If you’re in the process of creating or optimizing your 2018 content plan, these are the content types that you should be paying attention to.
The face of content marketing is changing at a rapid pace, as are the types of content that users prefer to engage with.
In order to stay ahead of the game as content marketers, it’s important to have the right mix of content based on the unique needs and preferences of your target audience.
Below we look at some of the more common content types and why they still matter, and we look at the early-adopter content types you need to know about.
The Original Content Types
Blog posts are where online content first began. In the beginning, blog posts were purely text but today, they also incorporate images, videos and infographics to make them more interesting.
The reason why blog posts are still relevant as a content type is because they are one of the easiest ways to position a brand as an authority on a particular topic. They also give brands the opportunity to answer user questions and deep-dive into a particular subject.
Blogs are also an excellent contributor to SEO success. In fact, websites with blogs tend to have over 434% more indexed pages than those who don’t. There is still an ongoing debate about how long your blog posts should be but testing the length of your content on your own target audience is the best way to decipher what will work for your brand.
Images were never seen as content before but with the increased distribution and use of memes and gifs, more and more brands are realising that images should form a part of their content strategies too.
According to Cumulus Media, 15,000 GIFs are sent on Messenger and 46,200 Instagram posts are uploaded every internet minute.
Gif : Upfluence Software
Gifs and memes are not a content type that every brand should be using but if you do have the freedom to be more casual with your content then this is certainly a content type that you should incorporate into your mix.
As users starting demanding more visual content, infographics quickly became a creative way for businesses and brands to inform and educate their online audiences.
Infographic World surveyed 100 businesses to find out whether infographics were still a content type that was being utilized. The report found that nearly 60% of all brands make use of infographics as a content type and that 84% of those businesses consider them to be an effective medium.
While infographics can be a fun and creative way to tell a story, they’re particularly great for brands who need to convey complex or large amounts of data without overwhelming or boring their audiences.
The more a customer understands how your business can help them solve a problem, the more likely they are to convert, and case studies are the ideal way to convey this information using real-life examples.
Case studies won’t be the right fit for every business but if using customer success stories is an option, it is definitely a content type that should be considered. Demonstrating the effect that your products or services had on the life of a customer gives you the opportunity to promote your business while providing your reader with something of value.
Case studies are also excellent for SEO as your copy will naturally line up with the types of keywords and phrases users will be entering into Google. According to a B2B Content Marketing Trends Report, customer testimonials and case studies are considered one of the most effective content marketing tactics by B2B marketers.
White Papers & Ebooks
White papers and ebooks are an excellent way for B2B businesses to position themselves as experts in a particular industry while providing their audience with valuable and very often, actionable information.
According to a survey by Demand Gen Report, 96% of B2B buyers want more information and input from industry thought leaders.
White papers and ebooks are, of course, also an excellent strategy for generating more leads, with many of these content pieces being placed behind lead generation forms. Keep in mind that you should always work with a designer when creating this type of content as it needs to be visually appealing as well as useful in order for it to be effective.
Not only are webinars still an effective content type but they’re also ideal for brands who are working with or would like to work with influencers.
By partnering with an influencer to create and promote your webinar, you will be attracting and appealing to an audience who already values and trusts the influencer’s opinion. In turn, this will make your content even more impactful and increase your chances of converting more customers.
A study by Linqua showed that 57% of brands stated that influencer content out-performed their own brand content and webinars give you the opportunity to present your content in an exclusive format.
The demand for short, clear, creative and concise content is on the rise, which is why short video content continues to feature in the majority of content marketing plans.
Videos not only give your brand the opportunity to be creative but it allows you communicate a lot of information in a short space of time while promoting your brand, products or services.
According to Hubspot, 97% of marketers say video has helped increase user understanding of their product or service, while 76% say it helped them increase sales.
If you’re already producing blog content, you can double up by turning a blog into 2 or 3 short videos in order to provide users with a different format while still offering them valuable snippets of information. You can take a look at Upfluence’s short video as an example.
The Early-Adopter Content Types
AR & VR
With over 70% of consumers already benefiting from augmented reality in their daily lives, the use of virtual and augmented reality will have a compound annual growth rate of 82%, increasing 20-fold between now and 2021, according to a report by Cisco.
AR and VR have opened up new doors to content marketers across the globe with brands such as TOMS shoes, Volvo, Mcdonalds and Marriott Hotels all already making use of VR/AR in their content marketing.
Technology is going to continue changing the way we market our brands and it’s important for marketers to stay abreast of these types of developments if they want to continue to evolve.
Let’s face it, we’re a data-driven society. We use apps to track everything from our sleep patterns to how many steps we take during the day. This doesn’t however mean that we want to stare at graphs and charts though.
Data visualisation is fast becoming part of many content marketing strategies as it offers brands an exciting and creative way to present important data to their target audiences. Data visualisation help brands tell a story about their data and explains why it matters.
Human brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than they do text, which is why data visualisation has proven to be such a successful form of content.
According to an article by Variety, Apple Podcasts features more than 500,000 active podcasts, including content in more than 100 languages.
This podcast boom has given content marketers a brand new opportunity to reach out to their target audiences and is another incredibly effective tactic to incorporate into influencer marketing strategies.
A study by Podcast Insights shows podcast listeners are loyal, affluent, and educated, with the majority of users listening to podcasts on their mobile devices.
Podcasts mostly require a minimal investment but can result in a much larger return on investment.
Over the last few years, infographics have been upgraded to be interactive too.
Interactive infographics allow users to actually engage with and explore data themselves. Mouseovers, panning and zooming are some of the most common functions that are included in an infographic.
Interactive infographics are particularly useful when your data falls into a number of different categories that can’t all be included in a static infographic. Goldman Sachs offers an excellent example of an interactive infographic done right.
Earlier this year, Google introduced AMP stories, a new form of interactive storytelling for mobile. AMP, also known as Accelerated Mobile Pages, offers a more engaging experience for users on their mobile devices.
AMP stories have changed the way that brands are creating and presenting content to their target audiences, with rich visuals being a key component. AMP stories are created specifically for the mobile screen, are eye catching and easy to engage with.
IoT, or the Internet of Things, is yet another advancement that is shaking up the world of content marketing.
In 2015, there were already a massive 15.4 billion connected devices, a number that is said to reach 30.7 billion by 2020.
Your Fitbit, television and refrigerator are just a few of the many connected devices that we encounter every day, a fact that is changing how and the type of content that marketers are creating for their audiences.
IoT content gives brands the opportunity to truly immerse their audience in their content by taking a more experiential approach.
The reality is, no one type of content is going to appeal to every type of visitor, which is why brands shouldn’t only be relying on one or two types of content. Variety is the spice of life and at the rate that things are changing and evolving online, brands don’t have a choice but to adapt and mix things up.