5 Types of Content That Aren't Blog Posts
It is well known how important blogging is to the growth of your business. As the backbone of most acquisition plans, it's every marketer's dream to have a fully functional, insightful blog that drives traffic, generates leads, and helps convert sales.
But in 2020, blogging can't be the only thing your business does.
Written blog articles are great - they're easy to consume, informative, multi-faceted, and extremely engaging when written well. However, with the number of social channels you can use to reach customers, expanding your content repertoire (and reach) is an important part of any business's long-term content marketing plan.
Each platform, from your blog to your Facebook and Instagram page to your email list, offers a unique way to reach customers. But the content you produce needs to be just as well thought out as the messages you're trying to convey.
There are many types of content you can create, depending on your social channel - you just need to know where to start. And luckily, there's plenty of statistical and anecdotal evidence to help you find the kind of content you need.
But before you get into the different types of content you can create, it's important to understand why you need to diversify your content portfolio.
The importance of content diversity
Sometimes you need to go beyond a blog post. And that's essentially because your customers don't always need to see a blog post.
Depending on where they are in your funnel, they may need to see something completely different - something that is more effective and engaging depending on where they are.
The best way to understand this is to understand the Customer Value Journey. If you can understand and memorize the steps of the CVJ, then you can begin to understand what you need to give your customer to help them take the next step.
Hint: this isn't always a blog post. And here's why...
Blog posts are a really effective content type in the awareness phase of CVJ. They can help people remember your brand, learn about what you do, and hopefully they can learn something about the process about your industry, your business, or the specific problem you're trying to solve. Blog posts can be good at other stages as well, but different stages call for different content.
In the awareness phase, short blog posts are effective in getting your brand known. In the engagement phase, long blog posts can be effective because they are informative and build credibility. However, in the sign-up phase, a free blog post is probably not the type of content you need to achieve your goal: Getting your customers to sign up and give you their information.
For that, a lead magnet or piece of exclusive content would be much more effective and enticing to your customer who already knows who you are.
Once you understand how content works in the context of the Customer Value Journey, then you can understand which content types are effective at each stage. Then you just need to focus on creating valuable content.
Because everyone knows that the value your content delivers is what really matters in generating customers.
(If you don't yet know your CVJ, your Customer Avatar, intimately, you should do so as soon as possible before writing any more content, blog or otherwise. That way, in content marketing and elsewhere, you'll better understand the steps you need to take to be successful.
And then you can create all the content they need to move along the journey.
5 Different types of content
Videos are an extremely effective type of content. In fact, video content could be the most important type of content you should have in 2021.
That's because people are watching videos more than ever. The rise of video was inevitable. But it's gained popularity so quickly that now every business has to figure out how to keep up.
And those that do have incredible content marketing success....
Just look at the stats from other content marketers like you. 80 % of video marketers said videos helped them increase sales, and 87 % said they increased traffic to their website. It's proven that videos get results - and the best part is that they're very versatile.
Videos can inform, entertain and captivate. They can do all three things at once, or exclusively evoke just one emotion. There really is no limit to what video can offer. That's why people use video so much, whether it's a commercial, an instructional video, or anything in between.
Because of this, videos can be effective at almost any point in the Customer Value Journey. But they're really effective in the first two steps of the CVJ because they do a great job of building awareness and are extremely engaging.
You can also use videos later in the CVJ, such as when you create a challenge video to generate buzz, or customer testimonials to promote your brand.
If you want to learn more about the possibilities of videos, ask us without obligation. we will be happy to show you how you too can optimally integrate videos into your strategy.
Infographics are very similar to blog posts, but they have an advantage over your typical blog.
They're nice to look at.
People like infographics because they can provide a lot of useful information. They also make this information very consumable and easy to understand. And clarity gets people to buy your product or use your service more than anything else.
An infographic is great for generating engagement. It adds another aspect to existing content and reinforces the post as a whole as well as the information being conveyed. Plus, it's downloadable so people can use it whenever they want.
Infographics will definitely help people remember who you are and what you do. That's mostly because your clients can get so much out of them. And with a little creativity and a good graphic designer (or a Canva account) they really aren't that hard to create.
The beauty of tools as a content type is that they are useful. The other beauty of them is that they are interactive.
Being able to interact with something and use it in your own way makes it not only useful, but memorable. That's why tools are such a good content type: People can get value out of it, and they can do it on their own accord.
Just as you loved using crayons for the first time as a child, or just as our ancestors reacted to their first hammer, your customers should react to the tools you provide them. They are cool, useful and tangible.
The only problem is knowing which tool you need to offer in the first place.
There is no right or wrong answer here, because it depends entirely on what you are doing and what problem you are solving.
If you're in digital marketing, maybe it's a tool that helps your clients build their marketing plan. If you're a personal fitness trainer, maybe it's a tool that helps your clients track their fitness and nutrition habits. Honestly, the possibilities are endless.
But whatever tool it is, it's best if you use it to get people to subscribe to them.
That means you shouldn't give it away for free. If you can't persuade them to convert by making a purchase, they should at least sign up to your email list or give you their contact information. That way, once they've gotten some value from your tool, you can make them another offer that will immediately entice them back.
And they'll probably already like you because your tool was so great.
Challenges are great. They are inclusive, fun, exciting and encourage interaction between your brand and your customers.
And that last part is why they are really useful. It's also why Challenges are completely different from the other 3 types of content mentioned above.
Challenges aren't really meant to generate new customers. They are meant to keep your existing customers happy.
They can be a great way to keep your already satisfied customers in line, or re-engage some customers who may not have purchased or opened your emails in a while. They allow your customers to accomplish something cool while keeping your brand in their minds.
And if you pair your challenges with some prizes for the winners, people will join in every time.
The only problem is like the one above: There is no challenge that works for everyone. They depend entirely on what your business is. For us, it's marketing challenges that help our clients and partners learn a new skill or rethink something in their marketing plan. Or maybe it's just about showcasing the great work they've already done.
But no matter what it is, that's the goal: to showcase your customers. It's about giving them something to accomplish and then showing them some appreciation. That's why they work so well in the Excite phase.
Who said content is just for getting people interested? Even for someone who has bought from you 100 times, creating content for them can do wonders for your business (and customer retention rate).
5. case studies
Last but not least, case studies are a great form of content to target people at different stages of your customer value journey. That's because everyone finds them enticing and interesting.
Whether you're trying to reach new customers or those who have been with you for 10 years, people love success stories. They're inspiring and give your customers something to strive for, and they also show how your product helped them achieve something significant.
This makes case studies a kind of customer reference. And although they are similar, there is one very important difference: you have to act from your customer, not from you.
Although you should mention that your client used your service, your case study shouldn't be about that. It should be about the cool thing or milestone your client was able to achieve. By making it customer-centric instead of business-centric, you have the opportunity to captivate your audience with your client's story. This only increases the desire to achieve something similar yourself.
And they'll still associate their success with your brand. If anything, they'll want to be the next case study featured on your website.
Case studies can accomplish many things at once, and they're really no more difficult to create than a regular blog post. All you have to do is reach out to your client and talk to them. If they've had a lot of success, I promise they'll be more than happy to tell you about it.
While blog posts are the backbone of most content marketing plans (and definitely shouldn't be underestimated), there are a lot of content options out there that can help you reach your audience in new ways.
If you use them and do it effectively, you should have no problem growing your business and your audience.