Content marketing demands a level of diversity. While one of your biggest priorities should be keeping your brand voice and output consistent to build a loyal audience, you’ll need to include multiple mediums and forms of content if you want to gain more domain authority and attract more new users to your site.
Fortunately, there’s little guesswork involved in what forms of content you need to make a campaign successful. There have been numerous studies conducted to evaluate exactly what types of content generate the greatest number of links and shares, and a handful of key winners always seem to stand out. Include these seven forms of content in your own ongoing strategy, and you’ll see far more links, shares, and traffic accordingly:
Original research is some of the best content you can produce for two reasons. First, it’s rare—people are seldom willing to take research into their own hands, so original pieces are inherently more valuable and more attractive to all those people doing secondary research. Second, it’s unique—because you’re the only person doing this research, your piece will get all the credit for the findings (and won’t have to worry about any competition). Unfortunately, original research is often costly and time-consuming, so if you can’t afford it, at least use multiple sources of outside research to inform your piece and come to an original conclusion.
Opinion pieces can go either way, because they’re typically either concise, detailed, and logical, or they’re random, long-winded tangents with lots of opinion and little substance. If you want to be successful with an opinion piece, you’ll need to be as detailed, reasonable, and articulate as possible. People aren’t going to be interested in your opinion just because it’s your opinion—they’ll be interested because it’s well-researched, well-thought out, and intelligently stated. Make sure that your opinion piece is directly relevant to your field of expertise—don’t delve into subjects that you have little experience with or tangential matters like political issues.
Listicles are a standby for a reason—people love to read them. Even if you have reservations about the integrity of the format, you can’t deny how many people click, read, and share these types of features. You can make a listicle about almost anything—in fact, this article counts as a listicle itself. All you really need is some kind of numbered list at the center of your piece. Still, don’t think you’re out of the woods just because you’ve included the proper number of items—you need to back up your findings with research or evidence, and make compelling cases for each item on your list.
Online videos have grown in popularity every year since their first appearance on the web, driven in part by better Internet access that makes streaming more convenient and in part from new technology that makes it easier to produce and share videos. If you have a camera in your phone, there’s no excuse why you shouldn’t be producing videos for your brand. They don’t have to be exquisitely produced high-budget features, but they do have to use visuals and sounds to communicate with your audience. If you’re low on ideas, try doing an interactive whiteboard segment, or simply filming an interview with a well-known authority in your industry.
How-to posts are pretty straightforward. They take a topic and use content to inform a reader how to approach that topic. Simple examples include “how to tie a tie” or “how to swim,” while more complex, niche topics include “how to invest in mutual funds for retirement” or “how to repair a broken garage door.” Try to be as unique in your topic selection as possible—find topics that people haven’t already beaten to death. You’ll also want to incorporate multiple mediums if you can—images and videos go a long way in supporting how-to post quality.
Why posts are similar to how-to posts because they introduce a topic and explain it, but rather than taking a user through a step-by-step of a given action or behavior, they take a higher level approach. Why posts demand ample research before their writing, and aren’t necessarily relevant for all topics and industries. Think carefully about what your audience would actually care to learn about, and write “why” posts around those topics.
Infographics aren’t as popular as they used to be, thanks mostly to their oversaturation in the market, but they’re still incredibly valuable pieces of content if you do them up properly. Infographics combine the power of objective, valuable research with the aesthetics of a simple image-based design. The end result is something that’s fun, easy to read, digestible, and ultimately valuable for a user. It’s no wonder they’re some of the most-shared pieces of content on the web. Just be aware that these aren’t pieces you can bluff your way through—you need a real knockout piece to be successful.
There’s one caveat to this list—you won’t be able to rely on it forever. While this list accurately depicts the state of content marketing currently, it’s an industry that undergoes constant changes. In a few years, some of these forms may fall out of style, and new mediums may move in to replace them. Pay attention to what your audience responds to best, and favor those forms above the others.
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.