When we talk about content, we mean anything that is produced with the intent to market a business, product or idea. But, if you aren’t familiar with marketing, you will probably want a bit more of an idea of what to expect from ‘content.’

So here is a list of a few types of content we use quite a lot.

Blog

The humble blog is standard format for providing relevant company news, industry updates or any other useful, interesting or useful and interesting content. The blog is versatile, easy to read and familiar but this doesn’t mean that it has to be boring or run of the mill.

The key to running a blog that consistently attracts readers is understanding what those readers are looking for. You can use analytics to see which blogs are most popular as well as where the majority of readers are coming from. By tracking this information you should be able to identify patterns and angle your content and social media marketing accordingly.

Most companies have a blog now, but often it is left to waste after a few posts. This is because blogs are more difficult to maintain than you might think. If you are busy trying to run your business, thinking up new ideas for your blog each week and checking up on what is popular might just be a job too far.

Using a marketing agency to provide blogs and social media marketing is a good idea because you can ensure that your content writer is producing relevant material and it is being marketed to the right people. They will also be able to dedicate those few hours a week to maintain your blog, that you simply don’t have.

Maintaining a regular blog is good for keeping your audience engaged with your brand and giving them opportunities to visit other pages on your site. If you were to do only one type of content, then the blog is certainly for you.

Infographic

The visual cousin of the blog, an infographic uses images and some text to explain ideas to your audience. Infographics are particularly good for providing a lot of stats and other information in one place without appearing as a random list. They are also good for ‘how-to’ formats as they are made up of lots of images.

Infographics are great for outreaching purposes. This is because they can be taken from your site and embedded on other people’s sites with a link to your original page. You might want to provide some text to go around an infographic to give readers (and Google) an idea of the content of the infographic too.

People tend to like looking at infographics as they are more appealing than a large block of text. The infographic also lends itself to being included inside larger blogs on the same issue or printed and sent out to people as a set of instructions.

Whitepaper

A whitepaper is a large, in depth piece that goes into plenty of detail and explanation on a particular subject. If you have heard of them before, it is probably in a political context. Politicians often produce whitepapers to show that they have a thorough understanding of an issue and have produced a plan accordingly. And this is exactly what you can do.

A whitepaper is essentially a piece of content used to assert your authority on a subject. It can be written on any subject, though the best whitepapers are well researched and provide solutions to common problems. For example, you could write a whitepaper on the role of video in content marketing containing relevant stats on the matter and then go into detail about how to create the optimum video.

Whatever your whitepaper is on, it must be written clearly and concisely. Though most whitepapers end up as fairly sizeable documents, they should be easy to read and compelling enough to persuade a reader to get to the end. This means that rather than aiming for a particular page count, you should focus on providing as much information as possible without waffling on.

Whitepapers are an artform that takes practise and patience. Research and articulation are crucial for a good whitepaper.

Snowfall

Falling somewhere in between a blog and an infographic, a snowfall is an attractive way to present a lot of information without too much text. Think of it as a condensed whitepaper: lots of information, big impact but a shorter read.

As you scroll down a snowfall, animation, video and text will appear gradually – presenting information in an accessible way. Snowfalls are popular because they invite the reader to interact with the page. This helps readers to retain information but also encourages them to scroll all the way down to the end.

There are a couple of challenges that come with creating a snowfall. Firstly, the information must be presented in a simple but effective way so that it is easy to understand. Secondly, the snowfall must be ordered so that it flows naturally from point to point. Thirdly, the overall design must be relevant, clean and smoothly transitioning from frame to frame.

With all of these aspects, your snowfall will look effortless and your audience won’t be able to resist scrolling right down to the bottom.

Microsite

It might seem like a huge undertaking, but creating a microsite is a fun way to raise brand awareness. The same SEO methods are used to create a spoof website as a normal website, but you don’t need as many pages – in fact you only need a few to do the job.

As a spoof website is most likely just a façade, you don’t really need to write a lot for it to be effective. However, you should make plenty of effort to make the site look appealing and almost realistic in order to persuade people to navigate through the different pages on offer.

Content is key here as you need to entertain more than inform but then lead people to click through to the real website for more information. With the right tone and focus, the site could even make it into large magazines and online forums giving you an edge over other brands and making you well-known within your industry.

Spoof websites are a bold move but, done right, they can add a thrill to your marketing campaign that you’ll be talking about for years to come.

Video

Everyone is talking about video at the moment, but don’t be tempted to provide video for video’s sake. Every video must have a clear purpose and target audience to succeed. It should also be optimised for the platform it appears on for maximum value and searchability.

Most of the video you see on Facebook is now watched without sound, so take this into consideration when you plan your content. Should you add subtitles? Should you ensure that your video works without any explanation? These questions will inform the way you present your video and what you include.

Like an infographic, video works well when accompanied by a relevant blog post. This gives you an opportunity to unpick some of the points in the video a bit more, but it also gives Google a better idea of what the video is about. Similarly, videos are great for outreach as they can be embedded easily into other people’s content. This will help you to raise brand awareness and gain widespread attention.

Audiences tend to like video because it is quick, easy to access and works on any device. The better your video is, the more likely it is that people will want to share it and respond to it.

Videographic

As the name suggests, a videographic is a crossover between an infographic and a video. Simple graphics and minimal text are combined so that the viewer can move through the information with no effort required.

Videographics are good for explaining ideas using graphics because they provide a visual element for each aspect. So, if you were trying to explain a complex business model, a videographic might be the best way to illustrate your model as you explain it.

When made and edited carefully, videographics are shareable and appealing to lots of audiences. You might also consider cutting some parts out to create a series of small videos for sharing across different social media platforms and linking back to the larger original.

Downloadable Guide

Downloadable guides offer your readers an in depth piece of content, usually solving a problem. For example, you might provide your clients with a guide to using one of your products.

Asking users to download your guide is an opportunity for you to get to know your audience better and request their email addresses for your further marketing campaigns. While users may decline to give you any information, those who do provide these details will give you an invaluable resource for targeting your future audiences and tailoring your content for them.

Like whitepapers, guides are a good way to demonstrate your expertise and innovations. However, you can be more creative in how you present information with a guide and can hand physical copies of guides out at events.

Downloadable Report

Reports are another great way to establish your company and yourself as a leading figure in your industry, especially if you ask other leading figures in your industry to contribute.

In a sense, a report is about demonstrating who you know as well as what you know. It’s your opportunity to show off how well connected your business is but also gives evidence  that you are staying at the forefront of thought leadership in your industry.

Like guides, reports can be a good way to gain more information about your audience, but can also be given out as physical copies at events. They’re also good for sharing on social media which will hopefully get your readers to invest in your ideas and talk about your report with their colleagues and friends.

All of these types of content will be of benefit to most companies and providing your audience with a combination is a great way to structure your marketing. The type of content you choose depends on your goals: who do you want to reach? When do you want to reach them? What is the message you are trying to get across? Once you can answer these questions, choosing the type of content to successfully share with your readers will be easy.