Originally published on April 19, 2016. Updated on Sept. 28, 2022.
I'm going to take a wild guess and say that when content was addressed in your last marketing meeting, the next part of the discussion involved brainstorming for a written piece of content — most likely a blog post.
Was I close?
Don't get me wrong. Blog content is exceptionally valuable when it comes to generating leads and nurturing your audience through the inbound funnel. But starting and stopping at written articles alone will only halt further opportunities. Plus, you'd be surprised how much more your team can churn out when you open up the possibilities for content creation rather than box them in with writing only articles for the blog.
By utilizing various types of formats to create and distribute content, companies can amplify their marketing efforts, build greater influence, and see higher engagement in the long term. So if you don't enjoy writing a plethora of articles, don't have capacity, or simply need a boost of creativity (don't we all?), here are 10 content marketing formats that can work very well:
Gated content is an opportunity we're still seeing many companies miss, which is a shame because it also happens to be a powerful step in your lead generation efforts. While there are dos and don'ts to creating great gated content, it can usually be produced by repurposing content you already have. Creating comprehensive deep dives out of a few relevant blog posts that address customer pain points and industry trends enables your company to create content worth the download, capture leads, and grow your email list. Whitepapers, e-books, and industry research are a few examples of effective gated content to consider for your content creation efforts.
Learn how to create gated content that’s worth the download with this free guide:
If you understand the value of content, you're probably aware that visuals can make all the difference in terms of engagement. In fact, researchers found that when people hear information, they’re likely to only remember 10% of it three days later. Whereas, with visual content, people are able to retain 65% of the information three days later.
That makes a lot of sense considering we're less inclined to get excited to read a 1,000-word article that's been slapped online in the most boring fashion versus an article with high-quality visuals exemplifying those insights. We need visuals to entice us to read and also to better comprehend what it is that we're reading.
While our team utilizes in-house designers for infographics, using tools like Canva to create engaging graphics to complement your content can be the differentiating factor for successful content.
On the Influence & Co. blog, we tested embedding videos within posts for our article on secrets to becoming a thought leader, LinkedIn publishing best practices, and how to build a high-powered content team, and we've seen a lot of value in that content.
The power of video is clear nowadays, but in case you need some convincing, consider this: Nine out of 10 viewers say they want to see more videos from brands, which means there’s a good chance your audience will respond well to this content format. So what are you waiting for?
If you’re practicing content marketing, social media needs to be a part of your strategy. The endless possibilities of the digital world make platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok a great place to let your creativity blossom. Repurposing your existing content into Instagram carousels, hosting live events, and utilizing interactive features like polls are great ways to connect with your online audience and boost your business results.
American Express is a company with a social media content marketing strategy we love. It uses Instagram to share company updates but also step outside the box with its "Win the Weekday" series that showcases how cardholders use their rewards.
If you're not already sending a weekly newsletter to your contacts, I highly recommend adding that to your priority list. An email newsletter is a fantastic way to showcase the content your leads probably missed, and it serves as a resource for other industry news and updates.
Our Influence & Co. Weekly newsletter provides a digest of the latest in content marketing, thought leadership, social media, sales, and more that our audience seems to really enjoy. It's an opportunity for us to share the high-quality content we create while also featuring other great content from other companies and publications in our space.
As you may have read on our blog before, I'm kind of a podcast fiend. Podcasts are growing in popularity, and they're excellent when it comes to reaching your audience and serving as a go-to resource in your space.
The best podcasts tend to feature experts coming together to discuss various topics or trends in casual conversations that are thought-provoking yet easy to understand. It allows audiences to gain insights into who these individuals (and the companies they represent) really are while also educating them.
Engaging with audiences via webinars is a strategy our team knows well and loves doing, and it's something our audience continues to tune in for. Similar to podcasts, hosting a webinar or partnering with another organization is a fantastic opportunity to engage your target market in a way that's casual yet informative and valuable. Plus, it gives you the chance to repurpose the awesome graphics you've created in your slides.
Our team has partnered with companies like LinkedIn, UpContent, and SocialSEO to further the discussion about content marketing, social media, thought leadership, and more. Webinars are your chance to dive deep into topics your audience loves by hosting experts to discuss trends and developments, and you can provide that critical human element your audience needs to feel connected to your brand — which they often can't find through reading blog content alone.
Guest posts are a creative format for content marketing because they help you go beyond your company’s owned media channels and get in front of a new audience. These types of contributed articles are published on external websites, so they’re great for amplifying your brand and establishing third-party credibility. The key to success with guest posting is contributing to publications your audience reads and trusts.
Take our publication quiz to find out which sites you should be contributing your content to!
Interactive content has proven to be two times more effective than static content, making quizzes the perfect addition to your content marketing tool kit. Incorporating quizzes into your strategy is a creative way to engage with your target audience and gain a better understanding of them. Using information from your quizzes to learn about your customers and their pain points can help you to cater to their needs and position your company as the best possible solution.
Let your work speak for itself. Highlight your successes and the results you've achieved in case studies, and pull out the most compelling quotes from clients to use as testimonials on your website and social media channels. This type of content can play an integral role in a consumer’s decision to choose your company over a competitor. In fact, statistics show that buyers are 34% more likely to convert when they see a testimonial on a sales page.
Clearly, staying within the boundaries of the written content box can prevent you from fully engaging with your audience, and it's something many companies struggle with. Thankfully, there are tools and platforms to help you take advantage of all the different ways to connect with your audience. So step outside the box by using your standard blog content to fuel other channels. You won't regret it.