If you’re a new marketer or small-business owner planning to launch a content marketing strategy, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of options.
What type of content marketing should I do? What’s the best format for my business’ message? What channels should I focus on?
All these are important questions, and we’re here to provide the answers. This guide will share seven popular types of content marketing you can start using to increase your marketing effectiveness and reach (or exceed) your business goals.
Content marketing is the practice of creating valuable content in the form of text, video, images, graphics, e-books, white papers, and other assets to be distributed through paid, owned, and earned media channels. These assets are used to tell stories that help brands build and nurture relationships with a target audience with the goal of driving awareness, generating demand, or influencing preference and building brand awareness and loyalty.
With content marketing being the third most used marketing initiative behind social media and email marketing according to our 2022 Email and Social Media Marketing Survey [*], it’s high time you took advantage since your competitors surely are.
Without further ado, let’s dive into the different areas of content marketing and the types of businesses that stand to gain the biggest benefit from each.
Traditionally, blogging has been used by individuals to express opinions on special interest subjects, but in recent years it has emerged as a major communication channel for businesses as well.
Microblogging has also gained popularity via platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, creating an impressive news- and taste-sharing vehicle with the ability for a blog author or journalist to easily drive awareness of new pieces of content.
A blog is designed to make it easy for users to create entries in chronological order. The blog content is then displayed in reverse chronological order (most recent entry first) and is generally archived on a periodic basis. This type of archiving means blogging is great for producing SEO-optimized content that will live on your website with the goal of continually driving traffic to it.
Who it’s best for: Blog posts are an effective type of long-form content that is perfect for businesses that deal with special interest subject matter. If people are seeking information about what you do, a blog is a great way to continually deliver it to them and gain trust in your business along the way. Financial and professional services, automotive, and home improvement are examples of businesses that can make great use of a blog.
Seek out blogs by others in your industry to see what they’re writing. You may discover fertile ground for your own quality content or you may discover that blogging isn’t common in your particular area. If you determine it’s right for you, make a list of topics and explore options to start creating.
If you decide to scale this strategy beyond a single writer, take advantage of an editorial calendar to plan content in the long-term or consider using blogging software to help manage your content production workflow.
Video marketing is a broad term that can refer to any number of visual mediums used by brands and individuals to deliver messages to a target audience. Online video banner ads, pre-, mid-, and post-roll ads during online content, traditional ads on TV, sponsored videos from influencers, and sponsored product placements are all examples of video marketing content.
Typically posted on a brand’s website, YouTube, or other social media channels, video marketing is a useful tactic for brands with an emotional message to deliver or those with in-depth information to share with their customers.
As a richer and more dynamic form of media, video marketing can be emotionally engaging and stimulating in a way that cuts through the noise of other online content.
Who it’s best for: Video marketing has a larger barrier to entry than other forms of marketing, so it’s most useful for those that already create videos or have the resources to develop a process. Whether it’s in-house or a third party, the ability to film and edit content is paramount. If your business does product photography, you likely already have the tools in place to get started.
Analyze the cost of implementing a video marketing strategy to see if it’s right for your business. When exploring video for the first time, begin by asking yourself these questions:
Do you have marketing spend to devote to video?
Do you already have a photographer or videographer?
Do you have subject matter that features well in video or an ongoing message to create content for?
Email marketing is the use of the email channel to deliver and optimize marketing messages. This includes brand newsletters, new product announcements, promotional information, or contextually relevant, real-time, personalized communications with existing customers.
Ideally, all these messages are developed to support multichannel engagement across the entire customer journey, supporting other marketing activities and informing customers of timely and useful information.
Who it’s best for: As the most used marketing initiative (alongside social) according to our 2022 Email and Social Media Marketing Survey [*], all businesses can benefit from email. Whether you’re sharing business news, following up on purchases, or developing a newsletter, email is one of the first places all small businesses should start when it comes to content marketing.
Examine your current email strategy (if you have one) and identify opportunities to add more types of content. Consider what you’re doing already and how well it contributes to your overarching goals by asking yourself questions like:
Do you develop products that customers would be interested in reading updates on?
Do you currently send any communication after a customer makes a purchase?
Do you have a newsletter?
The easier to serialize and send automatically, the better. If you determine the need for it, email marketing software can help you create and manage potential new email campaigns.
Another type of content marketing potentially worth pursuing is the creation of eBooks. If you want to produce written content but don’t yet have the infrastructure to regularly produce blogs, this type of content may well be worth a look. The main benefit of creating eBooks is that—once produced—they can be used in a variety of ways and hold their value much longer than a timely blog post.
