When you delve into the internet properly, it’s insane to think just how much content, and more importantly, how many different content ‘types’ are out there. With the new ideas we come up with, it's so easy to miss what could be a viral opportunity for your content and it’s often hard not to turn full circle with them to start all over again! It’s worth trying to utilise - or attempt to at least - every type of piece of content to see what works for your campaign.
What is digital content?
Content is information: the sum of fresh, readable, relevant, and useful information for a reader on your site. And as with anything in the digital world, it has to look good too, in an easily digestible way.
Content marketing therefore, is the way you utilise that all important information - leveraging it in a way that your ideal customer will consume it. You can do this through a multitude of different ways - but first you need the content itself, and that's where this post comes in.
A great place to start would be to confirm the outcome you’re looking to reach with your content, a direct goal that you want to achieve.
There are four outcomes to strongly consider:
To entertain – this will have a strong emotional appeal to an audience, making it very shareable.
To educate – this will allow for a wide reach especially for those who might not be in the know about products or services just yet. Again, this is often very shareable.
To persuade – This is slightly more emotionally charged; content that gradually changes the mind of the consumer (I say consumer as persuasive content will often be used in a product sense).
To convert – Content that is more often than not rational rather than emotional as you will need a decision-making brain when considering what a conversion piece has to offer you.
Content is entirely dependant on the individual. Not everyone will be receptive to emotionally charged content but others might be more susceptible to the hard-hitting stuff. As a useful accompaniment to this list, we have put together a Brand as Publisher Toolkit to ensure you can fully harness the power of your content.
Examples of digital content
Here are 101 types of content you could try your hand at!
This does what it says on the tin; a visual representation of data or information. It allows the stats or material you are talking about to be a lot more appealing to the reader.
They are hugely popular amongst millennials and Gen Z internet users. They are often videos and images with humorous text that typically go viral. A simple Google search will show you hilarious memes such as doge or Overly Attached Girlfriend.
Tend to be a couple of minutes long, allowing for a succinct explanation of whatever the videographer is trying to explain. This can be humour or learning based, and is great for everyone to enjoy.
Own Product Reviews
Everyone loves a personal opinion and so expressing this on your own platform allows your readers to gain an insight into what you may personally think of a product. If you run a blog, opinion is highly rated and nowadays followers are more likely to take your review over one written in a magazine.
External Product Reviews
This is similar, whether written on a particular product or company. Amazon and eBay are great examples of how your opinion on a product can change the minds of buyers.
User Generated Content
Any form of content; written, videoed, blog posts or discussions created by your consumers - Glossier do this particularly well.
How to Guides
These can range from topic to topic and can be simple or complicated. They enable a reader to completely understand how to use or build a product or system that they may not have recognised correctly to start with.
A hugely popular option due to the Buzzfeed effect. This particular example has more often than not been used for comedy purposes but of course, a list is an impactful way of covering any subject.
This comes in the form of streaming live feeds of videos, particularly sporting events or interviews. Social media has really captured this in live videos and stories.
MSN Messenger was a great example of how live chat took off in the early 2000s. Conversation was streamed freely and easily and has been developed for the ever popular Facebook, for example. Chatbots are more and more common on websites for customer service support.
They say a photo speaks a thousand words, and it can often be a lot easier to explain things using an image than a bulk of text.
The accessible way for readers to reach other sites/blogs that you enjoy or recommend. If shared, they could return the favour.
Particularly common within a business to illustrate the principle of their brand or service. Also useful for pushing customers down your funnel as a B2B brand.
This is also very common within a business. As with reviews, it’s important for customers or potential clients to know why they should work with a brand. Testimonials enable trust to be put in the company.
Question and answer sessions can be as formal and informal. Twitter is a great platform to open the floor up to users who may not ever get the chance to ask questions in a newspaper or magazine, for example.
Follow up to Q&A
The written format to your question and answer session. This could be insightful to those who missed the live event or still want more detail.
Allowing other bloggers to guest feature on your site.
Typically an email issued to subscribers (or at least nowadays!), featuring news and updates to products and the business in general.
