According to HubSpot, 70% of marketers are actively investing in various types of content marketing.
Why? In short, content marketing can help you:
- Rank higher in the search engine results pages (SERPs)
- Drive web traffic
- Capture leads
- Lead people down the marketing funnel
- Generate sales
However, there are so many different types of content marketing out there — blog posts, infographics, videos, webinars … the list goes on. Which types of content marketing should you use and how should you use them?
It pays to find out.
Content marketing requires an enormous amount of time and money. So, it’s crucial that you deploy your resources strategically to ensure a healthy return on investment (ROI).
Learn about 15 types of content marketing. Plus, you’ll see tons of real-life content marketing examples from top brands.
1. Blog Posts
We’ll start with blog posts as they’re often the format many people think of as “content marketing.”
Blog posts are informal articles published to a website’s blog — like this post you’re reading right now, which is published on the Fast Capital 360 blog.
Compared to many content marketing types such as videos and original research, blogs are relatively easy to produce.
Because of this, it’s good practice to convert other types of content marketing into blog posts and vice-versa. For example, if you have a high-performing video or podcast episode, you may want to write a blog post version of it.
Also, blog posts are particularly effective when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO). As a result, they’re great for generating new leads from search engines.
2. Long-Form Articles
Long-form articles could be lumped in with blog posts, but in reality, they’re a whole breed of their own.
According to SEMrush: “7,000+ word articles drive almost 4 times more traffic and 43% more shares than articles of average length (900-1,200 words).”
Long-form articles provide real depth and many have several chapters, sometimes each with a unique URL.
For example, Moz created a website migration guide that’s 12,000 words long.
Long-form article’s length and depth allow them to deliver more value and provide opportunities to rank higher in the SERPs.
Ebooks are very similar to long-form articles and often share a similar word count. The key difference is that ebooks are typically a form of gated content.
Gated content is any type of content that users must either pay for or provide their contact details to access.
For this reason, ebooks have long been the go-to lead magnet — a “free” offer given away in exchange for contact details.
In the example below, Copyhackers uses an ebook about headlines and calls to action to capture leads.
So, if you have a high-performing long-form article or blog post, you may want to consider turning it into an ebook and using it as a lead magnet.
4. Online Courses
Online courses — also known as e-courses — can take many formats, such as email sequences, videos, written lessons, workshops and webinars.
In recent years, online courses have overtaken ebooks to become the go-to lead magnet.
Here’s a great example of a “free” online course from Oberlo — notice the padlock icons indicating that users must sign up if they want to access the content.
According to HubSpot research, videos are the primary form of content used — and it’s easy to understand why.
Video is an incredibly diverse type of content and can be used to produce pretty much any style of content — from video blogs (vlogs) and tutorials to reviews and case studies.
Shopify produces highly engaging videos and shares them via its YouTube channel to attract and engage prospects.
Similarly, social media platforms offer plenty of ways to distribute video content — from YouTube videos and Facebook Lives to Instagram Stories and Tik Tok clips.
For this reason, video content marketing and social media marketing go hand-in-hand.
Podcasts are long-form radio-style talk shows. They’re typically distributed through channels such as Google Podcasts and Apple’s Podcasts app.
Podcasts are usually relaxed and unscripted, so they provide a fantastic way to generate a personal connection with your target market.
ECommerceFuel is a popular podcast that generates leads and drives traffic to the site’s paid online community and consulting offers.
Podcasts are also a great way to repurpose existing content into another format.
Infographics are images that inform.
There are 2 elements that all great infographics share: an eye-catching design and information that satiates peoples’ curiosity.
Here’s an excellent example from Visual Capitalist:
Infographics are quick to consume and highly shareable. They offer social media users a quick “win” and provide a way for users to offer their followers a quick “win” in turn.
You don’t have to be an amazing designer to create infographics either — anyone can use a tool such as Canva or Venngage to create great infographics.
8. User-Generated Content
The term user-generated content — or UGC — refers to any content created by users and shared by the brand.
For example, Airbnb’s Instagram channel is mostly made up of UGC.
