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A Comprehensive Guide to Content Forms: What Works, What Doesn’t, and Why

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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

content forms

As content marketing grows and evolves and different trends and techniques emerge, brands and businesses must adapt and tailor their content strategies to what works in the digital age.

Depending on their target audience, industry, and goals, different businesses will find that various content forms work better for them. And as different platforms and devices become more popular, the way consumers interact with and consume content changes.

This comprehensive guide will help you understand what content forms work in today’s landscape. It’ll cover everything from blog posts and articles to infographics and videos and give you tips on what works, what doesn’t, and why.

Content Marketing: A Quick Overview

Content marketing is the process of making and sharing content to attract and keep customers’ attention. Simple advertising and traditional marketing techniques are increasingly losing relevance in today’s marketplace, making content marketing a must for businesses and brands of all kinds.

Content marketing is a strategic connection with potential and existing customers that businesses and brands build using focused and relevant content. Content marketing helps businesses connect with customers, increasing sales and brand awareness.

Content marketing can take place on any platform of your choice. Just like traditional marketing has different platforms such as radio, television, and print mediums like magazines and newspapers, content marketing can occur on various platforms such as social media, content management systems (CMS), customer relationship management (CRM) systems e.t.c

platform used for social media

Content marketing can be good for your business no matter what platform you use as long as you use the right strategies and content forms for your business. 

Content Forms in Content Marketing 

Content forms refer to the different ways in which you can express a thought or idea to an audience. A cursory look at the concept of content creation will help put this into context. 

Content creation as a concept includes coming up with ideas to share, doing research, and adding to what is known about a certain topic. However, the diverse nature of humans means that this information must be presented in different ways for it to be useful to different people. 

Technology and innovation have adapted to this physiological discrepancy. So we have different tools for presenting information to our senses to interpret for us. The mediums which we have invented to carry information are what we refer to as the forms of content or content formats. 

Why It Is Important to Use Different Content Forms

To Reach Different Audiences

Different content forms can help you reach different audiences. Some people prefer to read text, while others prefer visual content. Some people like to listen to audio content, and others prefer video. 

By using various content forms, you can appeal to more people and reach more customers. This also helps increase your brand appeal within certain demographic groups. For example, you can share infographics or transcripts of your videos for people who cannot hear. 

To Appear in More Places Online

One of the benefits of using different content forms is that it can help you appear in more places online. When you have a variety of content types on your website, it can help you rank higher on search engine results pages.

This is because search engines like Google value websites that have a lot of high-quality content. Using different content forms can give your website more content and improve your chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages.

To Stand Out From the Competition

to stand out from the competition

To truly stand out from the competition, mixing up your content forms is important. While blog posts and articles are great, consider experimenting with other content formats, such as infographics, videos, or podcasts.

By doing so, you’ll catch the attention of more of your audience and keep them coming back for more.

To Make It Easier for People to Find Your Content

Mixing up your content forms is one way to make it easier for people to find your content. This will help you catch the attention of more of your audience and keep them coming back for more.

Different forms of content work better for different audiences, so experimenting with different formats can be a great way to find what works best for you.

To Keep Things Interesting in Marketing Teams

One way to keep things interesting for you and your team when it comes to content marketing is by using different content forms. Different types of digital content can capture the attention of different people in different ways, so it’s important to vary things up a bit.

You may find that one type of content form works better than another for you and that other team members enjoy experimenting with various forms. Allowing everyone to express themselves in the different content formats might help your content marketing efforts.

Content Forms vs Content Types 

While content forms are the ways we express our thoughts and ideas, content type focuses more on the purpose that a piece of content serves. 

This purpose then becomes the basis for categorization. For example, if the content is designed to keep people interested and entertained, then the content is an entertaining one. 

Different Types of Content to Help You Gain Traffic

Content types are like descriptions of the purpose that a kind of content serves. This means that regardless of how content is presented, we can only say it is of a certain type by seeing what the purpose of that content is. Understanding the different types of content will help us understand how to use different content formats for effective content marketing. 

Informational

One of the most common and effective types of content is informational content. This type of content is designed to teach people about a particular topic or subject. One of the main benefits of informational content is that you can use it to teach people new things about your business or industry in general.

It can also help them improve their understanding of complex topics. In addition, informational content can help people solve problems and make better decisions.

Entertaining

Entertaining content is one of the best ways to get potential and current customers interested in your business. This type of content is designed to amuse, engage, and entertain users. It may or may not be directly related to your business or brand. You can always share relevant, entertaining content with your audience anytime.

