What content should you create? 10 useful content options, their benefits and examples
When it comes to content marketing, there are many different creative options to consider.
Each content type has its own advantages – and if you know what they are, you can get strategic with the way you align your production with your marketing goals.
Often thought to be the most beneficial content type for SEO reasons, long-form content can range anywhere from around 2,000 to 10,000 words.
Google has never explicitly stated that their ranking algorithms favour long-form content. However, the factors involved with creating it contribute to increasing the quality of the content, which in turn affects how it ranks in SERPs.
The more words you include the more likely you are to have deeper engagement with the user, which results in opportunities to form and build relationships. A lengthier post also allows you to include more keywords in your content and internal links. Long form content that explores topics in depth also tends to attract more links and shares from external sites. All of these factors culminate in the likelihood of Google ranking that article more favourably.
This type of content is great for complex topics or ideas that require a lot of explanation. Often these pieces will have headings like ‘The ultimate guide to’ or ‘A complete collection of’ to indicate to the reader that the article is comprehensive.
Long-form content has a greater chance of standing out from the competition as it gives the reader much more information. It also helps make your brand appear knowledgeable in its relevant field.
These are some great examples of long-form content:
Short-form content has its benefits too. It’s usually a lot less time-consuming to write and requires more succinct sentences.
The idea is to compress concepts and make information simple for the reader so they can get quick answers to their questions. It’s useful for situations when your audience needs to find out some basic information and is not interested in doing a lot of reading.
Short-form content also comes in handy for covering news stories, so that you can include the most relevant and recent information about the event and get it published quickly.
When writing short-form content it’s important to be aware that to be noticed by your audience you will still need to provide something unique. This means you still need to give thought to things like your keyword and linking strategies. The content can be shorter but the quality and usefulness needs to be just as high as long-form content – no skipping of the rules.
IFL Science is well known for publishing great short-form content. It’s still interesting to the reader and provides a lot of value, while remaining succinct and to the point. This article in particular demonstrates those elements:
3. Thought leadership
This kind of content is primarily about how you position your brand to be seen by its audience. Thought leadership content aims to build trusting relationships. It can be anything from articles to E-books to infographics, as long as it of high quality and useful to your audience. Producing a steady stream of content that your audience can rely on for information will encourage them to see your brand as an authority in its field.
Articles that provide a lot of value to an audience via advice or information tend to build rapport and keep people coming back for more. Through gaining regular visitors to your blog, you can build brand familiarity. The goal is to create associations, so that when a consumer is ready to purchase as they already have your business front of mind.
Thought-leadership isn’t just about executives giving high-level insights over LinkedIn (thought that works too). For example, Priceline Pharmacy has an entire section of their site dedicated to makeup and skincare tutorials. They’re showing their audience they know their industry very well, and offering helpful new ideas at the same time, which will encourage repeat visits to the site.
Video content has become the darling of the content marketing world. It’s been all the rage for 2016 and looks set to be just as popular in 2017.
Videos are highly engaging for consumers and tend to be more ‘shareable’ than other types of content. Video messages are easier for consumers to digest than blog posts, and tend to be more memorable.
Studies show that 65% of video viewers watch more than ¾ of a video, whereas only 2 out of 10 readers will go any further than the main heading.
That’s not to say that everyone should abandon blogging and start producing videos, but if you have the budget for it and some great ideas then it’s worth incorporating into your content strategy. Just keep in mind however that not every product or service is suitable for video and viral success is not guaranteed.
The best kind of videos are those that convey some sort of emotion that creates an attachment with the brand. It doesn’t necessarily have to be as powerful as love or sadness – sometimes a bit of humour will do the trick.
AAMI’s funny car insurance ads about ‘Rhonda the safe driver’ were an absolute hit when they came out – Rhonda and Ketut became household names.
5. Company News/Industry Updates
Keeping your audience in the loop with what’s happening in your company will help further establish customer relationships. Letting them know when you are rolling out new products or making big changes shows you are a trustworthy brand and want to keep them informed. This sort of content is particularly effective when sent out in newsletters as it’s only available to subscribed members, which makes them feel more in-the-know.
Similarly, keeping your finger on the industry pulse will demonstrate awareness of your space, and highlight your blog as a good source of up-to-date information. Covering hot news topics will also expose your content to more attention via search engines. If a lot of people are looking for information about a particular story you can newsjack the event by writing about it, leveraging its popularity to get your material seen by more people.
At Castleford we regularly publish updates about the content marketing space to keep our audience in the loop with any changes. This one is about a report covering current benchmarks and trends across the Australian content marketing landscape.
Listicles – a kitsch term for ‘list articles’ – have proven very effective for consumer engagement. Information can be easily scanned and consumed, making this content desirable in a world where people are inundated with content from all angles.
You can write lists on all kinds of topics. ‘How to’ and ‘tips’ articles are some of the best as they are valuable to your readers. They also tend to have very catchy headlines, as adding a number to your title can lend authority to the article and make your audience curious.
There are a billion articles I could use as examples, but I’ll leave it up to one of the sites that has done it best – entertainment and social news company BuzzFeed. BuzzFeed proves that your lists don’t even need to contain much written content – the bulk of your article can be visuals.
These provide something different for your audience and can be more engaging thanks to the back and forth nature of a Q&A.
The involvement of a third party creates added interest, particularly if the interviewee is an influencer or celebrity. Conducting interviews with people who have specific or expert knowledge in your field provides your audience with something different to your competition.
Internal Q&As or interviews can also provide an insight into your business and tend to humanise your brand by introducing people to the faces behind the brand.
We have monthly Q&A sessions with various members of Castleford, so our audience can get to know us better and discover what we’re about.
Infographics are a great way of displaying complex concepts or data. Rather than trying to chew through a big block of text, infographics allow readers to digest information in a visually appealing way.
Articles with images attract 94% more total views than those without. If you have a lot of statistics or research data to convey it might be worthwhile turning it into an infographic to get more eyeballs on your content.
Given that most people tend to scan rather than read these days, infographics help them to consume this information. If found to be helpful, they also have a high ‘shareability’ factor, meaning that your readers help you distribute your material.
Tourism Australia created this great infographic to show what’s spent on food and wine in Australia compared to other countries. And Marketo, a marketing automation software company, created this infographic about how brand colours affect your business. Much more appealing in this format, don’t you think?
Like staff interviews, predictions from your team about the future of the industry or other relevant topics are a great way to introduce your audience to the human side of your brand.
As well as being relevant and helpful to anyone interested in your field, predictions can’t be imitated. This kind of content is unique to your business and has the advantage of educating people in areas they may not know much about.
Each year we like to ask around our office for content marketing predictions for the following year. So far, we’ve been pretty accurate!
Like thought leadership articles, whitepapers demonstrate how much knowledge your brand has about its industry and also helps your audience to access information that they need.
The biggest benefit of whitepapers is that they can be used for lead generation. Gated resources like whitepaper downloads, require people to enter some basic information about themselves, to be added to a database. This allows you to keep track of all the people that have shown interest in your brand and nurture them further down the funnel.
Whitepapers need to contain high-quality content and provide valuable information and/or advice to your audience. Typically they should answer questions that your audience is asking.
Castleford has a range of whitepapers in our Resource Library – this one is full of information about how to create your own whitepapers.