In the first of our content marketing series, we outlined exactly how your business can benefit from a great content marketing strategy. Now, we’re moving on to the different types of content. Although this list is in no way exhaustive (we didn’t think you’d want to be here all day!) we’ve put together a few of the most common and successful types of content and given you some examples in the world of business and retail of companies who have really made great content work for them.
What it is: Blogs are the most common, and easy to produce, type of content. The main benefit of blogging is that it allows you to be really creative; you can write about anything and everything, as long as it’s engaging and in some way related to your business.
Blogging also allows you to incorporate different types of media into your work. This could be a video of your CEO being interviewed, an infographic outlining your range of products or an interactive timeline detailing the history of your business. If you can think of it, you can blog about it!
One problem many people have with blogging is that it doesn’t seem to “do” anything obvious. However, as we outlined last week, blogging has been found to increase lead generation and sales. It really does yield tangible results, and has the added benefit of engaging your customers in an intellectual sense too.
Who does it well: Patagonia
Patagonia sell high-end adventure gear, and their regularly updated blog, The Cleanest Line, totally reflects this. Rather than just using it as a selling tool, Patagonia’s bloggers write a great mixture of news articles, responses to global issues and personal stories. This blend makes The Cleanest Line a really engaging read.
This serves to strengthen Patagonia as a brand; as a consumer, we’re clear of their principles, their ideals and their views. It’s interesting, engaging, and it really works.
What it is: “Evergreen” content is so called because the effect it has is far more long term than normal blog content. It does often come from blog posts, but differs in that it has a longer-lasting effect. As it includes “how to” guides, tips and advice, evergreen content encourages visitors in a long-term sense. Content in this category is usually in-depth, totally unique, and useful to the target audience. Evergreen content has the added benefit of not relying on social media trends.
Another benefit of evergreen content is that it doesn’t have to rely on social media trends – this makes it far more reliable. We’ve all seen brands try to tap into the fleeting online zeitgeist – even if it isn’t ignored (which is likely to happen), it’s not likely to encourage long-term growth. The Internet is fickle, and most attempts to “go viral”, no matter how creative, are doomed at birth. Generating in-depth evergreen content is far more worthwhile.
Who does it well: Men’s Fitness
The Men’s Fitness website is constantly being updated with a huge range of interesting content, mainly involving training exercises and nutrition advice – a perfect example of evergreen content. These articles will turn up time and time again in relevant Google searches, making them a real asset to Men’s Fitness’ lead generation.
It also marks the magazine out as being a leader in their field; this content makes them seem knowledgeable and authoritative, which makes all the difference when they’re placed alongside a less savvy competitor.
Social media content
What it is: Social media content is any content posted on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, or any other social media platform. Even less formal than a blog, social media is a chance to really develop a “voice”.
There are two main benefits to social media: increased reach and increased engagement. Page likes and retweets will show up on the social feeds of your customers’ friends, and interesting photos and links are often shared on these sites. This introduces you to a huge market of prospective customers – and you don’t even have to do the work to reach them!
Social media also allows you to connect more deeply with your customers. Your customers are given a direct channel through which they can talk to you, get to know you, and understand your brand. This is a hugely important factor.
Who does it well: ASOS
ASOS are kings of social media; they have accounts on pretty much every platform. All of these accounts are hugely popular; their Facebook page has 2 million likes, their Twitter nearly 500,000 followers and their Pinterest over 28,000.
ASOS have a dedicated Twitter account for dealing with customer queries and complaints – and if the happy responses they regularly retweet are anything to go by, they deal with them extremely effectively.
They speak in such a conversational tone that, when engaging with their brand on social media, you feel you’re talking to a friend, not a business.
What it is: News content usually takes one of two forms: a news piece about any company developments, investments or events, or an item related to local or national news. The important thing here is that the content doesn’t just entertain – it educates too.
As news content is often industry specific, it can establish a business as being authoritative on a particular topic. This authority can lead to more opportunities in the business world, as well as increased trust and respect from customers.
Who does it well: BBC
The BBC’s “The Editors” blog is a mixture of content from editors, reporters and journalists working at the corporation, many of whom are experts in specific areas. This allows an amazing amount of detail, and offers great insights into areas of the news that may be ignored.
This is a huge asset for the BBC’s site – as their output is neutral, a personal aspect on world politics allows a deeper insight into the news in a way that would not otherwise be possible.
The best thing about each of these categories is that they’re fully customisable; a good content strategy takes into consideration all of the needs a business has and translates it into something engaging, interesting and memorable.