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Different Types of Content and How to Use Them

9/13/21

Content Creation, Content Marketing, Content Planning

The Uncanny Content Team

In case you’ve missed it in our previous blog posts — like this one about content marketing and this one about the difference between content and copy — “content” is not limited to the text on your website or what you share on your blog. It’s so much more than that.

Content is everything you put out into the world, including videos, ads, memes, images, podcasts, and more. 

So, if your editorial calendar is looking a little stale and you’re bored with writing blogs and social media posts over and over again…why not give one of those other formats a try? 

To help you choose a new type of content to test, we talk about some of the most popular formats and how they can benefit your biz below.

Reach new audiences with videos

Videos are so hot right now (we hope you get the Zoolander reference). Well, they’ve been hot in the marketing scene for a while. A recent study showed that 94% of people say they watch “explainer” videos to learn more about a product, while 84% report being swayed to make a purchase. That’s huge.

Clearly, the pandemic didn’t slow down or negatively impact video as a content marketing platform. If anything, video helped brands stay connected to their audiences. When done well, videos can catch your audience’s attention, tell powerful and emotional stories, and encourage engagement. Now is the perfect time to try video if you’ve been thinking about it. 

Because so many businesses and brands are turning to video, however, you need to make sure you’re giving your content the best chance possible of making an impact. You don’t have to invest in pricey equipment to film; a smartphone, inexpensive microphone, and natural lighting will do to start out.

We also recommend writing notes or an outline for what you’ll talk about in a video. Practice what you’ll say. Watch your recordings and note how you can improve. (And yes, be prepared to hate the sound of your voice like everyone does. You’ll have to get over it.)

Video may be right for you if: 

  • You express yourself well on camera
  • You have the basic skills and gear needed to create and share videos
  • You know your audience consumes YouTube or video content

Fulfill a need with long-form materials 

Don’t like the thought of filming yourself talking? You have lots of other options for content formats. If you enjoy writing detailed, in-depth pieces about specific topics, give long-form materials a try.

Long-form materials include ebooks, whitepapers, research reports, guides, and toolkits. You can explore a topic in your wheelhouse, positioning you as a figure of authority in your industry. They also work as evergreen content and can boost your SEO.

If you’re a photographer, you might write a detailed ebook on taking photography skills from basic to expert. If you run a nonprofit, you could create a whitepaper that explains why your mission is the best for solving a certain problem. If you sell software, you might put together a user guide for your most popular product.

How you draw in potential customers with long-form materials is just as important. Pull smaller pieces of content or graphics to use as free opt-ins. Make your long-form materials gated to capture email subscribers. That way, you’re not just pouring your time and resources into creating long-form materials and letting it sit on your website.     

Long-form materials may be right for you if: 

  • You love diving deep into a topic in a whitepaper or guide
  • You know how to use these materials to drive leads
  • Your audience consumes long-form content (not many do now, just a heads up)

Change things up with an infographic

If you enjoy graphic design and are looking for a way to express your content visually, infographics are where it’s at. Infographics are super versatile and pack a visual punch. And because they’re compact, condensed forms of content, they’re easily downloadable and shareable. You can reach a broad audience with strong infographics.

An infographic is a visual representation of any kind of data or information. That’s what makes it so versatile. You can create an infographic for damn near anything related to your brand and business. 

If you’re a financial planner, maybe you create an infographic that lists the most popular financial goals in each age group. Run a nanny agency? Create a checklist for parents that explains what to look for in a new nanny. If you’re a business coach, you could create a cheat sheet to help your clients price their services and offers. 

Infographics express data in an interesting and easy format. They can also break up blocks of text in blog posts and long-form content. Infographics pull double duty as opt-ins, too. You can also break up infographics into multiple “slides” to use on carousels or slides for Instagram.

Infographics may be right for you if: 

  • You enjoy graphic design
  • You know how to pair infographics with written content 
  • The information you’re sharing lends itself well to icons/graphics

Build authority with a podcast

Love hearing the sound of your own voice? (Are there really people out there like this?!) Snark aside, if you’re a natural speaker and storyteller, and you listen to tons of podcasts and think, “I should start my own…” then we say go for it.

The popularity of podcasts has exploded in recent years; 70% of U.S. adults are familiar with podcasts today, compared to just 22% in 2006. We listen to podcasts while cleaning the house, going on a walk, cooking, driving, or commuting to work. We listen to podcasts to learn, to be entertained, or to be inspired. Reminder: we don’t listen to podcasts looking to buy something.

Can you create a podcast for your brand without being too salesy? Yes, of course. As long as you keep providing value to your audience, first and foremost. You can do that by covering topics relevant to your business and your audience’s interests or needs. 

Oh, and don’t forget to turn your podcast episodes into blogs. It’s a good web accessibility practice, and you’ll make it easier for people to find your website through your podcast show notes.

A podcast may be right for you if:

  • You express yourself well through speech
  • You have decent podcasting gear and knowledge of how to create effective podcasts
  • You are willing to turn audio into transcribed content (accessibility is key!)

Try repurposing content first

If you’re not ready to take the plunge with a new type of content yet, start with baby steps. Repurpose an existing piece of content into a new format; e.g., turn an email newsletter topic into an infographic or a social media post into a video. Repurposing content is relatively easy and budget-friendly, and we’re all about efficiency here.

What happens if your new content falls short of your expectations? No biggie. Make some adjustments and see what works. Try tweaking your opt-in copy if you’re promoting a long-form download or a free infographic. Try sharing your new video on Facebook and Instagram instead of YouTube. Promote your podcast even more. 

And remember, you don’t have to try all these new formats at once. You don’t even have to try all of them eventually. Pick a format you’re interested in and that you already enjoy. That’ll make it much easier to stick with it when things get tough.

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