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Types of content marketing appeared in earnest at the turn of the 20th century when John Deere released the first brand-owned and sponsored magazine in the US. Similarly, experts point to Jell-O’s cookbooks, and the Michelin Guide’s restaurant rankings as sparks of the ethos that communicating with customers doesn’t always have to be related to getting their business. Sometimes, brands do better to just inform their customers, or better yet, simply talk with them.
Thanks to technological advances, marketers now have many content types to choose from when orchestrating a targeted campaign. While mainstays like blogging and video content still hold spots at the top, other types of content formats may capture the attention of audiences faster and more permanently. Content formats like interactive infographics, clickable maps, or personalized quizzes can help audiences get to know your brand and values while they’re also learning something about themselves and the world.
The point here is that when it comes to types of content in a marketing strategy, content marketers are really only constrained by their creativity and willingness to think outside the box. When content marketing is running on all cylinders, it hardly feels like there’s a business behind it at all, because the focus is entirely on the audience and its experience.
But does this mean you have to abandon all considerations of marketing ROI? Absolutely not! Content marketing must still provide a return for the business, too, or it’s not worth the investment. But outside the content you’re used to creating, what is the most engaging type of content? Surveying the many different types of marketing content, you might find a different type of content or content format could better serve both your audiences and your business goals.
Editorial content is content that is created to inform, educate, or entertain the reader or viewer. This is in direct contrast to advertising copy or commercial content that is directly intended to convince someone to buy something. However, in the age of the Internet, the distinction between these two kinds of content is increasingly unclear! In fact, the whole industry of content marketing is about using editorial content for a commercial purpose.
With that said, before we get into the different types of content marketing formats, it’s valuable to explore the different types of editorial content. These aren’t content formats, but rather a list of different angles you could take on a content topic to explore and present information and entertainment to your audiences:
Does this list have you thinking, “how many types of content are there?” The truth is these are just some of the editorial approaches to content that have been developed over the years by print media and television. While each one might already stand out to you as appropriate for a specific type of content like a blog, video, or web page, it’s important not to limit your thinking too much if you want to create a truly innovative content strategy.
Content marketing is often thought of as written content, like web content and blog content. That approach may have defined the early days of the Internet, but today, video, images, and social media are just as important to a successful content strategy. There are many types of content marketing. It isn’t important to use every single one, but it is important to make sure the ones you do choose to create are high-quality and stand out to your audiences.
Content marketing types help businesses close the gap between the editorial mission of education and entertainment and the business mission of making sales. No one content type can do it alone, because audiences are looking for different information and experiences at different times. We’ll cover more about the stages of the online customer journey in the next section. But first, here are some of the most important types of content marketing in 2020:
Combining these types of content marketing with the editorial concepts we discussed, you can start to see how a content strategy gets big—and exciting—quickly. There is infinite opportunity for businesses to share their message in innovative ways. However, this strategy must always be approached with the perspective of the target audience front-of-mind.
Whether your ideal customers are in the market for a new pair of shoes or a new business vendor, they are using the Internet for a journey of research that will ultimately lead them to a decision they think solves their problems and meets their needs best. To marketers, this journey is often visualized as a funnel, where audiences are narrowing their focus and moving closer to the moment they make a choice. As a result, content creators often think of three stages where audiences may be stuck or progressing thanks to content. These three stages are awareness, consideration, and decision:
These are the three basic stages of the customer journey funnel, but other experts expand on these phases or break them down into more stages. For instance, many refer to the stages that come after the customer makes the initial purchase decision. This might be called the “engagement” phase or the “loyalty” phase—essentially, after their journey down the funnel, content can inspire customers to stay interested in your brand and refer others to become your customers as well.
For some businesses, this post-funnel phase may even be the most important. Businesses that operate on a subscription model, or many B2B companies, retain and grow business through their existing customers by strengthening and deepening relationships. Content like emails and webinars specifically, and pretty much every type of content, can be part of continuing to bring value to existing customers, along with attracting prospective customers.
Other marketing funnel models might create a distinction in the middle of the funnel, splitting the consideration phase into sub-categories of interest and desire. In the earlier phase, customers are just getting interested in your brand, while in the latter half they are building a desire to do business with you that will spur them to the decision phase in your favor.
Regardless of the terminology used to describe the customer journey, the value for marketers is in thinking about how to help their audiences get the information they need to make a buying decision. This is where the continuum between editorial content and marketing content leads to a conversion, and ultimately improves the bottom line for your brand.
With all the opportunities in different types of content marketing today, perhaps the biggest challenge for marketers is picking and choosing which great ideas to prioritize next on the calendar. That’s where a consumer analytics platform like DemandJump comes in. By providing real-time insights into the content topics and content types that are ranking first in your industry, our platform helps you make decisions about content marketing from an audience-first position.
Unlike typical forms of editorial content where the facts, education, and entertainment value are all that matters, content marketing has the added necessity of proving ROI and generating revenue for the business. With built-in cross channel analytics and marketing attribution features, DemandJump gives perspective on which content marketing types and content topics are already performing well for your brand. Then, pulling in competitor analytics, the platform uses predictive modeling to make recommendations about what next steps will add even more power to your content marketing strategy.
DemandJump uses your company’s historic data alongside the current events in your industry to empower your creativity. Try it yourself - for free - and get the insights you need to pull off incredibly engaging content creation.
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