Inspirational

Inspirational content is one of the best ways to get potential and current customers more interested in your business. This type of content is designed to motivate and inspire people to take action, whether in their personal lives or work lives, especially regarding the products or services you offer.

Promotional

One of the most common and effective types of content is promotional content. This kind of content is meant to get people interested in your products or services, whether they are already customers or not. It is the most “salesy” type of content to share in that it directly offers your products and services to consumers and urges them to take immediate action on what you are offering.

Commentary

Commentary content is a type of content that offers opinions or insights about current events, news, etc. It is different from other types of content in that it is not designed to promote your products or services.

Instead, commentary content provides users with information and allows them to make their own decisions. You can also use this type of content to offer opinions about the thought leadership in your industry.

Thought Leadership

This type of content focuses on using thought leaders, typically business executives, to share unique perspectives on a product, service, or industry. 

To build trust and connect with customers, thought leaders generally share more practical ways to do things than is commonly known, success stories, experiences, and even social responsibility. 

Understanding Content Forms

The ever-changing digital marketing landscape presents new challenges for both businesses and customers. One of these problems is getting your message across the right way and in the right format. 

To stay ahead of the curve, you need to be able to adapt your content marketing strategy to the changing landscape. One way to do this is by understanding and utilizing different content formats. 

One way to look at content forms involves considering the broad category, which is:

Written Content

Written content is one of the most common types of content. It can be blog posts, articles, white papers, eBooks, etc. This is a great way to share in-depth information with your audience. It is also a great way to teach people about your business or industry. However, it can be time-consuming to produce, and it can be difficult to keep users engaged.

Visual Content

Visual content is one of the most popular types of content. It includes images, infographics, videos, and slideshows. Visual content is very engaging and easy to consume. It is also a great way to show off your products or services. However, visual content can be expensive to produce, with all the costs of professional videography and photography. 

Audio Content

Audio content is one of the least used types of content, but it can be very effective when used correctly. Audio content includes podcasts, audio recordings, and webinars. 

Audio content is a great way to connect with your audience and keep them engaged. It also helps people learn new things about your business or industry. However, audio content can be expensive to produce, and it can be difficult to keep users engaged.

Formats of Content 

Blog Post

Blog posts can be used for various purposes, from marketing to building an audience to simply sharing your thoughts and ideas. They can be a great way to connect with people and build relationships, and they also offer a huge potential for search engine optimization.  

Users generally get blog posts as responses to any internet query on Google or elsewhere. Of all the content forms, blogs have the third highest return on investment of any of the formats. This is not surprising, considering that 87 percent of shoppers begin their search online and an even higher percentage (97% of B2B buyers) want content from thought leaders, usually presented through blog posts. 

percentage

However, there are a few things you need to keep in mind if you want to make the most of blogs as a content form.

First, it’s important to remember that quality is key. High-quality blog posts can be a great asset, but poorly written ones will reflect badly on your brand.

Second, consider your site visitors. Who are you writing blog posts for? What are their needs and interests? Will they be interested in long-form content or short-form? Tailor your blog posts accordingly to ensure that they’re relevant and useful to them.

Finally, don’t forget to promote your blog posts. Just because you’ve written a great blog post or long-form content doesn’t mean people will automatically see it. Share it on social media, in emails,  newsletters, and anywhere else, even if you’re just guest blogging.

Case Studies

Case studies are one of the most popular forms of content marketing. They offer real-world examples of how your product or service has helped other customers, which can be persuasive to potential buyers.

Case studies also give you a chance to show off your company’s expertise and demonstrate your authority in your industry. A case study can also be used to share your brand story, the company’s profile, data, or research into the effectiveness of a product or service.

White Papers

White papers are very effective content formats used in B2B marketing. They offer a way to educate customers about a complex topic, and they can be used to build trust and credibility with buyers.

White papers promote a product, service, or method by pointing out its best qualities to help people make decisions. There are three major types of white papers: backgrounders, numbered lists, and problem-solution white papers.

Backgrounders usually contain details on the technical features of a product or service. They are used to break down the technical bits of information about a product or service that an average user may not understand.

On the other hand, numbered lists are used to present technical information in digestible form. The main points or takeaways are shown to the reader in numbered lists or bullet points. 

Problem/solution white papers highlight specific user problems that the product or service you offer can solve and present data to support them. 

Ebooks and How-To Guides

Ebooks are a great way to provide valuable information to your audience. They can be used to promote your products or services, or they can be used to educate your audience about a particular topic. Ebooks are usually between 20 and 50 pages long, and they’re typically delivered in PDF format.

