By now we all know that the way to any search engine’s heart is through great content, served fresh. However, many companies still struggle to provide a variety in their content marketing mix. It is no longer enough to simply blog. In order to stay relevant and build your authority, you need to provide multiple types of digital content.
By offering up various forms of quality content, you are providing value for your target audience with a selection of engaging tools and resources. Different users will engage more heavily with content that appeals the most to them. By serving up a multitude of content types, you are more likely to reach larger portions of your audience.
While there is a wide range of content types available for your brand, we are going to focus on the most common forms of written content in this article.
Exploring the different types of written digital content will give you lots of opportunity to build focus and messaging around your brand’s keywords. As always, it is incredibly important to remember to use any keywords you’ve researched and chosen in a natural and contextual way. It comes down to a matter of feeding your reader versus feeding the search engine bots. As long as you always set out to create written content with the primary focus of providing value to your audience, optimization will naturally occur as a result.
There are several types of written content you can use to leverage your brands message. Below we have examined four of the most common, including why each is important and tips to help you use each type successfully.
Article style blog posts are probably the most common form of written content used today. These articles are what most people think of when they picture a typical blog post. Blog articles can cover many topics including, news, product updates, opinion and advice pieces, how-to’s and lists. You can also refresh older blog posts, which could be used as evergreen content if the message is still relevant today.
Blog articles are important because they help to build your authority within your industry in a direct and more old school, journalistic way. This type of content is typically easier for your reader to digest quickly, and is highly shareable when done well. Of course, it also provides fresh and relevant content for your website, which can help improve your on-site SEO.
- Aim for 500 to 700 words for short form content.
- Aim for over 1,000 words for longform content.
- Use keywords, but in a variety of phrases and only when it makes sense for the context of the article.
- Break your content into smaller paragraphs.
- Include 2 to 3 relevant links per post, including one link to an authority within your industry who lend support to your content. Ensure this external link is a no-follow link.
- Include visual content such as images and videos throughout the article to help break up the content and keep the reader engaged.
- Be sure to craft a strong, keyword-rich headline and URL. This is important for SEO, but also to help drive engagement when the content is shared on social sites.
Guides are longer and more detailed pieces of content, which provide education for your industry. Sometimes referred to as white papers, this content typically includes worksheets, checklists or expert guidance in the form of a downloadable document. Guides are most commonly used as a quick reference versus an entire learning process.
Guides are important to your written content mix because similar to blog articles, they build your authority within your industry and provide valuable insight to your audience. Since this content comes in a downloadable form, guides can also be used as a great lead generation tool by having your reader fill out a short contact information form in order to access the download.
- Your guide needs to be graphically appealing and should include visual media.
- The layout and flow is as important as the content in order to ensure your reader stays engaged.
- Be sure to create your PDF with indexable text and embedded links.
Building up from the standard guide, e-books are very long pieces of content packaged and distributed as a downloadable books. This content is essentially a textbook for your brand which tells a story and uses your expert knowledge to provide insight to an entire learning process.
As with all of the written content we have reviewed, e-books are also important for building your authority within your industry. However, they are much stronger and more authoritative piece when done correctly. E-books provide value, but also a larger breadth of knowledge to your audience. Just as with guides, e-books can also be an excellent source of lead generation. Readers are very much used to having to fill out a contact info form in order to access an e-book.
- Be sure to write the content as an actual book with topics and/or chapters, a Table of Contents and possibly a glossary.
- Aim for a minimum of 10,000 words.
- Make the document graphically appealing with a great design to keep your readers engaged.
- Consider distributing your e-book in PDF and HTML format. Your HTML formats can have video and audio components embedded.
- Also consider offering your e-book in EPUB format, so it can be properly accessed readers and mobile devices. There are a few great online converters help you create an EPUB.
Unlike other forms of content with your focus more around your industry knowledge, case studies are used to tell a story explain who your brand is and the solutions you provide. They focus on the data and facts around how your brand has solved a problem for specific client. This is usually done using the client’s own words or with quotes from them directly. It is important to ensure your client is aware you are using them for a case study and that you engage them for input.
Case studies are important content tools because they provide your audience with insight about your company and your products or services, directly from your client. While case studies are clearly a sales tool, they should be done in a more genuine tone and use actual client testimonials to help build your brand’s reputation.
- It is critically important for your case study have a soft sales approach.
- That being said, you also want to provide a clear call to action to further engage your audience.
- Make the case study personal to the client specifically and the issue or challenge you helped to solve.
- Identify the problem and outline the solution.
When creating this content mix, there are a few things to keep in mind. Always be sure to attribute sources you’ve used in your content. This includes quotes, stats and visual media. There is a big difference between sharing someone’s content on your social sites and using it within a piece of content of your own. Providing proper accreditation shows you did your research and are giving credit where credit is due. Once you’ve created great new content, keep an eye on your social channels and industry peer blogs to see how it is being liked, shared and curated. You create great content in order to drive traffic and engagement, however you also want to see how it is being consumed and be sure your content is not plagiarized.
Providing a variety of written content types will add value to your audience on many different levels. It will also force you to examine the insights you can provide in fresh and exciting ways.
If you want to learn more about digital content and publishing strategies, be sure to check back next week for part 2 of 4 in this series. Next week we will be looking at various types of visual media content and how you can leverage them to further promote your brand’s message.