101 Types of Digital Marketing Content (and counting…)
Quality digital creative marketing content is what drives business on the internet. It is what people search for, learn from, entertain themselves with, or lead them to purchase products or services.
Now for a short history of content marketing.
Most people associate content marketing with the publishing of marketing content online. And in the current world, this is exactly what most marketing is.
The actual definition of content marketing is much wider, however. It was developed more than 100 years ago and extends over both digital and traditional publishing mediums.
History lesson complete.
There are a multitude of forms in which you can produce digital content. The list below is meant as a kick-start to your own ideas for your business marketing.
To be most effective, you should create marketing content with a particular purpose or goal in mind. The outcome you seek for your business or project will influence the type of content you should produce.
The Purposes of Marketing Content
When deciding to create some content for your business marketing, you should begin with a clear idea of why. What do you want to achieve from this? Do you want customers to take a specific action or is it for more general education or branding?
A typical variety of reasons that a business may want to create marketing content are to;
Build awareness of the business. This can be products, services, people or more brand awareness for your business as a whole.
Build trust in your business. Almost all content should aim at this, even if you produce it for other purposes as well. Trust in your business or brand will be a major factor in any purchasing decision.
Educate your audience. Education can be about what you offer, how you go about business, or what you believe in.
Persuade your customers. Convince them that your product, service or business is the one to use. Persuasion is very closely related to the next item on the list.
Convert your customers. Conversion often means making the sale, but not always. It can alternatively involve convincing the user to take other actions such as joining a newsletter or even simply clicking a link.
Support and retain existing customers.
Create thought leadership.
Provide product information.
Our Digital Marketing Content List
In terms of ordering our list, we settled on a good, old-fashioned alphabetical method. As there are so many forms that digital marketing content can take, and the lines can blur at times, we thought this was the most straightforward.
Please note also that some of these content types can overlap with each other. For example, photography can be a component of a number of some content types, or it can be an element in its own right.
And now to the list.
Advertising is still a very effective way of getting people to see your products or services. Advertisements themselves can be created in various formats from web banners to videos. Some businesses even create entire microsites as advertisements.
Ask Me Anything
Ask me anything is a little like an open interview format as part of a forum or community. It can be a great opportunity to interact with a larger group of people whilst retaining an intimate feel. These can also promote thought leadership and build your brand.
Publishing marketing content as audio posts instead of written articles opens up opportunities for reaching an extended audience. Additionally, there is subject matter which may fit more readily with audio than as a standard style post.
Content type audio posts and podcasts
Creating a post or page on your website highlighting any awards you may have received is outstanding for building trust. A third party has considered your business worthy enough to receive the award. It is a bit like a testimonial but even better. And if you are really feeling inspired, you could create your own awards to give to other businesses.
Creating a post on best practice is an effective way to show thought leadership at the same time as growing readership. People are always looking for ways to do things better and are interested in content that shows them how. Create the content that people turn to.
Blogs may be considered a bit of a cheat here as they can consist of many of the other content types also in this list. But it’s my list so I am going to anyway. Blogs are a primary tool for publishing information online, and if you don’t have one you are missing out.
Book reviews are easy content. Write reviews on recently released books which are suitable for your industry. Always be honest in your opinions, but explain why you have those opinions. This is what your audience members are most likely to be interested in.
Printing a brochure used to be a standard way of marketing your business. Creating a digital brochure is still an excellent method of promotion. They are a concise overview of your business and what you can offer, whilst being easy to control the layout and design.
Digital brochures would typically be output as PDF files, so are very simple to email or download.
Browser extensions are small software programs that add extra functionality to a web browser. Whilst more costly to develop than other forms of digital content, they provide more direct access to customers. Browser extensions can work well under the right circumstances.
Providing an online calculator can be a big drawcard for potential customers. There are many examples such as measurement conversion calculators, mortgage calculators or scientific calculators.
If your industry involves any form of calculation that can benefit the consumer, these are worthy of your consideration.
An oldie but a goody for producing marketing content. Case studies highlight your business capabilities and success stories to your audience at the same time as giving a plug to your own clients. Case studies are also relatively easy to convert into more traditional brochures or flyers.
