The 3 must-have content types in 2017

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Use the right content for your audience. 

It’s easy to get excited about content marketing (I know I do!). Blogs, videos, ebooks – it’s all very exciting. However, as marketers we need to step back, relax and make a plan.

You need a plan simply because there are so many things to think about. What to create? Who to create for? How often? When? Why? These questions all need answers before you start creating content, and a solid content plan will keep this information safe and in one place - ready to be referred to whenever you start feeling lost.

GET THE 70-20-10 CONTENT CALENDAR!

Your content plan will be a roadmap for many things, none more than your content distribution. In other words, what types of content are you going to produce? But before we answer this question; who is our audience? One of the best ways to understand and simplify our audience is by developing personas. You can read more about persona development here.

Onwards... The reason why your audiences are so fundamental to good content distribution is because they are going to be the people reading, watching and listening to your content. In addition, there is so much content already out there. And the only way that we can break through all of this clutter is by understanding our different audiences and being highly relevant to their needs and wants.

Let’s take this further, great content doesn’t just educate but it entertains and inspires. This should always be our goal. No one likes boring content!

Create relevant and interesting content. 

How do we create interesting content? Variety, but variety that makes sense for our audience. Are they visual? Do they like to listen? Do they read? The best way to answer these questions is by talking to your customers. Other methods can include surveys, social media, keyword research etc.

Now that we understand what our audience likes – where do they get their content? Do they scroll through their Facebook feed for hours every day? Are they obsessed with Instagram? Do they perform regular Google searches? Understanding your audience’s content habits will help you craft a killer content distribution plan.  

Before we get into content types, let’s explain the 70-20-10 rule. Your content should be 70% your voice, 20% other people’s voice and 10% self-promotion. This rule is important because today’s consumers don't want to feel like they are being sold to. They want to consume content on their own terms. You can read more about the 70-20-10 rule here.

Content Types:

We could do the typical blog-listing tactic and list out all the different types of content. But you know what they are; blogs, ebooks, podcasts, videos, templates... the list goes on. More importantly, how do you decide what content formats are right for your specific audience? What content will achieve your best ROI? Which content is cheap to produce but healthy on the bottom-line? Let's find out. 

Content Ranking:

Rank: 1st

Format: Blogs

Cost: Blogs are one of the cheapest and easiest content formats that you can produce. You can either get your employees to write the blogs or outsource to agencies or freelancers. If your budget is really tight – you don’t even have to buy or create the blog images yourself. There are a number of sites available that offer royalty free images at little or no cost to youTop Tip: Always check the licensing agreement before using images.

Time: In comparison to other content types, blogs typically take less time to research and create. Bear in mind that you get out what you put in. Quality work will always take a little longer. However, it’s about finding the balance between excellent content and efficiency.

Effectiveness: Blogs can be an extremely effective content format. Companies such as HubSpot are experts in blogging. Take a moment to Google any search queries related to content planning, Facebook marketing or email marketing. Chances are that you will find a HubSpot blog on the first page on every occasion.

The reason why blogs are still so awesome is that they are easy to produce but extremely effectivewhen done well. A consistent blog strategy and performance will help you perform strongly with search engines, get your content shared right across the web, and generate those all-important leads.

 

Rank: 2nd

Format: Videos

Cost: I won’t lie to you. Videos can be expensive to produce. However, we live in a world that for the first time in our history – visual communication is becoming more important than verbal. If your audience is made up of millennials, then this is even more important. The trends show that younger demographics are moving away from Facebook and turning towards Instagram and Snapchat. Why? Because visual communication is replacing word-based content.

An investment in video creation is an investment in the future of communication. Video creation can be expensive but relax, there are some quality tools available that won't burn a hole in your pocket.

Time: The time it takes to create and produce videos varies depending on the scale and nature of the project. A simple animation could be created within an hour whereas a complicated documentary could take weeks to shoot and produce. Produce videos that make sense for your budget and audience.

Effectiveness: Videos are an extremely powerful content format and this trend is unlikely to change in the near future. Attention spans have decreased with the digital age, so focus on quality not quantity. As a rule-of-thumb, make your videos between 1-5 minutes for maximum impact.

Top tip: Even if you don’t include YouTube as part of your content strategy, always upload your videos to this platform. Why? Because Google owns YouTube and it will help with your videos’ ranking performance. Think of Youtube as not just a social network but also a video search engine.

Did you know? YouTube is actually the second largest search engine after Google.

A well-made video has the ability to be shared right across the social sphere, improve search rankings and generate new business.

 

Rank: 3rd

Format: Podcasts

Cost: Podcasts are relatively cheap to produce. Most modern smartphones have basic recording capabilities. However, if you want high quality audio, you will need to either borrow or invest in good audio equipment. This would be especially worthwhile if you make podcasts a major player in your content strategy.

Keep in mind, an engaging topic and presentation is more important than top-of-the-line audio. However, your audience still needs to be able to clearly hear what you are saying!

Time: Podcasts are quick and easy to produce. The recording can be anywhere between 5 minutes and 3 hours long... After the recording has been completed, editing the audio can take as little as 5 minutes. Top tip: Unless you have killer content, keep your average podcast to no longer than 20 minutes long.

Effectiveness: Podcasts have a growing audience. This content type works increasingly well for busy professionals on the go. These people want to learn and consume content just like everyone else but they don’t have the time. This audience tends to consume content as they drive from place-to-place in the car. So keep this in mind as you plan and create podcasts. 

Top tip: In order to save you precious time and money coming up with different ideas for a podcast; start repurposing some of your best blog content and turn it into engaging podcasts. 

Sharing regular podcasts that resonate with your audience has the ability to grow your loyal followers, increase brand awareness and showcase your products or services to the world. 

 

SUMMARY

Notice how we didn’t go through every type of content? There are some other great content formats that we haven’t mentioned. If you want some more information about these different content types, you can read about them in our earlier blog article: Content planning - how to organise your content.

This is our evaluation of the most important content formats for 2017. More importantly, work out which content types work best for your business and your industry. Do you have good writers amongst your employees? If not, outsource your blog writing to talented writers outside of your organisation.

What is your marketing budget? Do you have enough moolah to create and produce elaborate videos? If not, consider outsourcing your video creation to external agencies or freelancers. Remember, videos do not have to have huge budgets to be successful. Cat videos do pretty well after-all...

Lastly, consider creating podcasts as part of your content strategy. It’s a cheap and an effective method to reach specific demographics.

 

NEXT STEPS

Just like with everything, you need to have a plan before you start creating content. Start with setting goals and developing your content strategy. This will give your content focus and help achieve your marketing and business objectives. And that’s what content marketing is all about.

If you need help with your content planning – this free content calendar will make it a whole lot easier! Click the banner below to get yours now:

70-20-10 Content Calendar