In my previous blog post, we had discussed the four major content categories: Words, videos, images, and sounds. This week we will be focusing on the first major category: Words. We will look at some of the main types of content that fit into this category, some overlaps, as well as the best practices for each. The types of content I will be primarily focusing on are those that are/can be used in marketing.
Psst! I might be missing a few types of content that fit into this category, if you happen to think of any please leave a comment.
1. eBooks Out of all the different mediums listed here, this has to be the biggest one. The great thing about eBooks is that they can position you, or your company, as a thought leader in your industry. Ebooks allow you to go in-depth on your chosen topic and provide significant value to your audiences. Some of the most important steps to consider when writing an eBook include selecting engaging topics, creating enticing titles, conducting intensive researches, and strategically outlining your projects. You must take the time to fully research your chosen topic and to plan out the structure of your content, otherwise, you risk wasting your time as well as alienating your audiences.
A great way to add significant value, enhance authenticity, and position yourself/company as a thought leader
Takes a long time to plan and create
Requires an intense amount of research and planning
Benefits strongly from promotion
2. White Papers This is a piece of content that is often overlooked. Very similar to ebooks in the sense that they require a lot of research and time commitment. White papers require more research than eBooks because they are meant to be more educational. This is content is not meant to be an entertaining piece of copy — the goal of a white paper is to provide factual as well as educational information regarding a problem and its solution. What makes a good white paper is its density and length. White papers should contain a thick amount of information, which in most cases includes data, graphs, and charts. This is not the type of content that your audiences should be able to easily skim through. You might be wondering, why would anyone want to read this? Those looking to learn more about a particular industry or solution would love to find well-outlined and informative pieces of content such as this!
A great way to provide a significant amount of information for your audiences
The ideal length is between 6–8 pages
Should have a serious and educational tone
A great piece of content to convince customers that your solution is worth exploring
3. Case Studies This type of collateral is also often overlooked because they are not as ‘sexy’ as the other types of content on this list. However, that is a shame because case studies are one of the most effective types of collateral materials that a marketer can provide. The stigma behind case studies is that people often think they are dry and boring, that does not have to be the case. Case studies have the potential to be exciting and engaging stories! A case study is usually a story centered around the customer’s journey. It starts with a protagonist (the customer,) who experiences a problem (conflict/plot,) and then overcomes it with your solution (product.) One thing to keep in mind, a good case study should never focus on the company — but rather the customer. What makes a great case study is how accurately and fully it encompasses all the trials and tribulations that the customer has to overcome to find their solution.
A great way to add authenticity to your product/service
Be authentic — a case study should not sound like an ad
Follow the classic narrative arc
Make it about the customer
Featuring customer interviews is a great way to add genuineness
4. Instructional Guides The importance of this piece of content depends on your industry. If the product/service that you offer is complex, then you should consider crafting an instructional guide. This will help you secure your leads and ensure that they are benefitting from the full experience of your product/service. When writing an instructional guide you must keep your audiences in mind. When proofreading your guide, navigate through the same steps that your audience might when reading it. Combining instructional guides with visual elements such as pictures or videos can be incredibly helpful — especially when the subject is complex.
Important for complicated products/services
Significantly benefits from visual aids such as images and videos
Should have clear instructions that are easy to follow
Serve as a great way to secure existing leads
5. Blogs When thinking about content for this category this is the most obvious type that comes to mind. Websites such as Medium, WordPress, or even Tumblr are great avenues to explore when it comes to this type of content. When selecting a topic, you are bound to find an audience for anything. Whether your business is working in the realm of entertainment or something a bit more dry such as insurance: there are ways to create engaging content for audiences who will love them. In terms of difficulty, it honestly depends on you, and I am not talking about skill. It is important to realize that one of the biggest setbacks a content creator can have is being compelled to strive for perfection. Once you get rid of the notion that perfection is achievable, you will be able to write freely and wholeheartedly. This type of content is a great way for a business to relate to different audiences, provide value, create a community around certain topics, and encourage curiosity toward their products/services.
