You can certainly create a killer blog post or an amazing article as the cornerstone of your content. But it’s more efficient and effective in the long term (and often times required for larger organizations) to take a broader view – to create content that can come to life in various formats, across many different platforms, and that can address multiple audiences.
Consider the following types of content that you probably aren’t creating, but should be:
1. Top Lists
Let’s start with one of the most effective forms of content.
How many times have you seen a shared BuzzFeed article on your Facebook or Twitter feed? Popular sites like this have changed the game of Top Lists content.
Attention-grabbing headlines are what make Top Lists work. Any headline that lists a number of details, secrets, categories, or tips will work because it makes it very clear what the reader can expect when clicking on the article.
For an easy example, consider the article you are reading right now.
These types of posts and articles are perfect for building your authority and demonstrating that you are an expert in the field. Top Lists can be great tools for reaching your content marketing goals for a variety of reasons:
- Lists are skim-able: Readers can easily browse the piece and still obtain the exact information they’re looking for.
- Lists are easy to digest: Sorting content for your audience in a list format does a good amount of the work for them. People like to organize information to digest information and visualize different concepts.
- Lists lead to engagement: One of the goals for your content should be to generate interaction and comments from your readers – and lists are great for that.
By now we should all know about infographics and the marketing benefits they can have for a brand. They are a great way to capture many pieces of information and communicate them in an interesting and condensed format.
Infographics often make use of charts and graphs but, with the right designer, they can turn into informative works of art using beautiful design and typography. They also tend to generate traffic and leads for a long time after being published.
When someone finds an infographic that they think is really cool, they will link to it from their page, embed it on their site, or post it on their blog. When someone grabs the content to post on their website, they credit the page they got it from with a link to the original source. Consequently, infographics are a great way to drive traffic and links to your website, which is one of the biggest benefits they offer.
3. Free Guides
Free guides and whitepapers may require a more of an investment than other content types but are worth the venture in many industries. Free guides and whitepapers work well in marketing situations where one of your key focuses is to drive leads to your website or build your email list.
Create free guides or whitepapers that can aid customers without giving away your proprietary processes. Then, give it away for free – but require a name and email address in exchange for downloading the document. Don’t ask for too much information, as that may deter people from proceeding with the download. Then, use collected email addresses to grow your marketing list and nurture those leads.
Be sure your free guide or whitepaper offers great value, as a useless content piece can discourage downloads as well. The best part about this type of content is that once it’s produced and put online, it keeps working for you for years to come.
4. Comparisons & Reviews
With today’s online shopping platforms, consumers spend a lot of time comparing products. If you are an eCommerce company, it is your job to help visitors become educated about your products by comparing them to similar offerings from competitors. For great examples of product comparison features, check out Amazon.com, Nashbar.com, or even Zappos.com
With product reviews, the goal is not simply to learn whether someone liked or didn’t like something, but rather to educate others about the product and whether or not they should buy it. If you provide such highly-valued information for the user, they will be much more likely to do their analysis and make their buying decision via your website. A product comparison or service review can be a priceless bit of content, and as a result, it can quickly convert browsers into buyers.
5. Interviews and Round Ups
Interviews are a very simple way to provide great content to your audience while simultaneously positioning yourself as an expert in your industry. Interviews can be video or text based; both are easily consumed by consumers.
Network with Influencers & Experts
Round Ups generally gather several industry experts around a single subject and present their unique insight in an easily digestible format (such as a Top List). The topic needs to be original and interesting enough to get experts excited about contributing and be proud to share it with their own audiences.
As Clair Jones points out, “If you’re asking [experts] their opinion for the sole purpose of making them feel invested enough in your content that they will feel obligated to share it, they will smell you out faster than you can say ego bait.” Be genuine, be concise and always have the goal of creating value – both for your audience and for the interviewees.
Create Remarkable Content
Round Ups allow you to collaborate with other leaders and provide the best possible content for users. They establish you as an expert and a curator of incredible content and information. Use this content to introduce your readers to helpful, useful information – no matter what niche your industry is in.
The strategy here is very simple: Present the knowledge of other industry experts and tap into their audience or network. They are often useful content tidbits on their own, but also tend to get shared often by the people that were included.
Start by reaching out to experts in your field to discuss the possibility of an interview. For video interviews, schedule a time that works for both parties and record via Google+ Hangout or Skype. For text-based interviews, consider sending the interviewee 10-12 questions and ask them to answer as many as they are comfortable with.
By interviewing experts in your field, you become an expert as well. Moreover, it populates your website with a wealth of original, expert information.
There are many places to post video. Everyone knows YouTube, but there’s also Vimeo, Viddler, and other sites.
It still amazes me how many brands avoid making video content. Believe it or not, creating video content is not as hard as you think, and it’s always getting easier. Between Google+ Hangouts, the ability to record Skype and webinar sessions and almost everyone having access to some sort of video recording device, creating video content can’t get much simpler.
They key with video is to just jump in and start filming. You might leave a lot on the cutting room floor, but you’ll never get there if you don’t start filming. By establishing a standard for the quality of your content and having fun at the same time, you will improve your chances of creating video that will increase your traffic, generate leads, and maybe even skyrocket to viral status.
Start Creating Extraordinary Content
A solid content marketing strategy includes many of these types of content – all of which can set you apart from your competition. Figure out what type of information your audience wants or needs that isn’t already available in the market and be the organization that rises to the occasion. If you provide that content with unparalleled quality – you win!