Content marketing is always changing to reflect the latest technologies and the latest trends in consumption. Content is a broad term, referring to anything from simple social media comments to extensively detailed whitepapers, and everything in between. Using each content medium to its maximum potential is the best way to be successful with your inbound marketing campaign, but if you stay consistent with only a handful of content types, you run the risk of a stagnant or uninteresting campaign.
If you’re looking to stay up-to-date in the content world, or if you’re just looking to inject your strategy with a handful of new mediums, try using one of these content types:
The term “journalistic articles” is used somewhat loosely here. In order to be accepted into a real academic journal, you usually have to be a strong authority in the field, backed with years of experience, deep knowledge, and a full team of supporting researchers and reviewers. But you don’t necessarily need to be published in a major peer-reviewed academic journal in order to reap the benefits of the “journalistic article” medium.
Like whitepapers, journalistic articles are essentially in-depth, detailed pieces of written content that focus on a given concept. The differentiating factor with journal articles is the research factor; whitepapers usually offer secondary research (and occasionally some primary research) in order to support a main point, but journal articles revolve around a bout of original research. Rather than making a point and using data to support it, instead you’ll be presenting data and drawing a conclusion from it.
Chances are, you won’t draw people in with humor or entertainment in your journal articles. Instead, these are scientific, logic-driven pieces that will heighten your status as an authority and provide source material for others to use in their content programs.
Interviews are a great content medium, especially for busy content marketers. The content takes the form of an organic discussion. You’ll have to spend some time finding and vetting candidates, but once you’ve found a potential interviewee, the remainder of the content piece practically takes care of itself. You can post your interviews as a video or as an audio file, but make sure to include a transcript on your site. The written words are powerful for SEO, and are more scannable for readers looking only to get the highlights of the piece.
Interviews are valuable because they share and enhance authority. If a brand and a leading voice in the industry are both involved in the interview; both of them get a share of credit from the other’s existing audience. In addition to providing some great material for your growing content audience, it serves as a sophisticated form of relationship building, and generally works as a mutually beneficial relationship.
Podcasts are a series of audio or video episodes that are free to create and syndicate throughout the web. Many leading online brands have their own podcast series, each with a unique angle or subject matter that’s explored on a regular basis. Some podcasts focus on industry developments. Some focus on interviews and news. Still others have more of an audience engagement factor, bringing in questions and answers or tackling subjects from reader requests.
Like with interviews, it’s wise to include written transcriptions of each episode on your website. Since podcasts are usually based on a subscription model, they function as a social media platform as much as they do an independent content medium. Knowing that, you can tailor your podcasting strategy to fit your audience appropriately, covering topics and speaking in a way that’s more fluid than straightforward blogging, yet more structured than social media interactions.
Do note that podcasts take commitment. Unlike journal articles, which can be used once to great effect, podcasts need to be rolled out regularly before they start generating results.
Memes are a type of Internet sensation, though the word is often misused. Strictly defined, a meme is an idea or a behavior that spreads rapidly from individual to individual within a given culture. Originally used as a descriptor of evolutionary principles, the term “meme” itself has evolved to refer to bits of online content that have captured attention and gone viral.
Some Internet users and online marketers have since begun to refer to any amusing picture as a “meme,” though this isn’t always the case. It’s technically impossible to start a meme, since a meme does not exist until it begins to spread, but you can implement pieces of content that could become a meme in a given context.
Hashtags are an accessible example. By introducing a trend, action, or conversation topic using a given hashtag, companies hope to inspire a viral movement collected under that term. Of course, hashtags aren’t a necessary component of meme creation; if you can start a trend simply by making a request or doing something bold, by all means, do it. The key here is to present a piece of content in an easily digestible format that can spread easily from one person to another, preferably in a social channel. It could be something as innocuous as a catchy tagline.
User-generated content can take any form, but in the modern age, it has become something of a medium all on its own. In order to cultivate the most user-generated content, it’s a good idea to open your own channel for it. The exact nature of that medium depends on your capacity; some webmasters will develop an entire wing of their website specifically to house user-generated content, such as a forum or testimonial submission section. You could also encourage a string of video reviews or visual responses through social media, though you won’t generate the same type of SEO benefits.
This type of medium is powerful because it carries more trust in the general public that straightforward branded content. No matter how personal or trustworthy your brand is, your content will always be treated with a slight degree of skepticism. Readers know that you are a for-profit business with an agenda, even if you are genuinely trying to be helpful. However, other users have no incentive to sing your praises or convince others to buy your products. As a result, user-generated content can do wonders for your perceived authority—and you don’t have to lift a finger to let it happen!
The drawback to this medium is, of course, the fact that you have less control over the output. You can censor offensive or incomprehensible content by deleting it or policing it, but for the most part you have to let it develop naturally on its own.
Ultimately, your blend of content mediums will be dependent on your audience’s reception. Your target demographics won’t have the same content preferences as your competitors’, so the only way to determine your strategy’s worth is to put it to the test. Experiment with these content types, and measure their impact on your audience by testing your conversion rates, analyzing the rates of audience interaction, and eventually calculating your ROI based on how long it took to generate that content. Integrate the new types that make the most sense, and adjust the remainder of your strategy accordingly.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.