8 Effective Content Types and How to Use Them
February 11, 2019
in Social Media
Content has become the currency of the internet, giving you limitless options to promote your brand, engage with your audience, hit new target markets and provide value to your customers.
That said, content is about more than blog posts. There are many types of content out there to keep your message fresh and your audience interested.
Take a look at these eight effective content types and learn how you can use them to drive growth for your business.
Info + graphic, or infographic, uses graphics and visuals to present information in an easily digestible way for your audience. At a quick glance, a reader can often get all the same pertinent information as they would from a longer blog post, making infographics a popular content type.
Infographics get more views, shares and likes than other content types, mostly because of how easy it is to absorb the information. They also have viral potential and are shared far more often than other content types, and they work particularly well for data, statistics and research.
If you have a graphic designer on your team, that’s the person to recruit to create infographics for you. These creative professionals are experts at creating compelling visuals and organizing information in a way that communicates effectively to an audience.
If you don’t have a graphic designer, you can outsource your infographics or create them yourself with plenty of services. This route can be pricey, but worth it for the engagement you’ll receive.
It’s important to keep in mind, however, that simply having an infographic isn’t enough for viral content. To make an infographic that stands out, you still need to apply the same principles of effective content and craft a specific, compelling message.
If you’ve spent even a minute on any social media platform, you’re familiar with memes. By their very nature, memes encourage sharing and have the potential to go viral. They’re also quite funny, in most cases, which automatically gets more attention.
Unlike infographics, memes don’t require any special skills or graphic design talent. Many sites allow you to include your own text in a standard meme format. If you have a funny idea or the mood strikes, put it in a meme to share.
Memes may not be appropriate for your blog, however. Memes are a social media phenomenon, so it’s best to keep them on your social media pages. You also want to be sure that they still provide some value and aren’t overused.
Videos communicate valuable information in a concise, memorable way that is more likely to be viewed by a follower. From music videos to office tours to how-to videos, there are virtually limitless options for how you can use video to promote your brand and attract followers.
Videos are a more expensive content option, but you can start small to begin with and see how they perform. As you learn more about the role of video in your content marketing strategy, you can put more effort and expense into creating professional videos.
Guides are super-sized posts that go into detail about a topic, often far beyond the length of a normal blog post. They typically include advanced information for your readers that’s backed by research as well.
If you want to create guides, you’ll need a good writer, a graphic designer and the right topic. This content should be top tier and deliver the message in an effective, readable way, especially given the length of the post. The graphic designer will need to fine tune the layout and presentation to ensure the post is attractive and readable.
You can also present your guide as a free download for your followers in exchange for email addresses, which boosts your subscriber list.
If your following reads books, a book review is a great way to connect with them and present yourself as a thought leader. A book review can be simple or in-depth, depending on how you choose to do it.
Keep in mind that book reviews aren’t suitable for all industries, so be sure you have the appropriate audience and that reviewing books makes sense for your brand.
A “rant” or opinion piece is a popular content option, mostly because of its light tone and humor. If most of your content is heavily researched and detailed, a rant or opinion piece gives you a chance to express yourself more.
For a business, a rant or opinion piece should be relevant to the industry, such as opinions on recent news or industry trends and changes. With this option, you’re not only addressing popular topics that are of interest to your audience, but you’ll also boost your SEO and shareability.
Keep in mind that a rant or opinion piece should be occasional, since constantly ranting about a various topics can come across as obnoxious. You should also avoid personal attacks or people-bashing, since a rant isn’t meant to be angry or rude. Also, welcome opposing viewpoints to prompt a discussion, rather than being guided by your ego.
Product reviews can help you establish authority and thought leadership in your industry. When you engage manufacturers, developers, service providers and other industry professionals, you gain respect and recognition within your niche.
Product reviews should include brief information about a product, the creator, aspects you like, aspects you don’t like and your recommendation. Complete your review with a call to action.
How-To and Tutorials
A how-to guide is one of the most popular content types, especially in niches that are specialized or technical. With their long introductions, they also offer long-tail search potential.
To plan a how-to guide, you need to identify a problem that’s common in the industry, then draft a post that provides a solution. There’s no limit to the possibilities for a how-to guide, especially for certain industries.
Keep in mind that detailed explanations, diagrams, pictures and videos are all helpful in getting your message across and helping your audience better understand your guide.
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Now that you have all these ideas for new and interesting content types, remember that you don’t need to try all of them. Not every type of content is suited to every brand, so if you don’t think that a certain type of content works well for your business, don’t worry about including it.
Still, don’t be afraid to experiment a little. Sometimes business owners will avoid different content types because they don’t know where to begin, they think it will take too long to create or they’re afraid to fail. Many tools are out there to help beginners create all types of content, so take a chance on something new and see how it performs.
Also, once you start learning how to create different types of content, don’t go crazy including something new every day. You’ll likely burn out and exhaust your ideas. Try a few new things each month to see how they perform, then commit to including the successful ones into your content calendar on a regular basis.
There are plenty of effective content types for you to choose from, and the more content you use, the more compelling your marketing strategy becomes. Content must always speak to the audience, however, so no matter what content type you choose, craft a message that the audience will share, listen to and learn from.