Content Strategy, Owned Media
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Everyone understands the value of content marketing at this point, but the question is whether or not your content strategy is delivering a high enough ROI to justify your expenses. Believe it or not, the return you receive is directly related to the various content formats and styles you use.

Choosing the Right Content

If you’re going to invest in content, then you need to make sure you’re getting enough value in return. Value essentially means direct revenue, healthy KPIs, and direct reader engagement.

The trickiest part of content marketing is identifying what your audience wants to consume. However, once you figure out this all-important aspect, you have to turn your attention toward how you convey the information they’re looking for. Most of the time, this is easier said than done.

In order to help nudge you along in this process, we’re going to give you some suggestions on the formats that deliver the highest return.

Educational/Self-Help Content

We live in a self-help age where people have become conditioned to finding information and applying it to their own lives. In terms of value, Marketing Sherpa reports that 92% of marketers feel as if educational content increases the likelihood of a prospective buyer clicking on a link to learn more. That makes it the single-most impactful content format (according to the opinions of leading marketers).

What does educational or self-help content look like? Well, it can take on a variety of styles, but must address a palpable pain point that the customer is looking to solve. For an example of what this looks like in practice, check out QBErrors’ news section. While QBErrors specializes in offering QuickBooks technical support, they also offer handy articles and guides that allow customers to solve simple issues on their own. This makes the content practical, while simultaneously increasing trust in the brand.




The average customer is much more likely to be influenced by visual content than text-based content. This is something that has been heavily studied over the past few decades and continues to hold true in terms of content marketing.

Determined to understand which types of content perform the best, Noah Kagan of SumoMe had his team analyze more than 100 million articles. What they discovered was that infographics overwhelmingly attracted more engagement than any other type of content – specifically in terms of shares. Infographics average nearly 15,000 shares, whereas the next closest format averages right around 11,000 shares per article.


“With near-infinite information at hand, and reporting moving at more and more breakneck speeds to keep pace with social media, it’s easily [sic] to end up either trapped by choice paralysis or whittling away hours on end trying to keep up,” explains Rachel Edidin of Wired.

Enter listicles.

Listicles may be annoying to some, but they’re highly effective from a content marketing perspective. They represent an opportunity for marketers to synthesize large amounts of information into easily digestible bites.

Listicles are also familiar to online users, which heavily influences the content they read and share. When an individual runs across an article on social media, a list is comfortable. They know what to expect and how it will be formatted. This takes away the surprise factor and instantly makes links more clickable.

Research-Backed Content

You can’t believe everything you read on the internet. This is an idea that consumers are becoming increasingly cognizant of. As a result, internet users are putting more pressure on marketers to produce research-backed content. Are you listening?

“The most shareable and link-worthy content you can create is original research,” content marketing expert Barry Feldman advises. “The insights you uncover can result in one-of-a-kind content that delivers incomparable success in search and social media.” In fact, Feldman points to data that indicates that researched-backed content receives higher shares and more links than opinion-based or speculative content.

Long-Form Content

Back in the early days of content marketing, the goal was to develop as many blog posts as possible and to stuff the copy with keywords. Over time, the practice of generating hundreds and thousands of individual links has become outdated. Instead, search engines and social sharing behaviors indicate that quality is better than quantity.

Specifically, long-form articles tend to be of higher quality. If you want to attract shares, then you need to really dig deep. Take this article from marketer Jeff Bullas as an example. It’s more than 3,000 words long and has attracted more than 8,600 shares. Length matters – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It’s All About the ROI

There’s a lot that goes into developing quality content, but the end result is all that matters. Are you producing content that resonates with your audience and delivers a tangible ROI? If you aren’t currently seeing a healthy return, maybe it’s time that you shuffle some things around and reconsider the formats you’re using.

Other marketers have done this in the past and enjoyed positive results.


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