Whether intentionally or not, the recent COVID-19 situation caused many of us to go “back to basics” in both our personal and professional lives, whatever that looks like.

The same idea can be applied to content marketing. Sure, we’ve heard the term “content marketing,” but what exactly is it, how can we use it to our business’ advantage, and what are the most effective methods of using it to get the results we’re after?

Get back to the basics with content marketingContent Marketing 101: First, a Refresher

The Content Marketing Institute (CMI), an online-based leading organization for the content marketing industry founded by Joe Pulizzi,  defines this practice as “the strategic marketing approach of creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience—with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Regardless of how many pieces of content you develop, the most effective initiatives typically cover three key needs: relevance, brevity, and timeliness.

Readers want valuable information that speaks to their lives and experiences directly, captures the key points in short, easily-digestible text, and focuses on topics happening at the moment (or are “evergreen”—topics people will always want to read about, such as getting healthy, parenting tips, minimizing or alleviating stress, and workplace issues).

Keep these needs in mind any time you create content for any types of content marketing projects.

Businesses will implement countless marketing strategies over the years, as well they should. But ultimately, no matter how many forms of content you utilize over the life of your business, you will likely find one or two formats you use over and over again, yet try others only once.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may only need one or two tried-and-true content formats to generate the results you’re seeking.

But don’t limit yourself—it can be good to mix up your marketing efforts periodically to keep your marketing team challenged, your core customer base engaged with what you’re already doing, and potential customers intrigued.

Following are seven of the most popular types of content marketing, although it is by no means a complete list.

7 Types Of Content Marketing

1. Website

Websites remain one of the most well-known and most widely used forms of content marketing—or any marketing, for that matter. These days, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for a business to compete without a website of some kind.

From simple to complex, whether a site contains a home page and one or two landing pages or several pages of interactive, user-friendly text giving users a comprehensive look at the company’s products or services, websites are an effective virtual “business card” or brochure for industries of all kinds. They are still major drivers for SEO as they relate to search engine rankings.

2. Social media

Many businesses utilize social media as their primary means of digital marketing, focusing on their Facebook or Instagram platforms rather than a website. It makes sense for a variety of businesses, particularly those in a time-sensitive industry (such as restaurants, who rely on their social media pages to promote daily specials, weekly events, and much more).

The highly visual nature of social media has also made it an invaluable tool for businesses of all kinds—clothing retailers can post photos of new merchandise, restaurants can post food and drink specials, and other businesses can share photos of grand openings, new products, special guests, and essentially any other type of milestone or special activity.

Business owners also rely on the highly interactive nature of social media, where they can answer customers’ questions and respond to requests in real-time.

sharing your blogs on social media is essential3. Blog posts

Unlike social media, which is a “sprint” that can generate immediate feedback, blogging is more like a marathon in that it can take longer to build a rapport with readers.

But the end results of regular blog posts are well worth the time and resources invested in the effort. If you haven’t included blogging into your company’s content marketing strategy, it may be time to consider it.

Well-written, high-quality blog posts allow for a deeper examination of a particular topic, positions the writer (or respective company representative) as a thought leader within the industry, and encourage feedback with readers.

4. White papers

A white paper is part research paper, part brochure. Basically, a white paper is an in-depth examination of a complex issue and presents the issuer’s thoughts and philosophy on the topic.

A longtime favorite marketing and research tool for technology companies and other complex industries, a white paper is a perfect opportunity to position yourself as a thought leader. Many companies make their white papers available as downloadable PDFs on their websites.

5. Newsletters

Newsletters are a dedicated investment of time and resources, but many companies find the efforts well worth it. Versatility is one of the biggest advantages of email newsletters—not only do they give the company the opportunity to share internal news with their target audiences, but they can include industry-specific news, community events for organizations the company is passionate about, and so much more.

You can also set a mailing schedule, so you’re not bombarding readers with mail.

An effective newsletter captures both the voice and spirit of the company, so it’s important to secure those elements of your brand. The best way to compile an email list is to include a “Sign up for our newsletter” option on your company website.

6. Vlogs

The “next level” in blogging is a vlog or video blog. One of the biggest benefits to this digital marketing platform is it gives you the ability to connect directly with your audience through video content.

Vlogs are helpful if you are trying to explain a highly technical product or concept and can include visual aids to enhance viewers’ understanding of your topic.

Vlogs are also a great way to give audiences a “behind the scenes” look at your company and staff, rolling out new products or services (or any other special announcement), and marking significant company milestones.

case studies let your customers speak for you7. Case studies

Case studies are a great way to let your customers speak for you, and there’s no better marketing than a satisfied customer willing to give your company a good old-fashioned “word of mouth” referral.

A case study is an in-depth look at how your company’s product or service solved a specific problem for a customer. This is a powerful marketing tool, as it gives your customers the opportunity to speak plainly and positively about their experience with your company.

Which types of content marketing are working best for you?