According to Stackla, 79% of people say that UGC highly impacts their purchasing decisions.
No doubt, this is because of the psychological and social phenomenon known as “social proof” — this is when the actions and opinions of others heavily influence people.
Although UGC is often thought of as a social media marketing strategy, in reality, it’s possible to generate and share UGC in any form. For example, you could have evangelical customers guest-post on your blog or encourage customers to share “unboxing” videos on YouTube.
9. Quizzes and Polls
Quizzes and polls are a great way to engage your target market, capture leads and drive sales.
In this quiz example, apparel brand Uniqlo asks users fun questions to help them find a new summer dress.
When using this type of content marketing to generate leads, it’s good practice to get users to answer all the questions and then require an email address to reveal their results. At this point, users are so invested in the quiz they’re likely to sign up.
There are plenty of services that you can use to create online quizzes or polls, such as Quizzr or Playbuzz.
Checklists are one of the easiest types of content marketing to produce — and like blog posts, virtually any type of content that’s educational in some way can be repurposed into a checklist.
This type of content writing also includes worksheets, cheat sheets and tip sheets.
Plenty of brands use checklists as lead magnets, requiring an email address to access a PDF download of the content — this is exactly what CoSchedule does in the example below:
You could create a checklist in Google Docs and export the document as a PDF or use a tool like Canva to produce a branded design.
11. Original Research
Producing original niche or industry research isn’t the easiest type of content to produce. However, it does provide an unparalleled opportunity to generate backlinks to your website.
Backlinks — also known as “inbound links” or “incoming links” — are links from one website to another, and they’re an important factor when it comes to search engine optimization.
In other words, plenty of high-quality backlinks typically result in high search engine rankings, which in turn drives more web traffic.
Quality original research is also a highly shareable type of content for social media platforms.
Every year, HubSpot produces its “Not Another State of Marketing Report,” which is widely shared and cited.
If you want to get started with original research, perhaps the simplest type to create is a survey.
12. Case Studies
Now, various content types should be used at different stages of the marketing funnel. As noted, SEO blog posts are great for driving traffic into the top of the funnel and online courses are great for converting prospects into leads.
Case studies sit nearer the bottom of the funnel. In other words, this type of content in digital marketing can be used to help convert leads into customers.
Case studies provide an opportunity to showcase the real-world impact of your products and services to potential customers.
For example, here at Fast Capital 360, we regularly share stories of how customers have benefitted from using our services.
Like original research, high-quality presentations are often widely shared and can generate a lot of traffic to your website.
Here’s a good example from the Content Marketing Institute: 85+ Predictions on Content Marketing in 2019.
Many brands opt to use LinkedIn’s Slideshare platform to distribute their slide-deck. However, video versions of presentations can also prove effective — which leads us to our next type of advertising content:
Webinars are online seminars, and they’re particularly useful for business-to-business (B2B) marketers.
This content category often consists of a presentation followed by a brief interview or question-and-answer session. Although, many marketers use them to drive sales on landing pages.
You can use them to draw attention to your expertise, demonstrate products or services and connect with your target market by helping them solve a problem.
Freelancing platform Upwork regularly hosts webinars:
15. White Papers
White papers are authoritative reports and guides that go into depth about a particular topic or industry. This type of content is designed to help readers understand an issue, make a decision, or solve a complex problem.
As with presentations, they’re most often used by B2B marketers. Here’s an example of a white paper from Microsoft Azure:
Choose the Best Type of Content for Your Business
And there you have it — 15 types of content marketing you can use to grow your business.
When considering content types for content marketing, think about which stage of the marketing funnel you’re focusing on.
For example, if you want to drive more website traffic, consider long-form articles or original research. If you want to generate leads, perhaps create gated courses or quizzes. And if you want to drive sales, look to produce case studies and webinars.
Also, various ways of content marketing require different resources.
You may only have the time and money to focus on quick wins by creating infographics and checklists. Or perhaps you’re able to invest in an online course or podcast.
Ultimately, no content category is superior — each one has its advantages and disadvantages. So, it’s best to test all types of content marketing formats to determine which resonate best with your target market.