There are many online platforms available for this, explore and select the one that is most convenient for you
There is an audience for every topic
Striving for perfection is a setback
Use this medium to deliver your truth to your audiences
Revise your content with friends and/or online software such as Grammarly and Hemmingway
Reading makes you a better writer — so make sure to explore the content of your fellow bloggers
6. Emails You can use this medium to provide your audiences with additional information, as well as promotions. There are many things to keep in mind when it comes to email marketing. You need to be certain that the people you are emailing want to be contacted, and that the information you are providing is of value to them. There are laws in place such as CAN-SPAM which warn marketers to not spam or disseminate misleading information via email. Key elements of good email marketing include enticing subject lines, great preview texts, and clear as well as personalized copy. The great thing about this medium is that you can benefit from being able to speak directly to each customer. By tailoring your content you will be able to provide valuable and relevant information to the right audiences at the right time.
Take heed of email marketing laws
Spend time crafting great subject lines and preview texts
Keep your copy clear and concise
Email is a great way to nurture your audiences by connecting with them individually
7. Micro-Blogs Are you intimidated by the prospect of writing long-form content? Have no fear, micro-blogging is here! This is an excellent way for a new writer to dip a toe into content writing. It can also be useful for writers who wish to practice being more succinct in their writing. You can find micro-blogging primary on social media platforms. Instagram is a great place to combine a quick visual with a well-written short-form copy. Worried about the visual element? Don’t be. You can use templates to feature excerpts from your micro-blogging pieces as a way to attract potential audiences. There are many benefits to using this type of content. It is a quick way for your company to connect with its audiences, provide them with value, as well as inject some short-form authenticity.
Perfect for those who want to stay away from long-form copy or for those who want to practice brevity
There are multiple platforms that you can practice this on, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
You can use templates created by Canva to feature excerpts instead of being forced to include highly visual content
8. Infographics Here is where we start to see a lot more overlap with the image category. Infographics are an excellent way to share bits of information with your audiences in a fun, visually appealing way. The great thing about infographics is that they do not require a lot of work! All you need is a template, information to be shared, and minimal copy. Templates are easily accessible through services such as Canva. A best practice to keep in mind for this medium is the importance of staying on topic, as well as keeping the information clear and relevant. A lot of marketers make the mistake of overcrowding their information which tends to distract the eye and confuse the reader. Overall, infographics are a great way for a marketer to showcase data and information in a quick, visual way.
Use services such as Canva to quickly create branded templates
Keep the information focused and concise
Add visual elements that are relevant to the copy
Infographics are a great way to quickly display facts and data
9. Quizzes Maybe it’s the 90’s kid in me — but I love quizzes. They are such a great way to market products in a fun, incredibly interactive way. By quizzing your audiences you create a shared experience. Not only do you benefit from getting to know your audiences, but you also get to build a fun experience around your products/services. Think of Buzzfeed (bare with me,) and how they inject products from various stores into many of their quizzes. Audiences benefit from the thrill of learning about themselves, while at the same time being exposed to new products that they might love. The key to writing great quizzes is in making the title and the subject about your audience’s self-discovery. Think of titles such as: “How Much Do You REALLY Know About Marketing?” or “Which Hogwarts House Would You Be In?” Their intrigue is based on our human need to know ourselves.
Make your quizzes about your audience’s self-discovery
Keep the questions fun and relevant
Quizzes benefit greatly from visual elements
Keep your quizzes short. The most common length is approximately 7 questions
Quizzes are a great way to get to know your audiences, enhance product discovery, and create an interactive experience
10. Memes This is a weird one! Memes can be fun, but also very risky. They can be a great way to connect with your audience, increase engagement with your brand, and inject a bit of humor into your marketing. To do this type of content justice you need to know your audiences well. The key to a good meme is to strike a fine balance between promotion and engagement. You need to tune your humor to your audiences. Another factor to keep in mind is trends. Memes are constantly evolving and you will need to be certain that you are up to date on the latest internet fads. Typically, memes involve very little copy and are mostly visual. This is another example of an overlapping content medium that contains both: words and images.
Require you to know your audiences well
Needs to be balanced between promotion and engagement
Imperative that you keep up with the internet trends
Are a great way to connect with audiences, increase engagement, and add humor to your marketing
These are the types of content that fall under the words category when it comes to marketing. Some overlap with images, others can be done entirely without any images. The great thing about these different types of content is their diversity of information as well as delivery. These are all excellent ways of connecting with your audiences and are worthwhile to explore.