For instance, you can share an eBook on your website as a downloadable asset, link to it periodically as evergreen social media content, send it to your email subscribers, or utilize it as gated content to earn new subscribers. This will help build awareness of your brand, establish credibility around the subject matter you write about, and potentially attract new followers and/or email subscribers.
Who it’s best for: Writing eBooks is a great strategy for small businesses that specialize in subject matter with a lot of information to share, including financial services, real estate, fitness, etc. They can also be suitable for companies that want to write great content but don’t have the infrastructure to produce and manage a blog.
Identify potential topics for an eBook and see what’s already been written about those subjects. Ebooks don’t always have to be exhaustive resources, so focus on ideas that can be produced with ease even if you’re simply emulating relatively common information in your brand’s voice.
Similar to eBooks, infographics are a content type that can be relatively easy to produce and are widely shareable long after they’re created. Customers respond well to visual content since it’s easy to glean information from at a glance, simple to share, and (if well-produced) look great too!
If you think about it, you can probably recall memorable infographics from around the web, so use this to your advantage. Search a particular subject with “infographic” added, and see what types of content resonates with you. It’s likely you’ll find some aspects of well-produced infographics that you can emulate for your own engaging content.
Who it’s best for: Infographics are best utilized by small businesses as a low-cost tactic to drive traffic to other resources like their website or to drive engagement on social channels. They’re visually appealing and easy to consume which means they’re particularly effective when you want to share potentially dense information in an easy-to-understand format.
Lean on infographic templates or free versions of graphic design software to create your first infographics. They don’t have to be incredibly fancy, just make sure they are accurate and easy to read. Test the waters by sharing these on your social media and improve as you go.
Perhaps the ultimate low- to no-cost content marketing type is taking advantage of customer testimonials and reviews. User-generated content is a powerful tool, and it’s free! A potential customer is more likely to trust the opinion of other people just like them, so use this to your advantage.
Who it’s best for: Put simply, the short answer is everyone. Any business can take advantage of positive word of mouth, and they should. In today’s online environment, reviews are being left all around the web whether you know it or not. Begin to harness this power by collecting good reviews for use in your content marketing efforts with the goal of increasing awareness of and instilling trust in your brand.
Comb review sites for positive reviews about your business. Turn them into social posts or add a section to feature them on your website. It’s also a good idea to put out a call-to-action on social or via email for your customers to send in reviews.
Influencer marketing, similar to affiliate marketing, is the practice of utilizing paid ambassadors to endorse a business’s products or services. Businesses will seek out content creators with expertise, trustworthiness, or popularity in a certain area to convey the benefits of that business to their audience.
As a small business, you may not have the resources to pay higher tier influencers, but there are also micro influencers (influencers with small yet dedicated followings) that are willing to receive products from businesses and create content around them.
Who it’s best for: Influencer marketing is best reserved for businesses in niche markets that have a passionate fan base around them. It’s also easier to conduct influencer marketing if your business sells a product that can be easily sent to content creators for use and review. The main benefit of influencer marketing is increasing awareness of your brand outside your current network.
Not sure if influence marketing is right for your business? Ask yourself questions like:
Does our product or service have a passionate community surrounding it?
Are we already taking full advantage of less expensive, easier-to-implement tactics in our content strategy?
If the answers to these questions are yes, find where the biggest communities around your subject matter spend their time online and see who is creating relevant content on those platforms.
With so many different types of content marketing out there, there’s bound to be an option that’s beneficial for your small business. The use of content marketing is on the rise by organizations of all sizes, so use this guide as a starting point to develop a strategy of your own.
Content marketing builds awareness for your brand, allows you to produce regularly scheduled content, and establishes your brand as an authority in your given area. All of these aspects will help you attract your target audience to win new customers and continue engaging the ones you already have.
For more information on all things digital marketing, keep an eye on the GetApp blog. Ready for more right now? Here are some resources to help get you started:
* 2022 Email and Social Media Marketing Survey
GetApp conducted this survey in January 2022 among 299 respondents to learn more about small, midsize and large business email and social media marketing tactics. Respondents were screened for full-time employees of all company sizes that have involvement with marketing-related activities. They must have been working within roles including advertising, brand management, customer experience or service, data and analytics, IT, marketing, product marketing and management, sales or strategic planning and be current email and social media marketing users.
Note: The applications selected in this article are examples to show a feature in context and are not intended as endorsements or recommendations. They have been obtained from sources believed to be reliable at the time of publication.
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