Content marketing comes in many formats. From eBooks and white papers to infographics and listicles, it can be hard to figure out which one works best.
Any content marketing strategy will always involve a mix of different approaches, each one appropriate to the message you're trying to get across.
Here are 3 useful and effective content formats, and when to use them.
A how-to guide is a practical, often step-by-step guide to a topic. It allows you to walk your reader through a product, service or process to make sure they arrive at the right end result.
When to use them: they’re great for demonstrating your experience or for making a complicated process seem easy. Perception of ease is a powerful nudge, and the easier you make a process seem, the more likely your users are to complete it.
Who does them well? The big DIY stores like B&Q and Homebase do – they know not everyone can grout a bathroom, lay a wooden floor or wallpaper a ceiling, so they make the process seem easy. It encourages you to try it yourself and of course by all the hardware you need from them.
These are ideal if you have a story to tell. You can break up long copy into manageable chunks and let your reader skip to the section they’re most interested in.
When to use them: many brands struggle when it comes to explaining their (or their product’s) heritage – these are often formatted as long blocks of copy that can be hard to scan read. Timelines are perfect here and help you keep the copy bite-sized and manageable.
Who does them well? John Lewis created a timeline to celebrate its 100th birthday. It’s broken up by decade making it easy to skip to the section you want, plus the short copy makes it great on mobile and tablet too.
A back-to-basics look at a topics these are a good introduction for users who might not be familiar with the subject.
When to use them: they’re great for complicated subjects and you’ll find many good examples in financial services. It’s a format with legs too – you can use it to give a general overview of the subject and then link off to more detailed guides on specific sections.
Who does them well? Nationwide’s money guides are a good example of how you can give a novice a broad overview of a topic and allow them to dig deeper and find out more.
That’s just three formats you can use. We’ve seen plenty more from ‘Ask the experts’ right through to ‘Recipe for success’. In fact, anything can be made into a format provided it’s repeatable and gets your message across to the reader.