How-to guides, on the other hand, are shorter and more focused. They’re designed to teach your audience how to do something, whether it’s using your product or service or accomplishing a specific task. How-to guides are usually between 500 and 1500 words long and can be given in different ways, such as through video. A how-to guide can also be in the form of a blog post.

Pictures

Pictures are a powerful content form you can use to reach and engage your audience. Pictures can be used to tell a story, showcase your products or services, or simply capture a moment.

When choosing pictures for your content, make sure they are high quality and accurately reflect your brand.

Infographics

Infographics are a great way to present complex information in an easily digestible visual format. They can help you to quickly and effectively communicate a large amount of data, which is why they have become so popular in recent years. 

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating an infographic:

  • Be sure that the data is accurate and reliable
  • Make sure that the design is attractive and eye-catching
  • Keep it concise – no more than a few paragraphs or points
  • Use clear, easy-to-read fonts and graphics.

Infographics can be shared as social media posts or sometimes as part of blog content.

Video

Marketing professionals worldwide use video content because it works so well. Video content is the most popular form of visual content, with the highest return on investment of all content types. 

Video marketers are eager to take advantage of its potential, and many have done very well with video content. Video content is very engaging and allows you to convey a large volume of information. However, videos can be time-consuming and expensive to create.

There are a few things to keep in mind when creating video content. First, ensure it’s interesting and engaging. Second, make sure it’s relevant to your audience.

Third, make sure it’s high quality and professional. And finally, make sure you’re using the right tools and techniques to maximize its potential. You can host your video on a dedicated platform on your Youtube channel or as part of a blog post.

Podcasts

Podcasts are a great way to consume content. Podcasts are like radio shows but offer more flexibility and benefits for your marketing efforts. Listeners can listen to them on their schedule or download them and listen to them offline.

Podcasts are great for content marketing because they allow you to repurpose your content in a new format. You can take a blog post, turn it into a podcast episode, and publicize it on your social media platforms.

However, podcasting has its unique challenges in that you have to record and edit audio, which can be challenging if you’re unfamiliar with audio editing software. Additionally, podcasts need to be hosted somewhere, which can cost money.

If you decide to create your podcast, make sure you have the time and resources to commit to it. Otherwise, your podcast will quickly become neglected, which will do more harm than good for your content marketing efforts.

Emails

Email is one of the most common content forms. It’s immediate, direct, and can be personalized easily. Even though email marketing has a low open and response rate, it offers an incredible return on investment. Email marketing has a return on investment of $36 for every $1 spent. 

This is not surprising, considering there are billions of email users worldwide. Emails drive marketing and sales even more than social media marketing does. 

The good thing is that emails are very versatile. Email content can be adapted to suit virtually any marketing strategy — brand awareness, thought leadership, announcements, news updates, or other short pieces of content. 

You can reach many potential customers through email by automating your email marketing and using CRMs for email marketing. These let you personalize and brand your emails and keep in touch with the people you want to reach. 

Newsletters

Another common content form is the newsletter. Newsletters are typically sent out on a regular basis, such as monthly or quarterly. They can be similar to emails in that the same tools can be used to automate the creation process, but they are not the same.

Newsletters can include a mix of articles on a particular subject, tips, and other content that’s relevant to your audience. Newsletters can be an effective way to build relationships with your readers and keep them updated on what’s going on. You can publicize your newsletter by posting parts of it as social media posts.

Webinars

Webinars are emerging as an effective content format that can be used to reach and engage your audience.

Webinars are live, interactive sessions that allow you to share your screen with participants, making it easy to teach them about a topic or product. 

They can also be recorded and shared as videos. As we already know, video content generates a huge return on investment. Webinars can be an easy way to tap into the benefits of video marketing. 

Webinars are an effective way to build relationships with your audience and help them learn about your products or services.

How to Determine Which Content Form Works Best for Your Business?

Content marketing looks different for every business. Hence, depending on your business or brand, your content will differ from that of the other verticals. Here’s how you determine the best type of content form for your content marketing efforts.

Consider Your Content Marketing Goals 

When it comes to content marketing, one of the most important things to consider is which content form works best for your business. Every business has different goals, so it’s important to make sure your content marketing strategy fits those goals.

You may find that one type of content form works better than others or that different forms work well together.

To decide which content form will work best for your business, you must consider your content marketing goals. What are you hoping to achieve with your content? What are you trying to accomplish? Once you understand your goals well, you can start thinking about how to best achieve them with the help of various types of content.

Study Your Audience 

When it comes to content marketing, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is what type of content to create. After all, if your content isn’t resonating with your audience, it will not do you much good.

