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9 Types of Content Marketing You Need to Use (And Best Practices For Mastering Each One)

content marketing types

 Content Marketing | 7 min read

Let’s face it: From the web’s very beginning, all the best websites have had great content.

No matter whether someone goes to a site for business or pleasure, what keeps people coming back is content. However, only in the last few years have digital marketers started to really dig down into all the types of content marketing the digital medium allows.

When the web was young, text content was 99 percent of what was available. Text was all the vast majority of users had the bandwidth to download. Multimedia was kept to simple formats with small file sizes so it wouldn’t take days to browse a website.

How things have changed!

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Scads of bandwidth and processing horsepower have transformed the types of content marketing.

These days, content marketing has exploded with all kinds of fantastic formats:

  • B2B and B2C customers alike can now access thousands of hours of video on any topic.
  • New tools have made it easier than ever to produce thrilling and memorable infographics.
  • Interactive experiences that once took hours of coding can now be built in just minutes.

There are dozens of types of content marketing out there, but the majority of content that produces real engagement – and conversions – falls into nine kinds. In this post, we’ll be reviewing the top nine types of content marketing and how to get the most from each one.

Let’s get started!

1. Blog

Your blog is the bread and butter of your entire content strategy. It serves two major purposes: Attracting users to your blog and motivating them to convert – typically to email subscribers.

For your blog to be effective, it needs to be packed with helpful and informative posts. When people can put your content to work for them, they’re more likely to trust you as an authority.

Blogging Best Practices:

  • Determine the pain points and burning questions that your readers go online to resolve.
  • Perform keyword research to enrich your content with real search queries people use.
  • Use attention-grabbing, keyword-optimized headlines and split test them for clicks.
  • Explore post formats, but remember, most top performing posts are 1,000+ words!
  • Use analytics, social media, competitive research, and feedback to generate topics.

2. Ebooks

Once your visitors are checking out your blog, what inspires someone to go a step further and be a subscriber? The answer is a high quality lead magnet – and that often means an ebook.

By going into deeper detail than even the best blog posts, ebooks are intended to help your users move toward their goals in exchange for inviting you to contact them periodically.

Ebook Best Practices:

  • Align your ebooks with buyer journey stages to determine your topic and approach.
  • Use objective facts, figures, and statistics to raise your credibility as an authority.
  • Carefully plan out the sections of your ebook so you can use each for blog posts.
  • Pepper the text with great graphics and be sure you have a full, compelling cover.
  • Use the formatting conventions and visual language of publishing for a polished look.

3. Email Marketing

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Email marketing is one of the most effective types of content marketing for cultivating a long-term relationship. It helps keep users informed about upcoming content, offers, and deals.

People will generally only sign up for email marketing if they get something in return. Once they’ve accepted your lead magnet and subscribed, they expect relevant and valuable content!

Email Marketing Best Practices:

  • Be sure all of your users affirmatively opts in to receive your email before sending any.
  • Establish expectations for how frequently users will receive email and stick to them.
  • Provide your subscribers with the option to select a plain text or full HTML email.
  • Experiment and optimize your headlines to see which messaging resonates the most.
  • Remember – with very few exceptions, each marketing email should have just one call to action (CTA).

4. Video Marketing

Among all the different types of content marketing, video marketing is unique: It can convey a huge amount of information in a very short time and is uniquely effective on mobile platforms.

B2B decision makers are learning to love video marketing, too. It gives them the chance to make good use of their downtime, especially when video content is five minutes or shorter.

Video Marketing Best Practices:

  • Ensure your video ends with a CTA that lets users move on to your site or offer.
  • Experiment with polished, professional videos, live streaming, and cell phone videos.
  • Focus on quality audio, which is more likely than video glitches to scare a viewer off.
  • Use editing to your advantage rather than trying to get everything perfect in one “take.”
  • Review your video analytics to determine when and where users are clicking away.

