Understanding Different Types of Content and Why Knowing Matters
Marketers are always talking about “content creation” and the importance of great content. But few stop to consider the different kinds of content a company can produce, and how they should differ from one another to make the biggest impact. While creating something engaging and relevant is important no matter where the content might end up, there are several ways to strategize the creation of this content depending upon the content's final medium.
There are three types of online content that are often grouped together when talking about content creation: guest contributor content, email marketing content and your blog content. The differences are subtle, but they are important.
Contributing guest content works well for gaining both visibility and promotion, and it has SEO benefits, too. In general, a company's writers contribute to different websites in order to earn backlinks. In my case, I write an average of four articles per day and keep these tips in mind:
- Utilize Best Practices. You don’t always know who is going to be reading your post. You might write an article for a particular site, but if that site doesn’t get back to you, you have to send the article somewhere else. This means that you always want to have articles that are written in clear blog style (bullet points, subheadings, etc.). In other words, don’t write a 2,000-word, detailed article if you’re not sure where it’s going.
- Keep it Short. Content you’re going to put on other sites is usually shorter. This is not to say that the content shouldn’t be high quality, but in general it’s OK to plan for the content to be on the shorter side.
In most cases, email marketing deals with segmenting your audience and sending personalized messages. There are two main characteristics of this type of content:
- Brevity. Your content should be brief (very brief, in fact), but you still want it to be detailed and clear. This means you should have no more than a few sentences explaining your point. And don't be repetitive; if you said something in your title or subject, don’t say it again in the email.
- Call to Action. Tell readers what to do next in one or two sentences because you don’t have an entire article to do it.
Your (Or Your Company's) Blog
Content on your blog should differ from content on a third party source or content found in an email message because it is something that your direct traffic sees. There are a few things to keep in mind when creating this type of blog content:
- Be Thorough and Detailed. This is where you want your best content. The idea of content on a different site (such as the guest posts you have written) is to entice people to link back to the content on your site. Therefore, the content on your site needs to be extremely well written and unique. Put your best ideas and topics on your blog.
- Use Screenshots in Your How-To's. Readers love to see walkthroughs using screenshots in how-to articles, but it's risky to send this type of material to a third-party source. It's hard to know if your guest contribution will be formatted exactly right. That's why your blog is the perfect place to add screenshots to how-to articles. On your blog, you’re in control of the placement and formatting.
- Tell Personal Stories and Share Expert Advice. You want this kind of content on your own blog. People respond well to this content, and it’s an easy way to engage your audience and let them know who they're speaking with should they choose to contact you.
How do you think the three types of content differ? Are there certain things you like to add in one type of article and not another? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Amanda DiSilvestro gives small business and entrepreneurs SEO advice ranging from keyword density to recovering from Panda and Penguin updates. She writes for HigherVisibility SEO, a nationally recognized SEO consulting firm that offers online marketing services to a wide range of companies across the country. Connect with Higher Visibility on Google+ and Twitter to learn more!