Blog posts. Articles. Epic guides. 10x content. Infographics.
You’re probably heard a lot of terms tossed around as you’ve been researching content marketing and trying to wrap your head around just how in the heck it can help you grow your business online (or even offline!)
Since you’re invested in growing your business online, you’re probably already investing in blog posts and social media content. After all, they’re two tried and true ways to grow.
But you might also be trying to figure out how to grow even faster, and as a content creator it helps to know what all the options are in front of you that you can use so that you can make informed decisions about where to invest your time (and money!)
So what are the main types of content marketing?
- Blog posts
- How-to epic guides
- Social media content
Blog posts are one of the most popular types of content marketing because it is quite easy to stand up a blog, do some keyword research, write, and then press publish.
Because of this, competition tends to be stiff for a lot of terms and it can take a lot to stand out and actually rank for anything substantial.
If you do choose to invest in blog content as a strategy (and we obviously recommend that you do), then there are a few things to take into account.
First, your article has to be measurably better than anything else out there. To really rank these days, your blog post needs to be the best resource on the internet for that topic. So do some research into what has been written and see how you can create something meaningfully different and better.
Second, mix up the media in your post. Have lists, images, videos, and more so that the search engines see it as an authoritative piece and lend it more trust.
Third, promote promote promote. When you’re writing new blog posts, link to old ones. When you’re published, link from old ones to the new ones. When you’re guest posting, link to some of your content when it makes sense.
Blog content is a good start to content marketing, but it’s table stakes in 2021.
Videos are a great source of content marketing. After all, YouTube is the second largest search engine on the internet. That means it is a great place to be discovered.
So how do you create videos that get discovered?
I am by no means a YouTube expert, though I have driven tens of thousands of views through the channel over the years even while posting sporadically and not optimizing my videos well.
To begin with, it starts with the thumbnail. YouTube works so well because their recommendation engine is amazing. Create a thumbnail that will make those who don’t know you want to click.
Second, encourage engagement by subscribing, liking, and leaving a comment. It’s become a meme to talk about this, but that’s simply because it works.
And third, post consistently. Just like consistent traffic can drive SEO, posting consistently on YouTube makes them want to recommend your stuff more often. YouTube monetizes eyeballs, so the more content they get the more money they will make.
Because of this, they want to reward people for posting more content.
So let them reward you!
Infographics are an early 2010s strategy that SEOs took and scaled to the moon and ruined, but they can still be useful for adding value to your audience and for link building (the SEO in me never dies) if done right.
Infographics are, in a nutshell, displaying information in a graphical way in one image that can be easily shared.
They’re hard to create and hard to get a return from if you’re not invested in promoting them as well, but they are a type of content you can create.
Another classic type of content marketing are ebooks, which are digital books that probably are not also published in print format (though I have seen that done to differentiate).
Ebooks are a much larger undertaking than blog posts or even epic guides and in the past have been used to show your expertise in a subject as a way to build trust with potential customers and increase leads or signups.
Ebooks can still be a good strategy if you like writing and are using them as a way to build your cache to your audience. They are also potentially a good lead magnet as a way to collect email addresses, but data in recent years has shown that they are less effective than a shorter punchier guide or checklist because they are a larger commitment to actually read and learn from.
Checklists and other resources like this are yet another type of content marketing. For example, a house buying checklist would be a great resource for a realtor to create on their site as a way to attract new users.
It can also be bundled up and marketed on other blog posts as a downloadable. After all, if you’re a realtor then pretty much anyone on your site is likely a buyer and can benefit from that resource.
Studies (data, etc)
Some of the most impactful content we’ve done on my other business Credo is our data studies, such as our digital marketing pricing survey. We update it every two years and is a trusted resource both in the digital marketing world and beyond. This resource is probably the highest leverage thing we’ve ever done for Credo.
If you’re in the United States or even just bought a house before then you’re likely familiar with Zillow. Zillow built their brand off of data, specifically their Zestimate innovation which differentiated them. What you might not know is that they have put out data studies on individual cities for over a decade now, and doing so has helped them get press coverage across the nation. Data studies built that company.
How can you do the same for yours?
Whitepapers are an old-as-time trusted content type especially for B2B businesses. Good whitepapers are well-research, in-depth, and provide unique insights into a market.
When attached to your brand, a whitepaper can establish you as a thought leader especially when coupled with strong promotion in industry publications and outlets.
How-to epic guides
Epic guides are an example of “10x content” that is heads and shoulders better than anything else out there in your market.
Epic guides are usually lengthy and in-depth and are meant to show your expertise and dedication to the topic because you saw fit and were qualified to write it when no one else had.
A few examples of these are:
- Moz’s Beginners Guide to SEO (ranks number 1 for the term “SEO”)
- Credo’s SaaS SEO Guide (ranked number 1 for “saas seo” for a long time)
I basically think of an epic guide as an ebook that wasn’t published as a book but rather as a guide. Epic guides can also easily be packaged up into a book too!
Social media content
Finally, one of the most popular types of content these days is social media content and I definitely consider social media content to be “content marketing” from the truest definition of the word.
Social media is super popular these days and it is easy to build a following there by following trends and/or posting genuinely useful stuff (depending on your audience, of course). Or you can do both – trendy and useful!
The most important thing to remember about social media is that you have to show up consistently and keep showing up consistently. If you’re not always posting and managing then it will be a lot harder to build an audience.
Also, remember that when you’re on social media and posting content there you are posting on someone else’s platform. It’s not yours, as much as you want it to be. Social media sites grow by giving organic reach to creators, but then monetize by removing that. They will always diminish organic reach in order to make more money.
So build an audience on social if you want, but don’t do it at the expense of building your own presence on your own website and your own email list.