Creating a steady stream of relevant and compelling content for your business can be challenging. Well-researched, helpful articles take time to write and edit and if you’re not working with a professional content marketing company, generating such a large ongoing volume of content can be overwhelming.
However, word-heavy articles are by no means the only type of content that should be part of your company’s content marketing plan. Web users are accustomed to variety and the more memorable ways you can connect your message with your audience, the better. Also, attention-grabbing content is more likely to be shared, which increases the number of people who are clicking on or linking back to your website.
Here are our ten favorite creative types of content that aren’t run-of-the mill articles:
1. Q&A Videos
Interview your company’s top brass or other experts in your field. Ask questions that your clients would want answered. Edit in a simple video-editing app like iMovie and post on your company blog. Keep each video short and sweet. If your video runs longer than three minutes (roughly the max threshold that users can handle before getting bored or deciding to come back later), break up your video into multiple parts and post each part as a piece of your ongoing content cycle.
Example: Startup Chat conducts regular Q&A video sessions through recorded Google Hangouts.
Infographics are a great way to convey information to people in new and interesting ways. This is your chance to get creative and stand out, especially if yours is an industry that isn’t generally perceived as particularly creative. Pick topics and data that your customers will be interested in and get creative with your infographic title. Work with a reputable design company to create branded infographics that tie back to your company’s aesthetic.
Example: Content management software Kapost creates great infographics targeting the struggles of marketers trying to manage content, as seen in their “The Climb to Content Marketing Software.”
Depending on your industry, maps (like infographics) are a fun and unique way to engage with your clients. For industries like travel or fitness, online branded maps of real places can help clients plan their trips or custom workout. However, consider creating a more fantastical map that and can allow your company to infuse your unique spin and attitude on content, such as a “Guide Map through the US Tax Code” or “How to Navigate this Year’s CES Conference.”
Example: Government consulting and software firm SEER by Galorath created a visual “map” explaining the rocky roll-out of Healthcare.gov.
4. Slide Shows/Presentations
Adapt your most successful industry presentations for your website. This is a great way to get your message across to your audience that doesn’t require much additional work on your part. Use a service like SlideShare to upload your presentation decks in their entirety. Be sure to redact any confidential or proprietary information that relates to your business or your clients.
Example: Marketing software provider KISSmetrics has a unique and popular ShareShare account addressing specific needs of marketers.
5. Before & After Photos
Before & After photos are unique and highly sharable content. They are also a good way to show the benefits of a change and promote the services your company offers that will enable said change. Even if you work in an industry that isn’t known as “creative,” don’t let that stop you from creating interesting Before & After topics. In finance that might be contrasting balance sheets; in contracting or construction, it might be pictures of a remodeled room or backyard space.
Example: A Bop Design website client, Revolution Landscape, features case studies on their website for commercial clients to better imagine pre- and post-landscaping projects.
Podcasts are fantastic ways to inject a more human element into your business. They’re also a good opportunity for promotion leading up to the broadcast. After your podcast’s initial air-date, store the audio file on your website and allow users to listen at their leisure.
Example: Accenture offers a variety of podcasts specific to certain industry needs.
7. White Papers
White papers are professional tools that contain educational content for your clients and should be a healthy part of your content marketing plan. You can reuse some of the articles from your blog posts to generate the content, so you don’t have to start from scratch. When including case studies in your white papers, be sure to remove any content or references that would compromise your clients’ anonymity. White papers can also be used as incentives to grow your mailing list. Offer a free promotional white paper in exchange for a user’s email address. It’s a fast, easy, and cost-free way to add more business contacts.
Example: Hubspot churns out a ton of regular white papers to not only educate their target market, but to generate leads.
eBooks take the depth of content deeper than white papers. They require further development, since they’re generally longer, but they lend themselves perfectly to your company’s unique branding and design process, and are an additional piece of content you can offer in exchange for a user’s contact information.
Example: SEO software provider Moz has two comprehensive eBooks/eGuides on their website.
9. Live Twitter Chats
If your business has a healthy Twitter following, engage your fans in a live Twitter chat at a pre-set time. You can lead up to the event with promotional Tweets and it’s a great way to answer questions in a live, real-time (albeit a 140 character) format.
Example: #Blogchat is a weekly Sunday night Twitter chat with the blog community to discuss trends and obstacles. Averaging 800 participants each chat, it shows that even a non-workday event can garner a lot of following if it’s valuable.
Valuable prizes can be a great way to entice your clients into spending more time online with your business. Offering a high-value prize can garner lots of interest, or even offering a gratis suite of services that your company provides can incentivize your clients into evangelizing for your business. Writing about the contest and profiling the winners (through writing, images, or video) are creative ways to flesh out your content marketing efforts.
Example: Twitter will partner with other professional services, such as Hubspot or MailChimp, to sell their new advertising options through an exclusive signup.
Your company’s content marketing plan should contain a variety of creative content types, not just basic articles. By mixing up your content offerings, you engage your clients while having more fun yourself.