Feb 28, 2023

7 Popular Content Types and How to Use Them

by Digital Marketing Institute

Content is the currency of the internet, and there are many content types brands can focus on to engage audiences, reach new markets, and provide value to customers.

But with all the different content formats out there, it can be difficult for marketers to know which ones to focus on (even with a range of AI tools to help generate and optimize content).

Different types have different purposes. While some drive traffic, others are about data capture so it’s important to be clever with your content marketing to make the most of your content.  

So let’s look at the top 7 content types and how you can use them to drive growth and sales.

  1. Blogs
  2. Listicles
  3. Ebooks
  4. Infographics
  5. Video
  6. How-to guides
  7. Case studies
Quick Guide - 12 Ways Digital Marketers Can Use ChatGPT

1. Blogs

Blogging has been around for a long time, but the practice has become more sophisticated, especially when it comes to businesses using blogs to engage audiences.

You should create blogs that are relevant, high-quality, and well-written. They should also focus on topics your audience finds interesting to build authority, trust, and relationships, and drive conversions. Other benefits of a blog are that they are relatively easy to write and publish,  shareable, and easily discovered by search engines.

If you or your business doesn’t already have a blog, find out five simple ways to start one.  

Blogging best practices: If you don’t have a self-hosted blog, you can use services such as WordPress, Tumblr (which has gained popularity since Elon Musk took over Twitter), Medium, and Blogger. 

Blogging, however, is a commitment, and you have to be prepared to post every couple of days or at least once a week to create a following. You should always include a CTA (call to action) in each post and include internal and reputable external links to other content.

Tip: Optimize your posts with relevant keywords for SEO (use an SEO Keyword Research Toolkit to help you) to ensure you are reaching the right audience and ranking in search engines. 

2. Listicles

List articles may seem somewhat gimmicky, but they're extremely popular. That’s because they're easy to read, scannable, visually appealing, and—when done right—interesting and highly shareable.

From a content creation perspective, listicles are also easy to write, because once you have a topic and a number, all you have to do is research and fill in the blanks. However, that doesn’t mean you can throw together a listicle without putting any thought into the content because it has to be informative, relevant and high-quality.

Listicle best practices: Always remember to number your subheadings in a listicle, and make sure the number matches the title; otherwise, you'll confuse readers. Like other content types, lists should still have introductions and conclusions, and they should be optimized with relevant keywords. You can have as many numbers in your lists as you like - long lists are just as acceptable as shorter ones - but details are always important.

Tip: Coming up with catchy and unique titles is an important part of writing list articles, but be sure the heading matches the content (no clickbait).

3. Ebooks

Ebooks are a type of long-form content created as electronic books that are available as PDF downloads or in HTML format. 

This type of content can give you a great outlet for sharing your knowledge and expertise on a given topic. Ebooks have many benefits, including lead generation, establishing authority, growing email lists, and beefing up your overall content offering.

Ebook best practices: The main focus of an ebook should be providing solutions otherwise, it won’t be of value to your audience. Therefore, minimize the time you spend on advertising and focus more on generalized solutions. A good rule of thumb for ebooks is to keep the promotional elements to a minimum as you’ve already captured their data. 

Ebooks can be long, so break up the content using chapters, subheadings, bullets, graphics, infographics, and other interesting formatting elements. You should also put some time into the title and the design because this is what will attract and engage readers. This type of content demands research, time, and quality writing, so it’s best to have a plan in place before you start.

Tip: The content doesn’t have to be evergreen, but if it is then you'll get years of return on the investment, and you'll be able to use the ebook to continue reaching new audiences long after it’s published.

4. Infographics

Infographics are among the most popular types of content you can create, and this is because they present a great deal of information (such as statistics, research, and other data) in a visual way that’s engaging, digestible, and shareable.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, infographics have had the biggest increase in usage among B2B marketers in the last few years -- now at 67 percent. They can not only help draw traffic to your site but help build quality backlinks and grow your audience. 

Infographic best practices: Creating an infographic requires design skills and it’s important to incorporate white space, break content into sections, use a clear font, and use complementary colors to maintain interest. Here’s a guide on the ‘Top 5 Tools for Building Infographics’

5. Video

Video is a successful form of content, and 93 percent of marketers say that it’s an important part of their marketing while 78 percent of video marketers say it has increased sales according to ‘The State of Video Marketing 2021’ report. 

Video content has the potential to engage your audiences, increase shares and comments, drive conversions, and grow traffic to your website. Types of videos you can consider are interviews, presentations or how-to, behind-the-scenes, and explainer videos.

There are lots of platforms to share your videos from YouTube (read how to rank your videos) to Instagram to rising star, TikTok

Video best practices: The main aim of a video should be to provide value to your audience by answering questions, providing solutions, addressing pain points, or otherwise providing relevant information. Or in the case of Aviation American Gin, to drive traffic and be entertaining! 

Tip: Remember, you're creating content, not ads. Keep videos between two and three minutes, and include a CTA to send viewers to a landing page or your website. 

6. How-to Guides

How-tos and instructional content are similar to long-form blog posts that go into depth about how to do anything from achieving a task to building something and more through step-by-step instructions. 

The content of your guide will depend on your audience and industry, but this type of content is great for sharing expertise, building trust, and growing email lists.

How-to guide best practices: These need to be top-quality in terms of writing because they have to be clear and concise in telling readers how to complete a task. The layout and design should make the piece easy to read and break content into easy steps with graphics, diagrams, screenshots, videos, and other elements to illustrate crucial points or hard-to-complete steps.

Tip: Make sure you understand the logic and flow of the guide so your audience will too. Have a colleague or someone you trust to review it to make sure it makes sense! 

7. Case Studies

Case studies are a great B2B content type and use real-life feedback or customer feedback to illustrate common pain points and challenges your audience may face. 

It’s a good content choice because it demonstrates to prospects how your brand, products, or services can help solve problems they may be experiencing, and this will foster strong relationships and build loyalty.

Case study best practices: Start by summarizing the problem your customer was facing. Next, go over the solution while providing actionable and step-by-step examples that prospects can use to repeat the process. Finally, provide a summary of the results that your customer achieved using your products or services.

Check out our case study on Vodafone to see an example. 

Tip: To make the content engaging and relatable, think about it more as a success story than a case study, and focus on the how's and why’s of the story. Don’t forget to provide a conclusion that includes a strong CTA.

Use content marketing to boost awareness and drive sales

Content marketing is an effective and low-cost way to engage and persuade an audience across all stages of the funnel. DMI’s digital marketing course will not only cover content marketing but also social media, PPC, email, SEO, analytics and much more. Reserve your place today! 

(Updated Feb 2023)

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