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Different Content Formats and When to Use Them

May 18, 2020 - fifteen

Content formats can take many forms. Most businesses think of it as just blog writing and while blogs are a good way to improve your SEO, there are countless ways to communicate to your audience quickly and efficiently.

Changing up your content style can shake up a tired format, create connections with different customers and open up avenues to various social media. Different content styles also work with customers at various stages of the sales funnel.

From quick, easy beginner information to in-depth guides for return customers, your content plan should cater to everyone’s needs. After all, content is king.

Here are the most popular types of content you can create. Mix and match them and you’ll find new leads, sales and exposure.

Blogs

Blogs are the most common and easiest pieces to plan. These pieces of content are the staple diet of any website, providing new keywords for search engines to crawl while also providing interesting content for your visitors. Blogs are quick to create and easy to upload. This content is perfect for capturing new keywords, short tail and long tail.

Blogs are valuable pieces of content. Low cost and easy to produce, this form of content creation can also help cultivate a community around your brand and build long term customer relationships.

However, it is essential to remember that relationships take time to develop so make sure you create a long term, consistent blog plan. Organic growth is a slow burn. However, it can become a source of visibility that snowballs with proper care.

When creating blog content you should also ensure that all that traffic is put to good use. Optimise your blogs for conversion. Always add a call to action and internal links to relevant services and products. Internal links keep users on your site for longer, increasing the chances they will convert. For added efficacy, add a link or shoutout to a useful external site. Once live, you can reach out to them to see if they can also share your piece on social media.

Research the keywords and terms you need to include in your piece. Once you’ve completed writing, ensure that all of them are included and relevant. Combine long and short key phrases to increase your visibility.

Long-form Content

A long-form piece is a great tool for establishing your site as a brand leader and showing off your knowledge. These pieces are also great for increasing subscriptions with the promise of more features driving viewers to give you their details. A long-form piece can take many different guises such as an in-depth guide, case study, or even a gonzo journalist piece.

These pieces are usually much longer than your average blog reaching up to about 15,000 words. However, you don’t need to write it all one sitting. You can break it down into chapters. Release them at regular intervals to build up anticipation and develop a readership. A feature also allows you to drill down into the keywords and get specific. Unique questions, expert insight and search terms relating your industry can all be included and ranked for increased visibility.

These pieces are time-consuming and require quite a bit of investment. Don’t let this time and money go to waste. If you do opt for a long-form piece, then market it. Promote it heavily and shout to the hilltops.

Case Studies

Case studies are specific to you and the work you do. These PR pieces are a great way to tell people about the quality of your work and get some third party feedback form clients. Customers trust a site supported by word of mouth and case studies are a good way to generate word of mouth.

Case studies can take many forms, a blog, a long-form piece, an infographic, even a video interview. A case study also allows you to develop thought leadership, share your experiences and create copy that is unique to your brand. These pieces also lend themselves to internal linking increasing onsite time and driving customers down the funnel.

When creating a case study, it’s important to not just report the results. Dry stats are nothing without insight so give your perspective. Every case study has a story so don’t be afraid to explore it.

White Papers

White papers are a long-form piece of content that relies heavily on statistics and data. This more technical cousin of a feature piece uses insightful data to create a detailed study. White papers are incredibly specific, often including information and jargon that only others in your industry will find relevant. White papers are the pinnacle of thought leadership. They can be used to attract customers on professional social media platforms such as Linkedin.

Generating a white paper is a time-consuming and potentially costly endeavour. A white paper has to be professional and accurate. You’ll need to trust a professional copywriter with this treasured article. White papers thrive on structure and should include an introduction, a glossary, and a table of contents for quick reference.

As with case studies, sharing data is only half of the job. Providing insight is key to a white paper’s success. A white paper is also a great place to show off what you have accomplished and drive traffic to convert on-site or subscribe to emails.

Infographics

Moving away from text-based content; infographics are an essential part of your content strategy. Pictures say a thousand words and infographics are no different. Combine your data with an interesting visual and you’ll create an easily digestible infographic that can be shared far and wide.

Infographics bring boring statistics to life so don’t be afraid to contact your designer and get their thoughts on how they can bring the numbers to life. Charts, graphs, and other visual media can also make statistics more impressive and drive viewers to convert with your brand.

Where technical documents like white papers can be difficult to share on social media, infographics have the potential to go viral. Brand your graphic and share everywhere you can. These pieces take content and design time so make sure you get your return on investment with a planned social media campaign.

Checklists

If there’s one thing everyone understands it’s a checklist. Creating an easy-to-follow list or graphic offers virality and social media potential. Checklists can be created to help customers understand how your services function or even DIY guides that add value to your community offering. You can also change up the format, use a fun flow chart or a checklist graphic to bring your information to life.

Checklist content is great for generating leads. A checklist shows off your thought leadership and can be offered to clients in exchange for subscriptions, shares and can even be used to improve other pieces you may have written.

This evergreen content format can be used time and time again. Invest in a checklist now and reap the rewards for years to come.

Videos

Last but not least, is video content. Internet speeds and infrastructure has come on in leaps and bounds. Video content abounds on social media, is easily digestible, and has incredible share potential.

Videos take time and money to produce though so you must plan your video as well as the share strategy before breaking ground.

Videos are dynamic and are ideal for users on mobile devices. A large proportion of viewers spend hours on mobile phones every day so the potential reach for an informative video is huge. Remember to brand your video and add CTAs to maximise on this potential.

Much like infographics, videos are evergreen. Embed them in other content formats and reshare them from time to time. This will help you get the most out of your video and justify the initial outlay.

As you can see content marketing is far more than words on a page. It’s images, videos, guides, blogs, news pieces, and anything else you can imagine. When planning your next content strategy think about how and where you can shake things up. Your clients will love the variety and you’ll find your visibility and conversion rate soar.

At Fifteen Design we’ve spent years developing, creating, and managing content strategies. We work with SMEs and multinational brands on bespoke content formats designed to increase your conversions and strengthen your brand identity. Allow us to help you tailor your content strategy with insight, guidance and support. Contact us now to find out more.

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