Content is the lifeblood of the internet, without it, it would be like a library without books… Not much fun and certainly no learning points! I cannot imagine the internet without content, can you? If you’re planning on marketing your business online and using social media then you need to work out which types of content will suit your content marketing plan.
There are four common types of content that are presented on the internet:
- Graphics (including infographics, charts, photos, cartoons and images)
- Video (including video scribes, powerpoint / screencasts and animations)
- Audio (including audiobooks, podcasts, and radio)
- And my favourite, text.
Each of the four common types of content has drawbacks, and of course benefits
Text based content
From the humble status update to the Tweet, text based content is everywhere online. Almost every website uses text, although you’ll find there are some that use Flash, although it’s rarer now. Text-based content is incredibly search engine friendly making it very easy for readers and searchers to access. It’s much easier to create text content. You don’t need video recorders or microphones or expensive graphic / software editing programs. You just need to type. It could be argued that you also need to be able to string a sentence together, but out of all the content types mentioned here, this is the fastest and easiest to learn.
Everyone loves an infographic. Infographics are a powerful way of generating links, traffic and social shares. Infographics or “information graphics” are visual representations of information or complex data. One of the major benefits of infographics is that the data is easily transportable, as well as easy to read and understand. Infographics can make the dullest of topics more exciting. But that’s not the only type of graphic on the web, quotes are often added to images and then shared on Facebook and Pinterest.
I recently had a writing infographic created and it broke the 1k repin barrier. Pinterest can send you a steady stream of targeted traffic and if images feature in your content marketing plan, so should Pinterest and sites like We Heart It and Gentlemint. Magazines have brainwashed us for a long time that text on an image is perfectly acceptable, to be expected even.
Using a tool like Canva, you can easily create strong images to share and spread your message. Cartoons are also very popular when it comes to images. Bitstrips, a Facebook application for “cartoonizing” the user, is popular, and those images are now drifting across to Twitter and appearing in blog posts.
Visual Memes such as grumpy cat and my personal favourite Doge (I’ll pronounce it the European way, I refuse to say Doge as Doggie), readily transport a message quickly across social media. Visual Memes are like Marmite, you’ll love them or you’ll hate them, but at some point you will share one. Using graphics to tell a story is powerful, and can deeply resonate with the viewer. What’s more they can be blended with other types of content and continue the message or theme of the content.
Video is a powerful way of connecting with your reader or viewer. Any topic can be turned into an informational video, high tech products, and concepts can be demonstrated and funny content, interesting content and even personal content can be easily created and shared. Next to images, video is the second easiest type of content to share.
With YouTube now integrated with Google Plus, every video has the potential to go viral. However, you don’t need many views to reach your content marketing goals with video. My 8 year old daughter has her own (supervised by mummy, and in mummy’s name) You Tube Channel. One of her videos has just 47 views, and she’s won a web commercial (paid) on the strength of it.
Garth Delikan, fitness and motivation expert has just 33 videos. Some with 20 views and some with 300 views. Just by being active on You Tube, Garth secured a place on a reality TV show, which in turn lead to a radio show and many other opportunities. European estate agent Graham Hunt regularly wins business with his 100 reasons to live in Spain video playlist. With over 500 videos of property, of Graham driving and enjoying the sunshine, you’ll be persuaded to give him a call if you want to buy or sell a property in Valencia.
The biggest downside to video is the time it takes. You need to shoot, edit and render the video. The learning curve may be steeper if you are not technical, and you may have to invest in editing software and equipment, although it’s possible to create nice videos using your iPhone. Compared to writing an article video and audio take the longest to create, but get spectacular results with smaller numbers.
It’s said that Apple revolutionised music when they created the iPod, that music became easily transportable. I’ll argue that digital music made audio more accessible, and the iPod just helped a little bit. Music has always been transportable from sheet music to the Sony Walkman. Audio downloads, MP3s, and podcasts are all easy ways to get your message over when someone has something else to do. Listeners can choose when to listen, and that makes it very convenient to learn something whilst at the gym, driving the school run or whilst working.
Audio books are incredibly convenient, and I often listen to audio books of an evening instead of watching TV. Sites like SoundCloud make it easy to embed audio into your blog posts and share on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. The downsides to audio, like video there’s equipment costs and then there’s the technical aspect for the listener, they have to know how to download it and add it to their listening devices.
I’ll admit that I’ve had to get my teenage daughter to import CDs into iTunes for me, although I will deny that my youngest daughter loaded the entire Sound of Music collection to my iPod, and I can’t get rid of it… Video, audio, text and graphics make up the majority of the internet, you can choose which type of content is right for your business to create and distribute.
Remember though, no matter what type of content you decide to create that it has to connect with your marketplace and target audience. There is nothing wrong with trying all four. In fact, I recommend that you do and that you see which type you enjoy creating the most, and how your audience responds.