Catalog / Catalogue
Catalogues are a great method for allowing buyers to access a wide range of your products quickly and easily. They can work well for both online and offline. It is possible to produce catalogues as PDFs for download or make them available in print versions for direct marketing.
Live chat rooms can facilitate an easy and relaxed engagement with a group of people. By using targeted chat rooms you also get the chance to display knowledge and expertise in your chosen areas.
Checklists are great content. Producing checklists that can help your audience is a good way to get plenty of shares. And of course, those checklists all have your branding on them, don’t they?
Working together with other online businesses, bloggers, photographers or content producers can be a fabulous way of creating content. Collaboration with other professionals can add depth to your content by adding differing points of view or subject matter. Additionally, collaboration can deliver more content than you would be able to easily produce yourself, alone.
Comics and Cartoons
Comics and cartoons provide an illustrative method for delivery of a story or subject matter. Combining written and visual material makes the content much more entertaining and memorable for your audience. Whilst not a business marketing content style for everyone, cartoons and comic strips can create impact for the right situation.
Commenting on other blogs can be a way to be noticed by a larger readership. Leaving intelligent comments promotes discussion and shows viewers that you may be someone whose material is worth following.
Displaying company goals lets your audience know what you believe in, and where you are heading. Goals are normally shown on the company website though may also be included in newsletters or social media profiles.
Company Industry News
Keep people informed with updates about your company. You can also include interesting news about the wider industry your business is involved with. This provides your readers with a context of the industry as well as your company’s place in it.
Product or service comparisons are an excellent form of digital marketing content to help potential buyers make a purchasing decision. The comparisons can be between your products and a competitor’s, or between different versions of your own products. This in-house style of comparison works especially well with different levels of services, being able to highlight the features of each level.
If you want to draw a crowd, why not host a competition? Just make sure that it is something people will want, and ideally is related to your business. Competitions are a good way to gain notice and have people provide you with their contact details.
A content library is a collection of any of the other content types on this list, based around specific subject matter. Content libraries can be incredible resources that people return to time and again. If the content is particularly valuable to the end user, it may even be possible to charge a subscription for it.
Many consumers are looking for pricing when they visit a business website. Providing this information online is one way of reducing the number of barriers for a potential buyer to make a purchasing decision.
Sometimes pricing information does not easily fit on a web-page, or you do not wish it to be on your website. In this circumstance, it is still possible to produce well laid out cost sheets that can be easily emailed to interested customers.
A countdown is an entertaining method of showing the reducing amount of time until an upcoming event or occurrence. They are an excellent way of building excitement or expectation around an event or highlighting a new product or feature in advance of its launch.
Online courses are obviously educational content. A course can be made up of a combination of written, visual and audio-visual content types. They are focused on teaching specific skills and knowledge. Courses can also be multi-segmented, meaning that large amounts of subject matter can be broken up into easily absorbed chunks, but then linked together.
Depending on how valuable those skills and knowledge elements are, online courses can be offered as paid or member-only access.
Making data sheets available is almost a necessity for complex products or those with many variations. Datasheets allow the customer to view important information in a structured and logical way.
When people look to purchase a new product online, many like to see the product in operation before buying. Being able to show a demonstration, either through video or a blog post with images is a perfect way to convert the viewer to a buyer.
eBooks don’t need to be War and Peace but should have a reasonable amount of content included in them. They can be given away as an incentive for potential customers to take action, such as join up with a newsletter. They can even be sold as a product if they contain enough valuable information for the buyer, though typically ebooks are thinner than a traditional print book.
People are always looking for information on performing specific tasks. Providing your audience with “how-to” educational content is an effective way of opening a customer up to what else your business is able to offer.
Educational content can be delivered by way of written article, videos, downloadable instructions or other formats.
If anyone says to you “email is dead”, don’t listen to them. Email newsletters or email, in general, is still a highly effective way of communicating with your customers. When done appropriately and ethically, email has good engagement and response rates. And email newsletters are a great way of consistently letting your customers know about new products, services, or content available.
Events can be your own, industry events, or general events. Providing event information is a good way of spreading the word about particular events, as well as delivering information that is useful to your audience. Even better if you are hosting your own event.
