Content Marketing Formats and When to Use Them

When it comes to running a successful business, marketing is a critical part of your strategy. And in the world of marketing, content is king. But content can take many shapes and sizes.

Content marketing is a form of marketing that focuses on creating, publishing, and distributing content for a targeted audience online. Businesses use this strategic approach to build relationships with their customers and prospects by creating valuable content that educates, informs, and entertains.

In order to run a successful content marketing campaign, it’s essential to understand the different types of content marketing and when to use them. In this guide, you’ll get an overview of the various pieces that can make up your next content marketing campaign.

Create Blog Posts

Perhaps one of the oldest formats for sharing content, blog posts are a great way to share your company’s story, product updates, industry news, and more. Blogs are a type of web page with a headline, body copy, and images that live on your website.

Platforms like WordPress, Squarespace, WebFlow, and others make it easy to create and publish a blog. But that doesn’t mean that creating a great blog post is easy. Like all good strategies, it’s important to put time and effort into developing quality content that will resonate with your specific audience.

No one wants to read a poorly written or boring article. In fact, half-heartedly blogging can have a negative effect on your business. So make sure your blog posts are well-written, engaging, and informative. For SEO purposes, you should aim to write at least 500 words.

If you’re not sure where to start, Draft’s writer marketplace and content ideation tools can help you hit the ground running. 

When to use blog posts?

You want to write a blog when you have something new, exciting, or opinionated to say that will be relevant to your target audience. In general, blogs are a great place for thought leadership, and bold opinions from you or your brand. 

For example, if you’re a software company, you might produce a blog post about the future of your industry and the ways your organization is shaping that. If you’re a retail store, you might want to write a blog post about the latest trends in fashion. And if you’re a food company, you might want create a blog post about the new scientific discoveries about the benefits of superfoods.

Create Articles and Guides

Unlike blog posts, articles and guides tend to be evergreen content. That means they don’t have an expiration date or won’t likely become out of date in a short time. They are timeless pieces that will be relevant and useful to your audience long after they are published.

These publications are meant to establish your brand as an expert in your industry. Articles and guides are usually slightly longer than blog posts, running around 2000-3000 words. This extra word count makes them better suited to go into more depth on a particular topic.

When should you create an article or guide?

It would be best to write a content guide only when you want to share detailed, well-researched information with your audience. The skyscraper technique is a great way to develop ideas for articles and guides. It consists of finding a popular, well-shared piece of content in your industry and then diving deeper or taking a different angle in your own content.

For example, if you’re in the fashion industry, you might find a popular blog post about the latest fashion trends. But instead of simply regurgitating that information, you could write an in-depth guide that goes into more detail about the cultural shifts or economic shifts that led to that trend. This is sometimes called “information gain.”

Create Whitepapers

Taking things one step further, whitepapers are in-depth articles or guides that are usually more than ten pages long. They are meant to be highly technical and provide detailed information and statistics about a particular topic.

Whitepapers are often used as lead generation tools. In other words, they are used to generate leads by “gating” the content behind a form. Users provide their contact information to access the whitepaper and you get to then nurture them toward becoming a customer.

When should you create a whitepaper?

Whitepapers are most popular in the B2B landscape and are used to generate leads for businesses that sell complex products or services. This type of content is also ideal for explaining more than just a product. You can include your roadmap, company culture, target market, or any additional information that can help close a deal.

Another instance where whitepapers prevail is when your company conducts its own original research. This is a great opportunity to share your findings with the public and position your brand as an authority in the industry. Because they’re typically a primary source of data, whitepapers can sometimes earn attention from industry news outlets and journalists which increases the reach of your content.  

Create Ebooks

Ebooks are similar to whitepapers in that they are in-depth pieces of content that generally exceed the length of a regular blog post. However, ebooks are usually less formal and more conversational in tone. They can also be heavily designed with images, infographics, and other visuals.

The narrative is also a key component in an ebook. Unlike a whitepaper, which is meant to be informative, an ebook tells a story that engages the reader and keeps them hooked until the very end.

Like whitepapers, ebooks are often used as lead generation tools to capture email addresses from visitors. However, you can also use them to build relationships with customers and nurture them further down the funnel.

Some companies offer free ebooks to customers who purchase a product or service.

When should you create an ebook?

Ebooks are ideal for telling a story and building an emotional connection with your audience. If you have a lot of data or research to share, an ebook is also a great format. You can use it to showcase your findings in a way that is both visually appealing and easy to read.

Ebooks can also be a great way to show off your company’s personality, depending on your audience. If you have a fun, bubbly brand, your ebook should reflect that.

Create Case Studies

Next are case studies. A case study is a story based on true events that showcase how your clients used your product or service to solve a problem or achieve a goal. The best case studies are specific, data-driven, and written in a way that is clearly in line with your brand voice.

Case studies are one of the most effective types of content marketing because they offer proof that your product or service works. They also provide an opportunity to show off your customer’s success, which can help build trust and credibility.

When done right, case studies can be very impactful and persuasive. However, they can also be time-consuming and expensive to produce because they require in-depth research and interviews, and typically require approval from your customer or client.

When should you create a case study?

A case study is ideal for showcasing how your product or service has helped customers achieve their goals. They are instrumental when selling a service or a solution to a problem that’s not immediately obvious. For example, if you’re selling a CRM system, a case study can show how your product helped a customer increase sales and improve customer retention.

Create Email Content

Email content comes in all shapes and sizes, from simple text emails to highly designed newsletters. The type of email content you create will depend on your goals and your audience.

These content marketing formats are meant to be easily digestible, scannable, and straight to the point. The goal of email content is typically to drive clicks or conversions, in which case it’s also essential to include a strong call to action.