5. Social Media Marketing

The nuances of social media marketing depend on a number of factors. Each platform offers you different opportunities, and it’s important to use them to the utmost by knowing them well.

If you only have time for one social media platform, most B2B businesses will get the highest ROI from their time investment with LinkedIn. B2C firms should look at Facebook or Twitter.

Social Media Marketing Best Practices:

  • Use compelling photographs or illustrations in as many posts as possible (aim for 100%).
  • Don’t just post links and headlines. Always add your own perspective or some analysis.
  • Do your best to foster real conversations – reply to threads and contact users individually.
  • Use hashtags, including relevant, trending tags and your branded tags, to raise visibility.
  • Share content from influencers in your space to pave the way for future collaboration.

6. Infographics

Infographics are among the most intriguing and influential types of content marketing to emerge over the last few years. They help people see data in fascinating new ways.

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Experts have estimated infographics are actually the most shareable content out there. They tend to be shared anywhere from 2X to 3X more than other content formats when designed well.

Infographic Best Practices:

  • Start with strong data! Insightful data is key to helping users make sense of their world.
  • Map out your infographic before you begin, figuring out just what you want it to convey.
  • Tell a compelling story with your graphic, including a beginning, a middle, and an end.
  • Cite all of your data sources to foster trust and demonstrate your chops as an authority.
  • Ensure your infographic has your company URL on it so those who see it can find you.

7. Case Studies

Case studies are crucial to customers entering the Decision phase of the buyer journey. They are used by serious leads to determine which solutions are likely to suit their specific situation best.

Case studies are among your best opportunities to showcase the ways your solution has exceeded the expectations of buyers just like the reader accessing it. Ideally, they lead to sales contact.

Case Study Best Practices:

  • Segment your case studies by product and usage case to maximize the effect on your leads.
  • Use plenty of social proof, with laudatory quotes from your clients getting pride of place.
  • Build each case study to have a start, middle, and end – with your product as the “hero.”
  • Emphasize the business problems you solved and how they relate to leads’ pain points.
  • Make sure your case study is tied into your overall strategy, leading toward sales contact.

8. Tests and Quizzes (“Interactive Content”)

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Interactive self-assessments are unbelievably popular. Every once in a while, a wave of them will flood the B2C sphere. Everyone loves getting a new little morsel of personality info and comparing results.

But tests and quizzes can be perfect for B2B too when they communicate business value. An interactive experience can gently pull users along and get them excited to learn something new.

Interactive Content Best Practices:

  • Make sure your content provides real, tailored responses – not just a sales pitch.
  • Structure quizzes so leads can use them to get actionable data on business issues.
  • Don’t require an email or login for users to be able to see their personalized results.
  • Provide a way for users to share their quiz results to colleagues or to social media.
  • Use the minimum number of questions necessary to get meaningful, robust results.

9. Online Course

Online courses are becoming more popular as a way for brands to showcase their expertise and create a lasting relationship. A good course gives you a stake in a lead’s future success.

Because these courses operate on a “one to many” model, they are highly scalable and can serve the needs of a diverse clientele. They also tend to be inexpensive once established.

Online Course Best Practices:

  • Develop courses with the specific skills and knowledge your learners desire in mind.
  • Look for ways to provide feedback where possible, such as with auto-graded quizzes.
  • Signpost the length of course content like videos and texts to make them more accessible.
  • Segment through other marketing practices, especially email lists, so tailored content reaches your learners.
  • Furnish visible ways for users to verify and share their learning so they feel more motivated.

Content Marketing Offers You Amazing Opportunities to Connect With Your Audience

With all the types of content marketing out there, there’s always a new way to connect with the right lead at the right time. Every kind of content helps you add value in different ways.

Text content, especially blogs, will form the backbone of most of your content marketing strategy. Still, it’s a good idea to diversify. That way, you help users learn and retain information.

No matter where you start or what your objectives look like, stick with it and always keep building your content library. Before long, your brand will be recognized for excellence.

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Published on December 13, 2018

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