40 Content Formats That all Digital Marketers Should Be Aware Of
I get it. When pressure is on and the deadlines are looming, it’s easy to go straight to a simple blog post or infographic when you need to create content for your digital marketing efforts.
To be fair, there absolutely is a place for that sort of content, but what if there was a better way to convey a particular message? Or perhaps your audience would engage with one particular format over another?
From maps to videos to quizzes, there are so many different content formats to try. In order to get the creative juices flowing, We’ve listed a range of content marketing examples for your inspiration.
Types of Blog Posts
1. List Post
This thing that you are reading right now is a list post.
Popular on sites like Buzzfeed, a list post is simply a list of things, often accompanied by images or gifs.
As readers, we tend to love them because we can scan down the post really easily and only take what we need from them.
2. How-to Article/Guide
Similar to the above, however a how-to article or guide is a step by step list of how to achieve something specific.
For example, if your audience is interested in learning PowerPoint, then a blog that details how to edit the master slides of a deck would work really well.
Ideally it would include instructional text and imagery.
3. Why/What post
A blog post that aims to answer a very specific question the reader might ask.
A general blog. Those that don’t fit into a niche. This could simply be an opinion piece on a topic that’s relevant to your audience.
5. Long Form/Editorial
As the name suggests, long form is longer than your average blog post or webpage. You can create some really in-depth, evergreen content in this format.
There’s a misconception that people won’t read or scroll long pages. Research shows this is not the case, however.
Sometimes you have great news to share, or perhaps you want to weigh in on the topic of the moment. If you have the resource to turn around timely content, then you will always be seen as a current brand.
For any type of blog post, it’s best to have an overall content strategy in place that takes into account your customer profiling and keyword research.
Not only will this inform what content your audience will find useful, but executed correctly, it can help you rank higher in search engines for your chosen keywords/topics.
Types of Video
A video, whether it be animated or live action, can focus on a particular topic or event.
Whilst one of the costlier and time consuming pieces of content to produce, the rewards could be remarkable.
2. Explainer Video
This is a specific video format that explains either one of your products/services, or discusses a concept in a simple, easy-to-consume way.
Interactive videos use technology to let the user control the narrative direction.
For example, a survival awareness video that lets you choose what action you would take in a variety of scenarios, then shows you the outcome of those decisions.
A live video is exactly what it sounds like – a video that is being recorded and streamed live simultaneously, as opposed to pre-recording it.
Many social media platforms allow you to do this from your smartphone, without the need for any fancy equipment or broadcasting software.
Events are a good chance to use live video, but these don’t need to be limited to physical events, game broadcasts (i.e. people playing video games) are very popular.
Interviewing people and getting their opinions on a specific topic can produce brilliant content.
Types of Information Graphics
1. Traditional Infographics
Not only are infographics great to look at (if done well), they’re much easier to host on external sites than interactive content.
If appropriate, or indeed possible for the type of content you wish to promote, it can be more beneficial to approach potential influencers with a static infographic version during the link building phase of a campaign.
There is no better way to display geographical data then with a map.
3. Traditional Graphs and Charts
If you’ve collected a fascinating set of data – graphs and charts are probably the simplest way to display your findings.
You can also include them as elements within most other types of content, too. Within blogs, for instance.
For anybody that has an enthusiastic interest in a specific timeless topic, timelines are a great way to display the lifespan of that particular topic in an encyclopedic and interactive way.
5. Bubble Chart
While traditional graphs and charts are useful, they are often not as pretty or as interesting to look at as bubble charts – which are great for quantifying data in a unique way (i.e. the size of a bubble).
6. Word Cloud
A word cloud visually represents text data. The size of a word within the cloud itself is dictated by the significance of each meta tag.
7. Tree Diagram
As far as static information graphics go, tree diagrams are a simple and effective way to help the user draw their own conclusions about certain things.
By travelling down through the diagram, the user is confronted with possible outcomes and the probability of their impact.
Types of Data Journalism
1. Surveys & Results
Surveys are an effective way to extract general opinion – they are made up of targeted questions designed to collect valuable data.
