The 4 Types of Content: And When to Use Each Type
November 9, 2021 •DJ Team
Content marketing, as defined by the Content Marketing Institute, is “a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience—and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.”
When done well, content marketing saves organizations money, increases sales, creates loyal customers, and generates profit.
In other words, content marketing attracts prospective customers to your website—building brand awareness, and helping your brand stand out when it comes time for the prospect or customer to make a decision and take action.
It’s your job to help them make their decision by positioning your brand as an authority within its industry.
Across all types of content marketing, the creation of timely, relevant content is the competitive battlefield.
So how do you arm yourself with a strategy that will carry prospects through the process?
By writing content that brings readers to your brand, establishes you as a credible authority, connects with the reader’s emotions or worldview, and drives action (creating customers).
In other words, writing 4 types of content: attraction, authority, affinity, and action.
The 4 Types of Content
It’s important to note that the four content categories—attraction, authority, affinity, and action—are not mutually exclusive, and a single piece of content will often fit in multiple categories.
So, while individual pieces of content may achieve the objectives of more than one of these content types, we’ll go ahead and discuss them one by one, just so it’s clearer how each contributes to a successful campaign.
Content doesn’t matter if no one sees it—attraction content brings visitors to your pages, providing a foundation for your content strategy. Blogs written as attraction content are meant to be read and shared, and it’s the sharing that drives additional traffic to your site.
The idea is to provide valuable information—something you know people are searching for—free of charge. Once they read and share the content, even more eyeballs see it.
One example of attraction content would be list posts, things like “5 Content Marketing Trends You Need to Know About for 2022,” “3 Tips for Creating Evergreen Content,” “8 Reasons Your Posts Aren’t Being Read,” and so on.
This type of content is popular because it works.
Imagine you’re new to a content marketing role and simply trying to learn as much as you can about it, so you can be more successful. Attraction content should hook a reader and provide useful content to keep them reading to the end.
Once they reach the end, then, they’re encouraged to take some action—like visiting your webpage to learn more, or downloading a provided resource. You’ve just added a new lead to the pipeline!
Authority content is meant to go beyond mere attraction, by positioning your brand as, well, the authority on a particular topic.
What’s important about authority content is that you have to demonstrate your authority, rather than stating outright that you’re the authority.
This takes a little subtlety, to resist the temptation to let marketing language hijack your content. All you have to do is present content so informative and credible that you don’t have to say you’re the authority—let it speak for itself.
Authority content can take a wide variety of forms. List posts can be authority content, as can content that answers frequently asked questions, offers a solution to a defined problem, and so on.
So, how do you show your authority?
You offer valuable information that is well-assembled and written in a voice that is easily understood and with a tone that is appropriate for the topic or audience. You show that you understand your target audience.
When you create exceptional authority content, you expand your reach. This happens when other brands’ content links to yours (implying that they found your content to be suitably authoritative). Imagine that, the competition linking to you as an authority...awesome!
While authority content is important (since without trust, there’s no business), affinity content goes even further by inspiring prospects to actually like or prefer you over the competition. The point is to connect with readers’ emotions by showing that you’re like them (or at least understand them).
Affinity content positions you (in the reader’s mind) as not only the brand they trust, but also the brand that they feel believes in the same things they believe in or shares their worldview—a brand they’re not just willing to do business with, but one they actively want to do business with.
It can be difficult to understand where the line is between authority and affinity content, so here’s one way to think about it. Assume your competitors have written an “authority content” piece that largely uses the same information and sources as yours.
What will differentiate your post from theirs? The connection you forge with readers through emotional resonance. Let readers know what you care about, what you take particular pride in—you’re like them, in other words.
Like the other types of content, action content’s name tells you what it’s all about. Action content is designed to turn interested readers into customers. To be successful with your action content, write the piece with a specific business goal in mind.
- Do you want people to see a landing page touting your newest product or service offerings?
- Do you want them to answer a survey, or sign up for a mailing list?
- Are you trying to generate enthusiasm (and sign people up) for an upcoming webinar?
- Do you have a gated resource you want them to download (by providing their contact information)?
To increase the odds of a reader taking the action you’re hoping they’ll take, you’ll need to make sure that your content makes a compelling case for taking that action.
For example, if you’re trying to sign people up for an upcoming webinar on How to Succeed in Content Marketing in 2022, you might write some content that explains a few major trends that might make them rethink their content strategy. But then, how do they learn how to adjust their strategies to better prepare for the coming year? They sign up for your webinar, which promises the answers!
Know What Content To Create, With DemandJump
Ultimately, with the 4 types of content, you’re trying to help readers find you (attraction), trust you (authority), relate to you (affinity), and, finally, do business with you (action).
Using an SEO keyword research tool like DemandJump demystifies the process by surfacing what your target customers are actively searching for online, and where there are opportunities for you to create content that’s likely to rank high (due to a lack of already-established, credible content).
To see how DemandJump’s keyword research and planning tools can transform your content marketing strategy, sign up for a free trial today.
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