When you think of content marketing, the obvious methods come to mind, such as blogging and video. However, while those methods are undoubtedly effective, there are other powerful types of content that you shouldn’t miss out on.

Considering that content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing and generates more than three times as many leads, it only makes sense to take advantage of all avenues available. Let’s go over the popular types of content in content marketing, the common mistakes marketers make with them, and how to avoid the pitfalls. 

Blogging

As mentioned earlier, blogging is one of the reigning kings of content marketing — 53% of content marketers say blogging is their top priority. From brand awareness and thought leadership to SEO and more, the benefits are clear, and businesses are hardpressed to find reasons not to blog.  

Avoid these mistakes: 

  • Not citing your sources. This is probably a given, but plagiarism is a no-no. When your content is too similar to someone else’s, you could get penalized by Google, which is never a fun thing. So, when you’re sharing others’ content or ideas, be sure to cite your sources
  • Not structuring your blog posts. People aren’t drawn to massive walls of text with no end in sight. Before writing, create an outline or a template to help streamline your ideas. Add section headers to every few paragraphs for a smoother reading experience. 
  • Not optimizing for SEO. According to a recent study, although roughly 60% of businesses have blogs, 65% of those blog owners haven’t updated in the past year — let alone optimize their blog for SEO. If you don’t optimize your blog for SEO, you’re missing a huge opportunity to drive organic traffic and boost brand awareness. (Psst, use this checklist to get you started). 
  • Not internal linking your content. Getting people to read your blog article is only half the battle. When there’s a lot of internal linking, users have the opportunity to fall into a wormhole of, well, your content. And that’s a great thing for your business. 

Templates and Checklists

When providing useful content, you always want to deliver something actionable. More often than not, when people are searching for helpful content, they’re not looking just to read — they’re looking for solutions. Downloadable templates and checklists aren’t only useful; they’re also inexpensive to make and help elevate your company as an authority figure in the space. 

Templates are like a blueprint — they provide a set of instructions on how to complete a given task and give the exact steps it takes to get there.

Image: AdRoll Blog

Checklists are one-sheeters that help track your progress for any given task. 

Image: AdRoll Blog

Avoid these mistakes: 

  • Too much inconsistency. When creating templates and checklists, consistency should be maintained in terms of design, images, and illustrations. 

Ebooks

Ebooks give detailed insight into an area of expertise. They enhance your company’s reputation and help to generate new leads.

At first glance, creating one may seem like a lot — after all, it’s an electronic book. However, they’re an excellent source of evergreen content that can be repackaged, repurposed, or turkey-sliced into multiple blog posts. Compared to other types of digital content, ebooks feel more like an object of value. 

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Having no purpose. Your company wants to create an ebook, which is all fine and well, but do you know what you’re trying to help customers with? Ask yourself the following questions to get a headstart: What are your current customers searching for on your site? What are your social media followers asking? 
  • Not providing value. It’s essential to offer an ebook that doesn’t provide generic information or is all “fluff.” To convince others to convert, you need to pick a subject that your company cares about and engagingly solve customer problems.
  • Not marketing your ebook. Your ebook has to reach your target audience. Start marketing to build buzz early on in the game.

Whitepapers

A whitepaper is a research report or guide that helps solve a problem. Whitepapers are used to educate readers and bring to light a new or different perspective. While they sound similar to ebooks, whitepapers are considered “decision-making” pieces and are usually for people who are already familiar with your brand. Ebooks offer more of a “how-to” type of content that’s used for people early in the buying cycle. In addition to helping with boosting organic search, building email lists, and increasing ROI, whitepapers can also serve as evergreen content that can be repackaged into new types of content.

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Not aligning your whitepaper with your customer’s buying journey. For your whitepaper to be effective, you must get clear on your target audience’s problems, needs, and goals. You also must target content for buyers in each phase in your sales cycle.
  • Not using a professional writer. Because whitepapers are more academic in tone, it’s essential to find a writer who has the skill to craft a compelling whitepaper. 

Infographics 

Infographics are an excellent way to package a ton of information and data into an image. They’re visually compelling, easily digestible, and are much preferable compared to tons of text. Here’s an example:

Image: AdRoll Blog

Not only do infographics demonstrate your company’s expertise and boost your brand value, but they’re also ideal for sharing on social media channels.

Avoid these mistakes: 

  • Using too much text. Keep your copy short and powerful. When infographics have too much text, the focus won’t be on the visuals, which defeats the purpose of infographics being digestible and visually stimulating. 
  • Using too many design elements. A busy infographic could be overwhelming to process. Stick to a theme and simple design concepts. 

Memes

Memes are an image or a video with phrases that speak about a popular culture reference. Memes are popular because, through the midst of other heavier types of content, they’re meant to be satirical and humorous. They’re popular across social media channels and blog posts with a high potential to become viral. 

Image: quickmeme.com

Avoid these mistakes:

  • Using outdated references. All memes have a shelf life. When a meme goes viral, its popularity will only last for a few months, weeks, or even days. Don’t serve your audience something that’s stale. 

Have a Healthy Mix

When it comes to content marketing, you have to have a healthy mix of content types to keep users engaged. For example, you can create a content strategy that combines blog posts, templates, memes, and more, to give users a combination of useful, actionable, and (hilariously) compelling content. 

Now that you know the different types of content in content marketing, check out these tips on how to inspire employees to start writing.

Angie Tran
Author

Angie is the Senior Copywriter at AdRoll. Prior to AdRoll, she was a Content Writer at various digital marketing agencies. A writer by day and a reader by night, Angie’s other hobbies include cooking and learning useless movie trivia.