16 Popular and Effective Content Formats

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There are several different content formats that you can choose from. Any of them can be effective depending on the situation. Some are better than others depending on what you are trying to accomplish. But here is an overview:

Content Options

Blog Post: I don’t think this one needs much explanation. Blog posts are normally text-based but can also be video, audio or image (in form of infogrpahic – see below). You can also do a combination of formats – for example a video post with a text transcript.

Report/eBook: This is often what you see being given away in exchange for contact information. Providing a great, value-packed report/eBook is a great way to get off on the right foot in terms of customer interaction.

More involved eBooks can be sold. Prices can vary from a few dollars to hundreds of dollars.

White Paper: White papers are more authoritative and technical than regular reports. They are generally less personal as well.

A white paper is a report that helps solve a problem. Many governments use white papers to form policies and all that “good” stuff.

Case Studies: A case study can really be put into any type of content format. Case studies are great because they provide real life examples to show how something works (and that it actually works).

Newsletter: A newsletter is usually sent through email. Newsletters are great because you can keep your customer list up to date and provide continuous value. You also have the option to personalize your newsletter mailings, adding a personal touch to your interaction.

Press Release: Press releases are a written news updates, usually written in third person, that promote your website, product or service.

Kindle: Kindle use is on the rise. Creating written content for the Kindle is free, and with a little bit of extra effort you can expose yourself to a new market segment.

Physical Content: Going old school is always an option. You can publish physical books, reports or newsletters. You can also put them on USB drives, CDs or MP3 players and send them out. The physical aspect of the content adds extra perceived value.

Interview: Interviews can come in text, video or audio formats. There are probably established experts or influencers in whatever industry you are in. Interviewing them can provide great value for your audience (as well as social proof for yourself).

Podcast: The popularity of iPods and iPhones makes Podcasts a very effective content option. Recording audio content and providing it on iTunes gives you exposure to a potentially huge audience using the platform.

“Talking Head” Video: This is a simple video of yourself (or someone else) talking to the camera. This provides for a more personal touch than just written text because people can actually see you – a real person – talking to them.

Presentation: A power point presentation can be a great way to organize and deliver your content to the audience. You can share it by putting your slides into a PDF report, share your presentation through a webinar or video, or just share your slides on a website like Slideshare.

Infographics: Infographics have gained a lot of popularity lately. Infographics tell a visual story through pictures, graphs and data. For some people it is easier to digest information visually, so infographics can be very effective for some of your audience members.

In-content Images: Using images to supplement you written content is often a good idea. It brings more life to the content, and a well-chosen, properly placed image can add a lot of value.

Webinars: A webinar is simply a seminar that is conducted on the web. A webinar usually combines a visual aspect (often times a power point slide presentation) with audio (someone narrating the presentation). This gives a class-room feel to the content. People that sign up are generally interested in the topic, so if you provide good information you will have their undivided attention.

Add Your Own: Get creative. Any way you can transmit information can potentially be a successful content format for your strategy.

Note: It is not necessary to create new content from scratch continuously. Having a list of formats to choose from also provides us with the ability to repurpose existing content and bring new life to it. For example – turn several blog posts into a slide show presentation, which you can then use for a webinar.

With so many variables, and so many options, it is easy to lose sight of what you are trying to accomplish and why you are creating content to begin with.

To stay on course, we need a strategy. Check out the entire Content Strategy 101 series

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