Facts and Statistics
People love facts and statistics; short little snippets of information that are easy to remember. Collect a bunch of these and you have yourself a nice blog post. Individually they can work well as short social media marketing posts for platforms such as Twitter or Facebook.
For people usually wanting to engage with a younger crowd, consider setting up a fan page. You can post information and updates about a favourite star, band, movie or game.
Frequently Asked Questions pages are ideal for saving yourself plenty of time. By providing a page which contains answers to the most commonly asked questions you are removing potential hurdles to customer action.
Feature guides are a vital tool for marketing and selling a product or service. Letting your audience know what your product or service has to offer is the first step in convincing them to buy. Feature guides can be self-contained documents or can be part of an online product listing.
Hosting a forum can be a powerful way of building a community around a particular industry or idea. They are a great way for a larger group of people to ask and answers questions across a range of subject matter. They are also good for prompting a cross-section of opinions rather than a single point-of-view.
Everybody loves free resources. These can be how-to guides, downloadable content, or any other information provide free-of-cost.
Computer games are an entire industry worth of digital content unto themselves. Games can be extremely simple programs through to cinematic-like experiences. They are normally a pure form of entertainment, however occasionally can be worked into business activities.
Gamification is a method of promoting customer loyalty by adding game-like functions into the interaction between the business and customer. A simple example is the addition of points awarded for customer interactions with a business website. Promotions are typically gained when certain point levels are reached.
Giveaways / Free Stuff
Having free stuff to giveaway is a good way to draw in potential customers. The giveaways do not even need to be a physical product. Digital content such as ebooks and whitepapers can achieve similar goals for the right audience.
A glossary is like a dictionary. Most industries have a level of jargon or specialist terms that can be somewhat confusing to those on the outside. A glossary is excellent for educating people about specific terminology used and its context within an industry. This can help lead people to a greater understanding of related subject matter.
Guest blogging involves writing articles to publish on other people’s blog sites or websites. Whilst this isn’t as useful for SEO strategy as it used to be, it is still a great way to gain exposure to an audience you wouldn’t normally have. Additionally, having a guest blogger on your own website is a great way for publishing more content without the hard work of writing it yourself.
Providing a how-to guide is an excellent way to show your buyers how to set up or use your product. They show your customers that support for your product or service goes beyond the point of purchase, which is a great way to build trust in your business.
Like photographs, illustrations can be used to capture interest, help people visualise a concept, or simply to entertain. Illustration seems to be making a comeback and can be extremely powerful when used for the right purposes. Illustrations can also be the traditional hand-drawn style or modern digital renderings of a subject.
Content type digital illustrations and graphical 3D rendering
Infographics are an exceptional tool for displaying data and information in a visually appealing way. An infographic can be posted on its own or combined with a more detailed explanation of the data it contains.
Instagram is one of the big social media platforms. If you’re your business produces visual marketing materials for its products or services, Instagram is a great place to post it. You can generate interest and promote sharing of what your business offers.
Interesting facts can be gathered about almost any subject or topic. They can be used to create informative articles for your audience, or drip posted over time through social media.
Typically an interview will be a one-on-one question and answer session between the interviewer and the subject. The best interviews are held with people who are well-known or experts in their field who have relevant information or stories to share with the audience. They can be aimed at covering specific subjects or learning more about the interview subject themselves.
Dedicated landing pages provide a focused introduction to a select area of your business. You can persuade customers to take action through the use of language particularly suited to that single business area. Additionally, because a landing page targets visitors so specifically it becomes easier to gauge its overall success.
Creating lists is a simple way to give readers a wider view of any particular subject matter. Lists can be made for almost any topic. A few examples are;
A list of different software programs that provide a specific range of functionality.
Lists of the top restaurants in a given area.
A reading list of the top books to read this year.
100 types of digital marketing content.
You get the idea.
When you want to share live events with your customers, setting up live streaming should definitely be an option. This involves creating a live video feed of the event that audience members can view online. This broadens your potential audience well beyond only those who can physically attend the event. This works great for sports and corporate events, but also for educational programs or interviews.
