Content marketing includes so many options beyond the classic blog post. There are many types of content for small business marketing purposes. Everyone has the technical ability to create engaging content thanks to affordable consumer electronics, programs, and their own creativity. Also, it is easier than ever to find and engage marketing agencies and freelance content creators.
For many brands, the question is not if you should commission content, it is where to focus your resources. The written word, graphics, video, or audio recordings all potentially serve as the basis for your content marketing.
Before you start creating, consider how the different types of content fit within your content marketing strategy. To get started, here are a few questions to ask yourself before choosing which types to focus on:
- What skills do you have on your team or can hire? Although it is easier than ever to create engaging content, each type of content requires skills and expertise. For example, someone skilled in graphic design might prefer to create visual content like infographics but someone with sound production skills may prefer a podcast.
- Consider your budget. Although multimedia content is popular, written content is the bedrock of the web and most small businesses can afford to hire a writer or editor. A video or podcast team may be more expensive.
- What kind of content does your audience engage with? Revisit your buyer personas and research the content your audience engages with. Your social media analytics may be a good source of information since you may see whether your audience responds well to videos you share, links you share, or graphics.
- What kind of content are your competitors creating? This can work in more than one way. For example, if you identified that your desired audience watches social videos and your competitors are only producing blog posts then you may have identified a prime opportunity to cut through the noise and reach that audience.
Most small businesses benefit from producing or commissioning written content as a starting point then possibly branching out. However, it helps to be aware of the various types of content that large and small brands currently use to connect with their audience.
Most Important Types of Content
As mentioned, written content is the bedrock of internet content. Your audience may enjoy written content on their computer, phone, or tablet. Whether it be a whitepaper or a blog post, text is highly versatile and convenient. Engaging written content also offers search engine optimization benefits since search bots crawl text. Even if you focus on other types of content, you will always benefit from supporting that content with well-written descriptions and content like landing pages.
Types of Written Content for Small Businesses:
- Blog Posts
- Status Update
- Landing Pages
- White Papers
- Case studies
- Checklists and tip sheets
Even when you focus on text, feel free to take creative liberties and work in multimedia content whenever appropriate. For example, if you illustrate your blog posts with photographs, infographics, GIFs, or videos then you create a more engaging experience for your readers. Engaged readers are more likely to subscribe to your mailing list, return to your site or become your customers.
Long and short-form video are among the most sought after content online. People naturally enjoy watching content as it feels more natural than reading. Did you know that more people watch YouTube during “prime time” than any major television network? And it’s not just YouTube. People watch video content on Facebook, Instagram, Vimeo, and individual websites and streaming services.
Whether you publish pre-recorded or livestream videos, you have the opportunity to show your viewers something.
Types of Video Content for Small Businesses:
- Short social videos – videos and images typically receive more engagement on social media channels than text-only posts. Short videos that are less than a minute long give you a chance to show your brand’s personality and connect with viewers in a more personal way.
- Unboxings – one surprising YouTube trend is the unboxing video where influencers open a box on camera to show people how a product right out of the box. Brands also may produce unboxing videos to show consumers what they will receive and to tell them about the product.
- Demonstrations – immediately after buying a new product, some people search for videos rather than trying to find the answers in an instruction manual. Brands who proactively create demonstrations, how to videos, and tutorials generate goodwill and brand loyalty.
- Tutorials – In addition to product demonstrations, some small businesses produce tutorial videos. For example, a hairdresser may produce a video on how to blow dry your hair at home, while a chef may demonstrate a simple cooking technique.
- Conversational commentary – If you are articulate, you may do well simply talking with your audience about a topic of interest. Consider outlining the key points to help you avoid rambling. All you really need is a decent smartphone camera, and a space with good lighting and a simple background. Natural lighting is best. Consider using a microphone if possible and a tripod to avoid a shaky video distracting echos. You want your audience to see and hear you clearly and there are inexpensive options that work with most smartphones.
Audio Content (Like Podcasts)
Audio content like podcasts are very popular at the moment. If your ideal customers are busy multi-taskers they may listen to podcasts while commuting, exercising, cleaning house, or even relaxing in the bathtub. Podcasts and other audio-only content like Soundcloud are among the fastest growing media and the barrier to entry is lower than video content. To get started, one just needs a decent microphone, audio editing equipment, and headphones.
Types of Audio Content for Small Businesses:
- Interviews – interview members of your team, local experts, or anyone else you encounter who has relevant insights.
- Discussions – moderate a discussion of two or more people rather than an interview.
- Announcements – use your podcast to talk directly with your audience and make “insider” announcements.
- Tips, how-to, and educational topics – share areas of your expertise. For example, a coffee roaster may produce a podcast covering the differences between light, medium, and dark roast coffees.
Other Visual Content
Have you ever heard the expression that “a picture is worth a thousand words?” Hopefully, you already include visual content like photographs and charts within your written content. After-all, most people identify as visual including images strengthens your written content and makes it more compelling and persuasive.
In addition, you may opt to focus on stand-alone visual content like photo essays, gifs, or info-graphics. If you are in a visual field this may be a good option for you.
Types of Visual Content Small Businesses Produce:
- Infographics – infographics offer a visual way to convey statistics and information that may otherwise be dry. People share a good infographic on their social media and sometimes bloggers will use them to illustrate a post. Depending how you distribute it, an infographic can go viral or even boost your website’s SEO.
- Photographs – a single photograph, photo essay, or collage may also serve as content that drives engagement. Just be aware that search engine bots cannot read your photos so you will reach more people if you include some written content that offers context to the photos. Slide shows, videos, photo galleries are other ways to display your photographs.
- GIFs and memes style graphics – these may seem gimmicky but people engage and share GIFs and memes that appeal to them.
- 360 images and VR/AR images – VR and AR are emerging as highly sought after content. In the past, producing AR and VR was technically demanding and complicated. Now, simple VR and AR is more accessible through smartphone apps that take 360 degree images.
Creating Engaging and Shareable Content
Did you know that ideas are contagious? A study by UCLA explored commonalities of ideas that generate “buzz” or that people share. The researchers found that people are always looking for ideas and content that they find helpful, amusing, entertaining, inspiring or interesting. Since people are socially-wired, one theory is that people also look for content they believe others will find entertaining, helpful, inspiring, or amusing.
Of course, the content your audience will engage with and share will vary from another brand’s audience. However you are on the right path if you strive to publish quality content that adds value or entertains your audience. Pay attention to your audience engagement and fine tune and optimize your future content.