Content Types to Rule the Web in 2017
- Apr 21st, 2017
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Even though content marketing stays one of the hottest marketing strategies out there, we already face something called content overload. Brands quickly adjusted to new reality and began to produce tonnes of content. So now there’s just too much of it on the web.
But we keep creating, which means that it gets harder and harder for marketers to keep users engaged and convince them to convert. It’s especially true for saturated niches like marketing, design, and blogging.
So to stay on top of the situation, you need to work on the content that has best chances of being noticed. And in this post, I’ll go over content types to consider in 2017.
There’s no way around it – video content is here to stay. And I’m not only talking about webinars. Every business with a decent online presence feels obliged to have a promotional video or maybe even a video course on how to use their product.
There’s this sentiment that video content has to be pricey in production and take up a tonne of time. And it can be true but doesn’t have to.
For example, recording a webinar or an interview with a micro-influencer in your field takes no more effort than writing a blog post. Here are the preparation steps:
As a result, you get at least a half hour long video which belongs to your brand, and which you can later re-purpose.
Here’s what you can do with it:
All of these are better than just writing a post on a boring topic because video content gives your brand a human face, makes you more relatable, and accessible.
As an alternative for more courageous creators, you can live stream. It can be super stressful (especially if no one shows up) but can also be rewarding because you get a chance to interact with your audience live, ask them the real questions and give them the real answers.
No need to hide behind corporate words. Just talk to your audience directly, show them your face and let them hear your voice.
Visual content is what you call to the rescue when you need to liven up some rather boring piece. But you can also use it separately. For example, create an infographic.
I know, I know, everybody’s sick and tired of those. But for less noisy niches they still work. Plus, it has never been easier to create infographics, now that we have free tools like Canva. So if you feel like it’ll be the best way to broadcast your message – go ahead.
The simplest and cheapest type of visual content has got to be the good old screenshot. You can use free tools like Lightshot, FastStone or even Clip for Evernote to edit and customise your screenshots on the go. And no matter how simple a screenshot is, it’s still easier to show something once rather than explain it for several paragraphs.
Creating custom images and illustrations for your posts can be expensive and time-consuming. Unless of course, you can do it yourself. And I’m not an artist myself, but I noticed that people value originality and wit more than they care about the extreme level of sophistication in the imagery. For example, Enchanting Marketing, a blog by the brilliant Henneke who draws illustrations that appear on the blog itself:
And here’s Marketoonist, another example of how quality content and custom images can give sites a special feel and naturally attract leads, customers, and visitors.
I also can’t help but use our own example in this context. At Ahrefs we devote a lot of time to creating highest quality illustrations for our best posts. And I’ve got to say, they do get tonnes of compliments and shares.
To warn you, these aren’t for everyone. And if you’re running an old school law firm, don’t add a GIF from some rap song video to your blog posts. Chances are, your audience won’t appreciate it.
But if you feel like you know your people and they will enjoy some meta humour or reference – don’t hesitate. Worst case scenario – they won’t like it and you’ll erase it from your post.
These work especially well on social media. Most of all, because most social media posts’ lifetime is several hours and your blog post will be there for much longer. So the meme or a GIF will very soon lose relevancy and you’ll need to get rid of them.
Don’t you hate it when your whole Facebook feed consists of some people sharing tests like “What kind of dog you are?”. Everyone hates them. But they clearly work for the websites that post them. For example, here’s one of the most shared posts of the last several years: What Career Should You Have with over 22k shares.
I agree that BuzzFeed isn’t the best example of quality content, but this particular case tells us something about content creation – people love to interact with pages, click on things, take quizzes, polls and participate in tests.
So try to figure out a way to create some kind of interactive content to raise engagement on your pages. There’s plenty of software you could create free polls with. And if you stay relevant to your niche and find a common place for your audience – it should work like a charm.
You can also test it out on social media first, just to see how your visitors react to this kind of content.
Everyone was crazy about influencer roundups until recently. But honestly, have you read many roundups from start to finish? Even if the topic is interesting for you – roundup is just kind of a dull format which doesn’t have a simple structure and/or one idea that holds it together. And I’ll tell you more – influencers are tired of it too.
That is why Rand Fishkin advises trying something new. For example, contact a list of influencers and make a survey. Use the data you’ve collected in your very own research or study, which would be well-written and structured. This way you’d please your audience, search engines, and get the sweet social media shares from the stars in your niche.
You can also try and get them to take part in your webinar or simply feature them in your content. If you do a good enough job – they will be happy to share your work.
Another big thing that emerged in recent years are podcasts. Remember how we talked about content overload. Well, the podcast format seems like a good way to tap into customers’ free time.
Listening to a podcast takes the least effort, it can provide value, and it isn’t too hard to create.
I love listening to smart people discussing smart topics while I’m on a bus or walking my dog. So if you feel like you have something to share, try hosting a podcast. Invite guests, talk about what bothers you personally in your niche, take questions on social media or via email.
Even though audiences are overwhelmed with information which floods them from everywhere, there are still ways to win over their attention. Unfortunately, there’s no one size fits all content type. Otherwise, marketers would abuse it and break it 🙂 But you can take the advice I shared in this post and test things out to see what works best for you.