'What to do' and 'what not to do' posts
Putting yourself in a position of knowledge can be great for readers. They want advice on where to go next, particularly in their jobs, personal lives, dress sense. A great example of this is Mark’s post on planning ahead.
Similar to a Q&A session, however this is done one on one with the interviewee, asking a particular series of questions. This works particularly well for music and lifestyle blogs.
Research & Data
Does what is says on the tin; a whole load of statistics that might aid your readers, or yourself for that matter, in the future.
Results of research and data
Build An App
As a way of announcing new content on your site or a new blog post creation.
A snippet cut from Twitter that can be thought-provoking or funny, depending on the audience.
Clips cut from videos, television and movies which users often embed within text to illustrate a point.
This can be a well-designed, shortened version of a book, or used to simply explain. Of course it’s usable on an iPad or any handheld device as well as your computer.
Are a fun and informal way to illustrate your point, even if it’s a serious topic!
Not as full blown as infographics, but just as hard hitting with information – check some out here.
Events, such as Digital Olympus, or a day of webinars for brands can be used to help customers or educate those who would like to learn more.
Online Events Roundup
For those who may not have attended your events, documenting it in some detail to give a good overview can be very useful.
Showing admiration for a brand or company can increase traffic to your blog/website, and could potentially allow for them to reciprocate the respect they might have for you.
Create useful spreadsheets or docs
Let’s be honest, everyone loves a good spreadsheet, and that sort of organisation does not go unnoticed. Organisation can often make or break a relationship with a customer and it’s important for that neatness to resonate through your entire business.
A pretty obvious piece of content if ever there was one!
Usually available in a series that you can subscribe to, they are audio files available to listen to.
Create A Chrome Extension
Depending on your target audience, creating an extension for a particular niche might prove useful to your brand.
Available online, here, you are able to upload slideshows and decks for yourself or to share amongst customers and clients.
Everyone has had the opportunity to experience this. Online games are available at a simple Google search and even on Facebook… Anyone for a game of Farmville?
Extremely popular amongst bloggers, many use Rafflecopter to ensure that picking a winner is fair. Using such a system can often mean shares, increasing the visibility of your site.
Solely based around the goings on in a business/company, this can include company updates, and any topics that will affect customers of that business. This will usually be emailed automatically to those subscribed, much like a newsletter.
Company goals and targets
Depending on whether targets and goals change within a business, it is possible to set them out within their company news, or within a separate landing page on the company’s website. Having clear targets as a business ensures the customer that you have goals.
Everyone enjoys seeing positivity, and stating this for all to see, be it the website or news, allows a company to show why it would be great for you to work with them.
Gather a large amount of information in a concise fashion. Dipity is a great source for creating this sort of content.
Interactive Demos of own products
A quick demo featuring a product of yours can do the world of good for your site. Everyone wants to know exactly how something works, and if you’re able to offer them this service, you cut out the questions that a demo would solve instantly.
Offering simple but effective tools to readers, for free, means that you’re offering a service that is needed. MajesticSEO allows you to access the very basic details, but despite this, they are the details most look for. This means individuals return to the site over and over to make use of the tool.
Often, a site or company is in need a tool that may change the way they work completely. Tools such as SEMRush offer a free trial and then paid service that can be endlessly helpful.
Offering readers the chance to partake or watch a webinar of something useful that they may relate to means that depending on the niche, it will be seen by many. If you are skilled in your field, many will jump at the chance at taking part or being able to hear what you have to say.
Those entries to your blog, like a diary: if you weren’t entirely sure!
Using an event to attract positive exposure to your brand. Depending on what the event is, this could work great. For example, during Hurricane Sandy, Duracell was able to deploy charging stations to the affected areas. They released this video, showing just how amazing the brand was at pulling people together.
When you’re used to writing extremely thought out content, a personal opinion post might allow your readers to see a different side of you, which is often very refreshing. Honesty is widely accepted within the blog community, which means shares, and exposure!