Whilst involving a bit more work than many of the others on this list, creating an online magazine can be very rewarding. Magazines work well when your business has a lot of content to share. They help promote your business as a thought leader.
Magazines can also be enterprises in themselves, by delivering content that people are seeking and either selling advertising or charging a subscription. Creating magazines also lends itself to easily delivering both physical and digital versions that can target different readerships.
Any website for a bricks & mortar business should have a map. Maps make it easy for potential customers to find your store or location.
A business should be (in most cases) proud of its media mentions. Dedicate a page on your website to display them, or post them on social media. Media mentions spotlight the fact that your business is a known entity and help to build further trust.
Whilst meetups themselves are typically offline (in real space) their promotion can be published through multiple mediums such as websites or social media. There are even websites wholly devoted to alerting people to meetups happening in their area.
Memes (pronounced ‘meems’) are mostly humorous and can be an excellent way to get content shares. They usually contain a small amount of written matter with an image. They are designed to be quickly spread and shared. Create a meme based on your specialty topic.
Whilst videos have been around a growing in popularity for a number of years, micro videos have had a recent surge of interest. They are generally considered to be less than 15 seconds long (though this can be stretched).
Micro videos are aimed at providing short snippets of information just like reading an overview, or scanning a page of written content does. Micro videos can be very effective at highlighting a single important feature of a product or service.
Microsites are effectively miniature websites created for specific purposes, such as a particular promotion or a competition. Creation of microsites is important as they allow you separation from your main website. Therefore they allow the potential to try things that may not quite fit with your primary branding. They can also be easily closed down after the campaign or promotion have finished.
Mind maps are useful tools for gathering ideas and planning for projects. Sharing your mindmaps online provide your audience with insight into your business, displaying a level of transparency that helps to build trust.
Developing a mobile app can be a challenging process, however, they also provide your customers with direct access to your business. No longer will they need to use search engines or hunt for information.
Whilst a little more niche than other items on this list, music videos are very effective under the right circumstances. The obvious type of business to use these for would be music related. Music videos, however, can also work with jingles or advertising music produced for other industries.
Everybody likes to hear about new releases. New products, new services, new features. Tech companies are masters at this form of content. Apple especially even gets news coverage for what is really just product marketing. If your business has something new on offer, create some content around it.
Opinions / Rants
Personal opinions are terrific for prompting discussion on a particular topic. Because they are opinions, they allow a certain freedom of expression, however, you should take care not to abuse this format too often.
Creating a personal biography should be one of the first items on your list when starting a business. Your bio will be used for social media profiles or on your website. Personal bios are even used when making comments or posts across any number of forums or other mediums. Your bio should have some information about yourself relevant to the business as well as a good quality photo or image.
Including a personal story in a post is a nice way to engage with your audience. Storytelling seems to be hard-wired into the human brain and is often easier to remember than a straight block of information. Keep a small diary with story ideas that can be used in your blogs and posts.
Social media profiles are essential to complete and get right if you intend to use any given platform. Ensuring that suitable information is added to your profiles sets the foundation for further marketing efforts.
The use of persuasive content in marketing is almost a pre-requisite for successful sales. Persuasive content can be published within any number of differing digital forms, such as articles, product descriptions, or sales brochures. The key to producing good persuasive content is to understand the benefits your product or service offers to customers.
Whilst photo galleries may initially seem to be the same as the Photography item below, as marketing content they can serve quite a different purpose. Photographic galleries tell a wider story than a single or small set of images can. They are superb for showing an overview of an entire business or project. They are great to highlight the consistency and professionalism of a business.
Photography is such a large and varied form of marketing content that it needs its own post. Commercial photography for business can be used in a multitude of ways. Products, lifestyle, architecture, conceptual, events, portraits; the list goes on.
Additionally, commercial photography can be used as an element of other types of digital content. It can be combined with existing content such as images in an ebook or brochure, on web pages or social media posts, for presentations or products.
Content type professional photography
A pitch package is a collection of content and information put together for the purposes of sending to influencers. Influencer marketing involves approaching industry heavyweights about supporting your product or service. The pitch packs goal is to show the influencer what your business offers and to convince them to be a part of it.
