since an ebook is longer, though, it allows your brand or business to provide greater detail about an issue that’s relevant to your customers. You can also use ebooks to attract leads and drive conversions.
This ebook from Ceros, “The Content Creator’s Guide to Interactive Marketing,” shows how ebooks can provide useful information for a set target audience (content creators). The ebook also maintains engagement through videos, quizzes, and interactive infographics.
Note that Ceros is a cloud-based design platform that’s targeted toward interactive content creation. Through this kind of content, Ceros is establishing expertise and, potentially, attracting interest that results in paying customers.
The right content can help showcase your brand or business, boosting your image and attracting your target audience. As the list above makes clear, you have many marketing content types to choose from. Ready to start creating content? The right professional can help.
Use Upwork to find high-quality content writing, marketing experts, bloggers, and other creative professionals to produce all forms of content. You can choose from a global pool of independent talent and compare profiles according to portfolios, reviews, price, and more. Find an expert today.
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