Everyone loves something for free, and if you’re able to offer information or templates that can get your readers from point A to B without hesitation, they will always return.
We want content to grab our attention and what better way to this than to get your readers involved? The whole idea of interactive content is exciting, most users will stick around on your site to try it.
The good old print publication. Unfortunately, digital has grown gargantuan over the last couple of years, meaning the magazine is slowly dying out.
Digitally based magazines are now available on computers and even tablets, which means the interactive content shown within them is something much like a pop up book; very entertaining!
For more arts and crafts based users, you are able to pin inspirational images to boards that are completely related to you or events in your life.
For the younger demographic, Instagram is totally image based alongside hashtags, meaning increased visibility to your page. If you are a 16-30 years based site, Instagram is a great way to reach your readers and can also be a feed to the site whenever you post, so readers won’t miss any new photos.
Reddit User Creation
Depending on your niche and how well you are able to represent yourself, being a thought leader in your field may mean any content you share within your Reddit profile can potentially become holy grail, making you an authority in your niche.
Documenting travel or research data that could be widespread.
This could be personal experience or creative writing, and content that is developed into a story can work well. Storybird is a great example, whereby you’re able to create your very own virtual book.
Points Proven Through Analogies
Extended metaphors or analogies are great to explain your point more thoroughly, or shed a different angle on something that might be difficult to explain straight on.
Great content as these allow you to give your personal take on whatever you’re reading. It positions yourself as a thought leader in your field; what you have to say may be of value. For this to work, focus on new releases/pre-releases/interviewing the author.
Similar to book reviews, you may need to establish the brand/business you’re giving recognition to as this could be picked up on and may work in your favour. Providing your recommendation may put you in a great position for the future.
Micro Blog Posts
Brief or short 'n' snappy posts that enables the user to send quick updates. Twitter, for example, only allows you to use 140 characters.
Are often fun, light-hearted questions that could possibly determine just how sassy you are or what character you are out of Breaking Bad. Buzzfeed is a mine for quizzes, which is just why they do so well.
Vloggers have taken over the world recently, with the likes of Zoella making an appearance at every corner. Vlogs are video blogs, and can be filmed for any niche. Often, this may work better for you, depending on what you focus on.
Often with customers, a run through is needed if they are unsure of how to use a tool, and when you’re not able to do it face to face, you can show them just what they need to do through a screencast.
A quick and simple CMND SHIFT 3 (or the classic print screen button on Windows), means you’re able to grab your screen and turn it into an image.
Many find songs a lot more memorable than spoken word or chunks of text. Depending on your niche, this could work great for your site.
Planning out or organising what you need to do for a project. Mind maps enable to you to get the most out of your ideas, and can only mean the best possible content ideas are used for your blog or website.
Allow for readers to get a real feeling for the person behind the blog/website. Generally, they are of an informal nature to get on a personal level with your readers.
Aggregation of articles
Is a great way of keeping readers interested in your blog. Think of this as a strung together story; you need different aspects to be discussed within each article to come together in a final piece.
Extremely self explanatory; a break down of a book that you might like to discuss on your site.
Everyone loves something for free. You can run a giveaway from a variety of different platforms such as social media. Promoting your giveaway on different social media platforms can build up a following and in turn increase your brand awareness.
Illustrations are a great way of putting your opinion across, in a humorous or educational way. Often, illustrations are a lot more light-hearted than a big paragraph of words, as well as being a much more creative approach to discussing a point.
Directly targeted to those working within the news industry, a news release is sent across to inform them of updates surrounding a particular story that might be of interest to them. This PR approach to news can work amazingly well depending on your client, and more importantly, the niche that they are situated in.
Public Service Announcements/Video Public Service Announcements
Typically targeted for educational purposes, PSA’s (and video PSA’s) are extremely impactful when it comes to highlighting issues and concerns amongst a large group of people.
Words spoken by another person, used often to make a point. Quotes are a great way of discussing things as they are relative to everyone. They are great as used on a personal level, particularly on a blog.