The most common types of email content are:

  • Announcements: Used to share a single piece of news about your product or service.
  • Customer retention: Emails sent to keep customers engaged and reduce churn.
  • Customer reactivation: Sent to customers who haven’t interacted in a while to get them back engaged.
  • Lead nurturing: A series of emails sent over time to build relationships with prospects and turn them into customers.
  • Newsletters: A recurring email roundup of product, service, or content updates to engage and inform your audience.
  • Promotions: Sent to drive sales or encourage customers to take a specific action.

When to use email marketing?

The majority of companies can benefit from email marketing. That’s because there are so many different types of email content you can create, and each one has the potential to drive results.

Email is also a great way to stay in touch with your customers and keep them updated on what’s going on with your business. It’s also an effective way to build relationships and create a more personal connection with your audience.

Create Social Media Content

Social media content comes in all forms, from short tweets to long-form videos. The type of content you create will depend on the social media platform you’re using and your goals for that particular piece of content. However, they all have one thing in common: they’re all meant to be shared.

The most common types of social media platforms to grow commercially include:

Facebook

You can also use Facebook to create a community around your brand and engage with other communities aligned with your industry. This is done by publishing engaging content, responding to comments, and joining relevant groups.

Facebook is also great for e-commerce businesses with physical products, as it allows you to showcase your products in a visually appealing way. You can also use Facebook Live to give your customers a behind-the-scenes look at your business.

Instagram

Instagram is a highly visual social media platform, making it perfect for businesses in the fashion, travel, or food industries. However, any business can succeed on this platform if they create beautiful visuals and partner with influencers.

Instagram Stories show off your products and services in action. This strategy is advantageous if you have a target audience of Millennials or Gen Zers, as they’re more likely to engage with Stories than traditional posts on their feed.

To be successful on Instagram, you should have a definite visual identity. That means using similar filters for your photos, sticking to a consistent color scheme, and using branded hashtags. If you’re low on visuals like photos and images, consider creating text graphics using a tool like Canva. Draft writers can provide the copy if you want to accelerate your social media strategy.

LinkedIn

LinkedIn is the perfect platform for B2B businesses. That’s because it’s full of professionals who are already interested in what you have to offer. The key to success on LinkedIn is to publish high-quality content that will position you as an expert in your industry.

You can also use LinkedIn to generate leads by creating blog posts, infographics, and other types of content marketing that drive traffic back to your website. You can also use it as a hunting ground for content ideas. For example, polling people in your network to understand which pain points are their biggest.

Finally, LinkedIn is a great platform for building relationships with other businesses in your industry. You can do this by joining relevant groups, engaging in discussions, and liking or sharing content from leaders in your industry.

Twitter

Twitter is primarily about sharing short snippets of information, although long-form content has made a resurgence in recent years via threaded comments that expand on the author’s initial tweet. It’s a great platform for sharing news, updates, and promotions. It’s also a great way to build relationships with your customers by responding to their tweets.

To be successful on Twitter, you need to be consistently active and engaging. This means tweeting regularly, using relevant hashtags, and tagging other users in your tweets. You also need to create visually appealing content, as tweets with images or videos tend to get more engagement than those without them.

Twitter is known for its strong fintech, cryptocurrency, and business communities. If you’re in one of these industries, Twitter is an excellent platform for you to share your content.

Quora

Quora is a Q&A platform full of people looking for answers to their questions. You can use Quora to position yourself as an expert in your industry by answering questions related to your business.

You can also use Quora to generate leads by including links to your own resources. You should only do this if it’s relevant to the question and will add value to the reader or risk being flagged as spam and banned from the platform.

Quora is especially popular in the tech industry. Another similar option would be Reddit, which is also full of people looking for answers to their questions. Try answering questions often, upvoting other users’ responses, and following relevant topics.

These are just a few of the most popular social media formats. Contentfly can help you with all your content needs. Sign up in seconds, submit a brief in minutes, and get your content in days.

Create Landing Page Content

A well-crafted landing page is essential to driving conversions to your website. Your landing page should be designed with a single purpose: to get the user to take a specific action, such as making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, or downloading a piece of content.

To create an effective landing page, you need to understand what makes a good one. Here are some key elements of a successful landing page:

  • A clear and concise headline that states the offer
  • Compelling copy that explains the offer and why the user should care
  • A strong call-to-action (CTA) that tells the user what to do next
  • An eye-catching design that makes the page easy to navigate
  • Relevant images or videos that support the offer
  • Testimonials from customers or experts in the field
  • A simple form that collects the user’s information

Microsites have also gained popularity in recent years. Microsites are stand-alone websites that are separate from a company’s main website. They are typically used to promote a specific product, service, or event.

A well-designed microsite can be very effective in driving conversions. The key is to keep the design simple and focused on the offer. The last thing you want is for the user to get lost in a maze of pages and links on a microsite.

Create Product Descriptions

Product descriptions are a key element of any ecommerce website. They are designed to inform the user about the features and benefits of a product and persuade them to make a purchase. But they also generate tons of SEO value. 

A converting product description must do the following:

  • Clearly state the features and benefits of the product
  • Use persuasive language to convince the user to buy the product
  • Be well-written and free of grammar or spelling errors
  • Include relevant keywords for SEO purposes
  • Be easy to read and understand

Depending on the product, some descriptions will be longer than others. The important thing is to include all the relevant information without being too wordy. The product description should also be placed in a prominent location on the page, such as above the fold so that users can see it when they first land on the page.

Outsourcing Your Content Marketing Efforts

As you can see, a lot goes into content marketing. And if you’re not a trained writer, it can be difficult to produce high-quality content on a consistent and frequent basis.

That’s where Draft comes in. Our affordable writer marketplace and content tools accelerate the time to market and ensure quality output no matter the size or scope of your content needs.

Learn more in the Content Marketing Playbook.

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