Once you better understand your target audience and what they want, you can start creating content that speaks directly to them. By taking the time to understand your target audience, you’ll be well on your way to creating effective and engaging content that helps you achieve your marketing goals.

Experiment

Try out different content forms and see which ones work best for your business. Don’t be afraid to try new things – you may be surprised at what works well and doesn’t. The beauty of experimentation is that it allows you to test different approaches and find what works best for your online content.

You can then focus on developing those types of content that generate the best results. So don’t be afraid to experiment – it could be the key to success for your business.

Pay Attention to Engagement Rates 

When it comes to content marketing, one of the most important decisions you’ll make is which content form to use. Each form has its own strengths and weaknesses, and different forms work better for different businesses.

The key is to pay attention to engagement rates — how much interaction your content receives from readers. Many factors affect engagement rates, including the topic of your content, the tone you use, the design of your page or post, and even the time of day you publish.

You can find out what works best by experimenting with different forms and tracking the results.

Consider the Overall Tone and Style of Your Content

With so many different content formats, how do you decide which one will work best for your business? The answer lies in considering the overall tone and style of your content.

What are you trying to achieve? Are you looking to entertain your audience or provide them with valuable content? How do you want to position your brand, and what messages do you want to get across with your content marketing?

All these will help you decide what content form to use.

How to Create Successful Content Strategy Using the Different Content Forms 

Create a Content Calendar

create a content calendar

The first step is to create a content calendar. This will help you plan and publish your content regularly, which is very important for your success. It will also help ensure that your social media aligns with your business goals.

Your content calendar is a reflection of your overall brand goals. You should try incorporating different content forms as much as possible to realize your content strategy. 

Address a Pain Point 

Your content should always address a pain point your target audience is experiencing. By doing so, you’ll be able to provide valuable information to help them overcome their challenges.

There are a variety of different content forms that you can use to address a pain point. For example, if your audience finds it difficult to use a particular product, try creating a blog post on your blog or guest blog to educate them or write a how-to guide.

Capitalize on Your Uniqueness

It’s important to make the most of your unique selling points and use them to make content that your target audience will like.

For example, if you’re the only company in your industry offering a certain type of product, highlight this in your content. This will help you stand out from the competition and attract customers. Think outside the box.

Decide Your Channels 

Once you’ve decided on the content form that will work best for your needs, it’s time to determine which channels you’ll use to distribute your content. There are a variety of different channels that you can use, including social media, email, and your website.

Choosing channels that will effectively reach your target audience is important. For example, using social media channels like Snapchat and Instagram would be a good idea if you’re trying to reach millennials and Gen Zs.

On the other hand, if you’re trying to reach business professionals, then using LinkedIn would be a better option.

Automate 

Once you have decided on your channels, the next thing would be to automate your content management process. 

There are many different software companies that can help with this, including Hootsuite, Sprout Social, and Buffer. Each platform has its own set of features and benefits, so it’s important to choose the one that best suits your needs.

A content management platform will help you save time and organize your content. It will also provide you with downloadable templates that will be extremely helpful in your lead generation.

It will also allow you to track your metrics to see what’s working and what’s not.

Hire Professionals

Lastly, to make your content marketing efforts as effective as possible, you may need to hire a content marketing agency, especially if you don’t have the time or resources to manage your content yourself.

Several companies offer content and social media marketing services, and they can be a great option if you’re unsure where to start.

Consider these three things:

  • Do you have the time and resources to manage your content yourself?
  • Do you need help developing a content strategy?
  • Do you want to ensure that your content is of the highest quality?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then hiring professionals may be your best option.

Conclusion

Branding and marketing are two sides of the same coin. Most content marketers tend to focus on one while ignoring the other. Unfortunately, this adversely affects a business’s ROI and bottom line. 

Interestingly, content plays a huge role in how both are executed. In fact, we could say that content is the bedrock of branding and marketing, although the goals and results are different. 

Content marketers and every other person in the funnel should always remember that while neither branding nor marketing should be ignored; content and the formats in which it’s presented are what’s most important. 

Content marketing is always evolving and will always evolve to suit trends, fads, algorithms, and every other thing in between. But the essence of content marketing, which is the content, the purpose it serves, and the form in which it is presented, will most likely stay the same. 

Using the different content forms already explored will change both how a brand is perceived and how it performs. Eventually, it is better to focus on the substance and not just the effect. And before you put anything else out there, ask yourself if your audience will find it helpful. 

Content forms are a vital part of marketing strategy. There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to content marketing. What works for one business might not work for another, and that’s okay. 

The key is to experiment and see what resonates with your audience. By thinking about the overall tone and style of your content, you can ensure your message is clear and reach your target audience in the best way possible. 

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