Plugins are software programs that add functionality to your website. These can be functions as simple as adding a favicon to your site through to adding an entire ecommerce suite. Writing a plugin is definitely not for everyone, however, can be a potent marketing tool in the right circumstances.
Podcasts are an audio format style of content. They are an interesting alternative or addition to your standard marketing content such as blogs and posts.
Podcasts can be developed from your existing content but can reach a different audience. They are perfect for listening to during a commute, or to give your eyes a break from reading. Podcasts are often produced as a series or ongoing production, like a radio program.
A poll is a quick, simple question asking your audience their opinions on a given topic. Polls can be a great way to get shares, as once people answer, they will often want to share with friends.
Consider making a poster when you have very strong visual content. Posters are good for getting the idea across with as little amount of text as possible. Obviously they still also translate offline very well.
Presentations can be a combination of different media formats designed to present a product, service, idea or even a business itself. It is possible to blend video, design, infographics, photography, music and written text. All of these elements and more can be blended into a cohesive whole in order to make an effective presentation to potential customers.
When something exciting or newsworthy happens with your business, issuing a press release can be invaluable. If your press release is taken up by a media outlet it can mean considerable (and free) coverage for your business.
Offering your readers a pricing guide can help them make an informed purchasing decision. For example, if your product has a lower relative price to competitors, the price guide can compare only cost. However, if your product is more expensive, price guides are a compelling way to outline the features you offer that competitors don’t.
Consumers like to learn about new products when they become available. Product announcements are a simple excuse to converse with your customers and tell them all about the new stuff they might like. They are especially powerful for customers who have already shown interest in what you have to offer.
Promotional sites are websites that are set up for the purpose of a specific marketing campaign or promotion. In some ways they are a little like a landing page, but able to provide greater information and engagement due to their size. Promotional websites are typically supported by social media and paid advertising campaigns.
When you have content you believe is highly sought after or interesting to a particular audience, it may be worthwhile promoting that post. Promoted posts are content where you use paid advertising to gain a greater reach for your post. This can bring in new audience members or prompt a higher amount of sales.
Push notifications allow website visitors to sign up to receive notifications whenever you have new content. They are an alternative to email newsletters as a way of keeping in contact with your audience.
Question & Answer (Q&A)
Question & Answer posts are somewhat like an interview. Typically Q&As are shorter and more tightly focused than an interview, however. The Q&A shows the answers to a fixed set of questions. This can make an interesting comparison when multiple people are asked the same set of questions, but provide varying answers based on their personal experiences.
QR Codes are like barcodes with embedded information that can be read by your computer or smartphone app. They can be an effective way of getting people directly to your content. For example, a QR code could be printed on a postcard (or poster, or magazine, etc…) and can lead people directly to your website.
The internet is full of inspirational quotations. Adding a quotation to an article, or even creating a list of relevant quotes provides good shareable material. Similarly, quotes can make excellent content for social media posts.
Everyone loves a good recipe. Recipes are great where they have relevance to the business. After all, our biggest common shared experience is food. My personal rule is, however, don’t add a recipe just because you can’t think of anything better to write about.
Content type recipe writing and photography
Useful information is a highly sought after commodity. If you have investigated a particular subject in depth, make your research available for online viewing. This can be a great way of gaining audience numbers as well as showing thought leadership and expertise.
Setting up a review system is an outstanding way of getting interaction with your customers. Reviews provide a path for receiving testimonials and feedback as well as building trust. Your response to online reviews also provides an avenue for management of your business reputation.
Screencasts are a video recording of your computer screen, usually recorded as you are showing a particular computer process. A screencast typically includes voice-over narration describing what you are doing on the screen. Well produced screencasts are excellent for showing functionality or processes for software to customers.
Screenshots are an image capture of whatever is displayed on your monitor. They are useful to add to how-to guides for online products or services as they visual support or explain the written material.
If you like someone else’s content or think it has relevance to your audience, share it. Shared content is what the internet is built for, and platforms such as Pinterest and Twitter thrive on it.
Slideshares are a form of multimedia content that is similar to Microsoft Powerpoint presentations. They allow you to make slides that can include visual, text, design, video and audio content. Series of slides are typically created in order to explain your chosen subject. You can then share these on the Slideshare platform.