Are a great way of motivating and bring a positive attitude to your blog. People are often at a loss when it comes to their personal life, acting as a big brother or sister can make you be seen as an influential and thought driven character.
Humorous and light-hearted images and captions
Again, very self explanatory. No one likes to be serious all the time. Bringing humour into a situation can bring the severity of a topic right down. For hard-hitting subject, this is great.
Auditory works of yours that can be used to podcasts, for example. These recordings are often a compilation of audio content.
Lots of PDFs take the form of an ebook but that doesn’t always have to be the case. Providing a PDF with information for everyday use can then be seen as the 'go to' resource for that information.
This can be defined as creative writing or general writing, personal to you and compiled. Your blog can be described as your literary works.
Short videos don’t give you much time to sell a product, but a number of videos allows you to build up a brand, show off your products or just entertain.
As a business that sells, your model may mean that you don’t have prices on your website and it’s important to have this. If you’re in the process of developing this, seeing what your competitors are doing is a great option.
Bloggers, in particular, are offered items or gifts from events that might be a way of payment, so to speak, for writing a post regarding the item or a post with the item incorporated. They are often discussed within a disclaimer page.
Generally a page placed on blogs (particularly fashion related blogs) to discuss the ads and gifted items that they may receive. This will also be where copyright topics will be spoken about.
Slightly out-dated now but still a way to bring offline, online. A QR code can be scanned on your phone to bring up offers or links to your product/website.
Creating a plugin is not something that takes five minutes and is very dependant on your niche. Creating a useful plugin for your clients, customers and even people who aren’t is a great way to gain awareness.
Associates (and partners)
This is similar to a resource page but linking to companies and other affiliates you have can mean they return the favour.
A way of communicating with readers and those who wish to discuss topics relating to posts that you may have published. It’s a great way to express your opinion in a quick fire way, or to express your liking of the post. The more you read and comment on blogs, the more the blogger is more likely to notice you; creating that virtual relationship with them could always work in your favour in the future.
Showing screen grabs of media mentions is a great way to show off! There is also the option to embed tweets and Facebook posts from the media outlets.
Personal Opinion Predictions
Giving your own opinion on a matter can sometimes be hard to do, especially if you are going against other people’s opinions. Doing this can sometimes cause a stir but in turn, raise awareness of you and your brand.
These pages can have links to other websites, useful information and downloads.
Frequently asked questions are a great resource for any website. People will always have questions so providing them with answers is a brilliant resource.
These are guides or often reports that allow potential clients or customers to make an informed decision before working with you or a particular product or service.
Broadcasted through not only Vine, but Instagram and Facebook. Depending on which platform you choose, clips can be cut and changed around for up to 15 seconds to create a small story. Often, the content finishes before a big finale; meaning readers/viewers are able to go a particular page to continue watching the content. Particularly for Facebook, this type of content is great for creating humour.
Branching out to different platforms as a means of sharing your content is great way of amplifying yourself/your brand.
Polls are great when you seek the view of other people, and what their preferences are, particularly when it comes to your site; the layout and more importantly, the content. Giving readers such free range of opinion lets them know you’re happy for their contribution, and of course, you want to create content that they are deeply interested in seeing.
A little bit of background on yourself can give a personal touch to your site that enables readers to see a different side to you. Anything that evokes an emotion with this works wonders.
Advertisements, for example, are often seen around sites and blogs. Some may provide revenue to these sites, albeit pennies.
Are a great way of showcasing events, or even your design skills. Creativity through this method can often be seen by many depending on the niche.
Creating a Wikipedia on your site can be a great use of referral when a reader is looking for more information on a subject. This is particularly true for gaming niches, where they are able to access facts and tips that might prove useful to them.
Including at least a handful of these aspects within your content plan could do wonders for building a reputable online presence, as well as boosting traffic. Regardless of what your content may be, it will speak volumes to your audience; whether that’s to educate, entertain, persuade or convert, one or ten more of the above types will aid you in your journey to developing incredible pieces of content.
Download the Brand as Publisher Toolkit as the helping hand needed to create premium content, day in day out:
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