Content marketing, when executed correctly, is an incredibly powerful digital marketing tool. In fact, 10% of marketers who rely on blogging as a way to drive sales and leads claim that it generates the biggest return on investment for them.
In order to make content work for you, you need to not only post consistently (i.e., at least a couple of times a month) but also ensure you vary the types of content you use. That way, you will be able to appeal to different audience segments and generate the kind of traffic that actually converts.
Here are the seven types of content you should consider in your digital marketing strategy.
1. Blog posts
Most content strategies are built on the solid foundations of regular, informative, well-crafted blog posts. Think of them as the pillars that you can’t hope to succeed without.
Once you have a regular blog post calendar in place and you’re able to execute it efficiently, you can start considering all the other content formats we list.
The way to choose blog post topics, in a nutshell, is simple:
- Find topics that your audience is actually looking for by using the alphabet soup method.
- Check out which topics drive the most traffic for your competitors.
- Monitor social media and sites like Reddit and Quora to find inspiration.
- Once you have a topic, read all the posts ranking on the first page. Aim to make yours better by adding newer data, inserting your own experience or opinion, summarizing the key points more efficiently, etc.
- Align your posts with your own agenda and make sure they naturally fit into your brand’s voice and ethos.
Here is an example post on the differences between prebiotics and probiotics that will serve as a guide on how to nail a “simple” blog article. It covers a complex topic effectively, citing relevant resources, but without getting too technical. The top-ranking pages see tens of thousands of visits per month, and January has a great chance of snatching a lot of that attention.
2. Comparison posts
Alongside “regular” blog posts, also aim to incorporate comparison posts into your blogging calendar. They serve to compare two or more products or services and aim to help a visitor make an informed decision.
If you choose to mention yourself in the post, make sure you don’t sound too good to be true while your competitors are made to appear worse than they actually are. Stay objective and clearly highlight who will benefit most from your solution.
For example, this post on the top rated medical alert systems clearly lists what makes each product stand out and lets the reader decide which option works for them.
You can also write a comparison post that does not list your own product. This Pumble post on Skype vs. Slack only inserts their own product at the end of the post. It does not force a sale on its audience at any point, making the marketing effect much more organic.
3. Interactive content
Interactive content can help you improve time on page and provide a little bit of extra interest for your audience. What it is will depend on the nature of your product or service. In a nutshell, you are trying to solve a problem for your audience in as little time as possible.
For instance, UnscrambleX built their entire website around an interactive anagram solver that helps players of Scrabble or Words with Friends level up their game. It caters to a very specific audience and provides a very clear benefit.
On the other hand, this one rep max calculator by Transparent Labs is just one piece of content on the website, and it helps visitors level up their weightlifting performance. It clearly ties in with their products, and their expertise in the field of fitness makes them qualified to create the calculator.
You can also make quizzes, puzzles, games, or polls. Go for whatever will allow your audience to engage with the content on the page and learn or solve something.
4. Case studies
Case studies are very important for showcasing your expertise and demonstrating the results you’ve achieved for previous clients. They are the least salesy way of selling your services, and they can significantly boost your credibility.
The more in-depth you can take the case study, same time demonstrating the power of your own solution or product, the better. Take a look at this Ahrefs study on rankings. They are using their own tool to acquire the data, at the same time helping their audience figure out a burning question. They are not promoting themselves, but you will nonetheless be awed by their crawler and want to try it for yourself.
If you’re just looking to showcase the projects you’ve worked on, take a look at the Quantox case studies page. They have briefly outlined some of the major projects they’ve worked on, proving they are experts in their field and demonstrating the types of results they can achieve for the reader’s company as well.
Testimonials are not a content type you will be creating yourself, but they are very important to have. They’re more trustworthy than your own sales copy, as they are inherently non-biased and serve as a trust signal.
Take a look at the creative way Dropbox has showcased theirs. They feature snippets on their homepage and direct you to read more on a dedicated page. This allows them to both tell heartfelt customer stories and showcase their own product.
Video content allows you to appeal to the kind of audience that does not like to spend a lot of time reading and prefers visual presentations.
What you choose to film will be up to the goal you want to achieve with the video. You can do a how-to video, demonstrate the capabilities and functionalities of a product, or shoot a lifestyle-oriented video in the best Apple fashion.
Basecamp did a great promo video that shows you how their project management solution can help you manage your time and get more done. It’s easy to follow as it walks you through all their main features, and it does not sound too promotional.
Speaking of visual content, you can also create infographics that will distill a complex and information-heavy topic into a visually-appealing image.
They are fantastic for sharing a lot of data in a simple way. Absorbing plenty of information is smoother and faster with an infographic than via a written article or even a video.
Here’s a great example from Domain.me on the psychology of web design. Try to imagine all that information presented in another format, such as a blog post or a video — it simply wouldn’t have been as effective.
Any topic that has a visual element to it is a great one for this type of content. Timelines also work well, as will any topic that can be illustrated in an original way.
Before you decide which of these seven types of content your digital marketing strategy needs, take the time to analyze your competition and your current Analytics data. It will help you discover what your audience is actually looking for. From there, it will be easy to pinpoint the format that will best suit their interests and pain points.