In the current day-and-age, social media is pervasive. Platforms such as Linkedin, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram total billions of users around the world. Creating digital marketing content for social media is now a necessary part of getting your business message across. Luckily, many of the other marketing content types on this list can be posted to, or repurposed for social media.
If your business sponsors any charities, local organisations or a worthy cause, share these with your audience. Not only are you showing that you are socially conscious; you are also promoting those causes that you support financially.
People like to hear about business success stories. As mentioned in the Personal Stories item, storytelling is easy to retain in memory. Success stories provide your business with the opportunity to tell consumers about some of the great work you did, and how your customers benefitted from it.
Publishing a survey is an excellent way of gathering information from your audience. A survey is typically longer form than a poll but provides more in-depth coverage of a topic. They can also be a good way to determine what content your audience would like to hear more about. By getting buy-in from your readers you are more likely to have them share content.
Tear sheets are selected sections of a magazine, newspaper or other similar content that show an example of the published content. Before it was normal to display such work in a digital format, these sections were literally a sample torn out of or photographed from, the published medium. A very popular marketing method for photographers, graphic designers or advertisers to show examples of their work in print.
Offering templates is a nice way of helping your audience to get active with their own projects. Templates provide a starting point for many tasks. For example, you could provide templates for social media posts that display at the correct sizes. Or you can supply email templates that provide an initial basic script. Quality templates are a good foundation to begin building your own content around.
Testimonials / Endorsements
Testimonials are a tried-and-true method for marketing your business. Including testimonials or endorsements on your website or profile are a potent method of persuading potential customers of your trustworthiness. Rather than you telling your audience how good you are, other real people are telling your audience how good you are. Works a treat!
People want to know what the future may hold. Trend reports provide insight into future business opportunities and possibilities. By looking at what has happened in the past and understanding the direction events are taking it is possible to get ahead of the game.
For some businesses, user-generated content can be excellent for building community and customer engagement. Publishing a user’s own experience with a product or service acts as both educational content and a potent testimonial.
The gaming industry, in particular, is an excellent example for large amounts of user-generated content.
Video content is becoming more and more common. Similarly to photography, video could have a whole range of posts written about it. Video marketing content can come in the form of interviews, timelapse, how-to videos, business promotional videos and more.
Additionally video content can vary widely in production value from fully professional through to short video snippets captured on a smartphone. Each has its place in your content marketing repertoire.
Hosting a webinar is an excellent way of sharing your skills and knowledge with an audience. Not only do they show thought leadership and build trust, but they allow direct and immediate engagement with audience members.
Website and Web Pages
An attractive and functional business website should be at the centre of your business marketing strategy. Even if your website is a simple About Us page, it gives potential customers the ability to find you online and gather some information (does anyone still use the Yellow Pages?).
Beyond such simple sites, there is the ability to deliver information, entertain, persuade, sell and support your customers. Your own website provides all this on a platform that you have control over.
If you have selections of written content such as technical information or case studies, white papers can be a good way to present them. Often provided as PDF files for download, white papers allow you to deliver useful information in an easy way.
Additionally, more lengthy and valuable white papers are great marketing content that can be offered as an incentive. They can prompt potential customers to join a newsletter or take some other action on your website.
If your website has a lot of information to disperse on a given subject it may be useful to create a Wikipedia. Wikis provide opportunities for large amounts of subject matter, user-generated content and good cross-linking and commenting. Wikis are often used in the gaming and entertainment industries.
Worksheets are like a self-contained lesson. They can contain explainations and examples of the subject matter as well as questions or quizzes. If your organisation has anything to do with education, including interactive worksheets could be a way to go. Of course, you can also produce a more standard style worksheet and publish as a PDF file.
What Types of Marketing Content Are Missing?
This list is in no way meant to be comprehensive. There are always fresh and innovative ways to produce digital content for your content marketing.
Let us know if you think any important ones are missing.
Ben learned many of his lessons as a visual communicator in the dark, old days of film, but loves the opportunities and potential of applying his experience with the technologies that have emerged in the digital age. His breadth of knowledge and experience from web development to search and social allow him to lead his team in providing a holistic and comprehensive service to clients.
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