There is a big difference between just throwing up content to have something there and putting up content that your customers will adore. In a survey of both for-profit and non-profit companies, about 91 percent stated they use content marketing to reach out to potential or current customers. Understanding your customers is the first step to making sure your content efforts are not wasted.
There are many different elements to writing solid content. Not even considering SEO, you still need elements such as a headline that captures attention, easy-to-read material and something unique that is personalized to your readers. You can do this with more than just words. Here are seven types of web content your visitors will love.
1. White Papers
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There is a lot of content on the internet these days. At last estimate, there were more than 1.3 billion live websites. Do you want to stand out from all the other sites in your industry? Well you do need some in-depth content that people can turn to as a source for all things in your industry. White papers are a good way to add some case studies and very detailed statistics about any topic you can imagine. Even if you run a recipe blog, there is research you can pull in and expand on.
Hootsuite does a good job of really digging down into a topic and offering a detailed white paper guide on how to perform in a specific area, such as paid social network ads, figuring out social ROI or optimizing marketing costs for Facebook. One way you can repeat this is to figure out what questions your customers have and then answer those questions in six or seven pages of content.
2. Short-Form Evergreen Articles
Over the last several years, websites have been producing long-form web content in order to rank well in Google’s search engines and make their content stand out. However, there is still a place for articles that are under 1,500 words. In fact, many readers simply skim your content anyway.
Long and short-form content each has its own place in your overall content marketing plan. However, if you’ve neglected short-form, now is the time to add some quick, to-the-point posts about very narrow topics. Imagine that you are a commuter and you have five minutes to read something on a website. Now, figure out how to make that happen for your readers.
In 2018, the trend toward videos as part of an overall content strategy continues. You’ll want to include videos on your site and in your social media marketing. There are some definite trends when it comes to different ways to utilize videos. One trend that is still on the rise is ephemeral marketing, or videos that go up for a bit and then disappear, such as with Snapchat. The impact might be temporary. However, give users ephemeral videos, and they’ll wait to see what else you have to offer.
You’ll find that any type of video increases audience engagement. About 33 percent of all online activity is spent watching some type of video. Try adding different types of videos on both your website and sites such as YouTube and Facebook. Add short videos as well as longer, more in-depth videos.
Buzzfeed has used longer videos on their Facebook feed with a lot of success. In the video about a 90-year-old holocaust survivor of Auschwitz, he shares a compelling story of what he went through and how he survived the experience. The video is emotionally powerful and a unique story. “How I Escaped the Holocaust” has been shared 24,000 times and viewed over 21 million times.
Over 20,000 photos are shared every second of the day, and social media posts with images are shared more often than posts without a photograph. Adding photos to your content takes a lot of finesse. You have to choose an image that enhances your content. On top of that, you need to make sure the photo is optimized so it doesn’t slow down the loading of your page and cause your bounce rate to rise.
If you’re writing web content that includes directions, consider adding an infographic so that your site visitors process the information better. In one study, people followed directions that included both text and illustrations 323 percent better than without the illustrations.
Text with images has a higher engagement rate and gets shared more often, as well. If you’d like to break up your content a bit so that it isn’t 100 percent blog posts, infographics are a great way to present information in a fresh way.
Kissmetrics’ website offers a number of infographics to help users break down complex topics and better understand them. In the screenshot above, the site breaks down information on the key metrics for Software as a Service (SaaS) companies. Note the bright colors, short text excerpts and data visualization techniques that all work to pull the reader into the topic.
We already talked about offering short-form content. However, you can also create listicles to draw in those who love to just skim over material and get some quick facts. Listicles can be shorter or longer. The key is to write amazing headlines and use short, punchy bullet points to drive home the headline statement. Even though listicles are a short list of information, they point to solid research and a certain number that readers can grab hold of.
Digital books offer a positive addition to your content marketing strategy. They provide in-depth information to your reader, but also give you something to offer to the site visitor if they subscribe to your mailing list. In today’s world with so much spam and junk mail, most people want to get something to give something.
Offering a book on a topic they care about just might entice them to share their contact information. The key is to give them something they want so much that they would actually pay for it.
Quick Sprout offered a free course simply for sharing your email address with them. The course was written by New York Times bestselling author and web traffic guru Neil Patel. People pay money to take courses and get advice from Patel, so getting a course for free is a big incentive to sign up.
Make Your Customers Love You
Give your customers valuable web content consistently. Let them know they can count on you for all the information they need about a given topic. Once your site visitors know they can trust you to provide them with the information they need and not try too hard sell them, they will become raving fans of you and your website.