Once the data is collected, you can use the results to form a separate piece of content in its own right.
2. Projection Charts
Projection charts are a good way of presenting your plans and ambitions, or how you expect something to change, in a user-friendly and easy-to-understand way.
3. White Papers/Reports
White papers are reports related to a complex issue or impending matter yet to be confronted.
It can also be used to present ideas or promote a product or service in a comprehensively detailed manner.
Types of One Page Microsites
Parallax web design includes multiple focal points moving at different speeds when you scroll through a page.
This can be a highly immersive form of content for the user, and an effective way of bringing your campaign’s landing page to life.
Long scrolling pages are often used to tell a story in a more visually appealing way than a standard news article or blog post.
Starting at the beginning, the user will often feel compelled to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to get to the ending.
3. Comparison Visualizations
A visual peace that compares two (or more) things side-by-side, so people can compare different products and services.
4. Live Updating Landing Pages
An updating landing page tracking and displaying live data is a good way to entice users interested in a specific event to your site.
This could be a number of things, like updating the total amount of money spent on Black Friday, for instance…
Types of Interactive Content
People love a quiz. And provided you can find an interesting topic to quiz people on, you’re on to a winner.
2. Online Calculators
Online calculators are an incredibly useful tool for the end user. They can often inform people when making important life decisions, or even get a quote on the conversion path.
If you have the dev capability to create a game, then why wouldn’t you at least have a go?
Again, as long as it’s topical and relevant to your audience, you can entice an inordinate amount of traffic to the landing page where the game is hosted.
Online competitions are not just great for driving traffic, but they’re also useful for collecting data – serving as a lead generation exercise.
Be careful though, as new GDPR-enforced regulation will prohibit the way in which marketers may have normally gone about collecting data in the past…
5. Interactive Map
Interactive maps are a great way to keep the user on-page for a significant length of time as they enable the user to explore.
This has been made possible through new tools like Google Maps Embed API, for example.
Provided each point on the map compels the user to keep browsing, this type of content can prove to be highly engaging and very shareable.
Types of Audio Content
These days, people consume content whilst on the move – and podcasts are a great way to reach them.
Podcasts are usually longer recordings, which can be serialised into multiple episodes consisting of interviews, discussions and debates.
2. Narrated Blog Posts
Narrated blog posts usually work well for tutorials, guides and how-to posts – where it might be easier to explain something verbally over audio, than in written form.
Types of Image Led Content
There are some people who prefer to look at pictures than read words.
You can build an entire piece of content with amazing illustrations that also carry an important message.
This type of content is also very shareable on most types of social media and easy for bloggers/influencers to host on their sites.
The same applies to photos. Everyone likes a nice photo. And there’s a massive community of people who would count photography as one of, if not their main hobby.
GIFs are highly compressed images that usually allow up to 8 bits per pixel for each image. They are essentially moving images.
Although cinemagraphs can be published as GIFs, they are slightly different in that they are static photographs in which a minor movement repeatedly occurs.
4. Image Transition Sliders
Image transition sliders are a great opportunity to display two versions of the same picture – allowing the user to compare the two by sliding from side to side.
Memes are commonplace on the internet these days.
In fact, if you’re on social media, it’s a fair bet that you won’t need to scroll for long down your timeline or Twitter feed before you’re confronted with a meme.
But for those unfamiliar with the term, memes are images with a text catchphrase displayed over them. Some are funnier than others…
Types of Presentations
1. Slideshare Decks
A slideshare deck is essentially a slideshow, like the type you would create in PowerPoint, except its embedded into a webpage so anyone can scroll through.
These are online leaflets or reports filled with educational or informative things that can benefit the end user.
They can be made available as free downloads or even as part of an email sign-up transaction. The latter of which can make for a useful inbound marketing strategy.
A webinar is essentially a communal seminar conducted online.
It is usually conducted by one person who leads a discussion or tutorial to several other connecting users who can all individually engage with the presentation from their respective locations.
I hope you’ve liked the list. If you have any other suggestions, or if there’s any formats that have been particularly successful for you, leave us a note in the comments below.