The 5 Most Effective Types of Online Content
It’s as easy to remember as your favourite nursery rhyme!
Every business owner knows that the secret to online success and being found by the right people is through effective content marketing. A quick Google search on “how to market my business online” will come back with hundreds of results on building a content marketing strategy.
When the marketplace is more competitive than ever and getting the attention of your audience takes more than a few carefully crafted videos, images and blog posts, how do you create effective content when it seems like everything has been done before?
First, let’s take a step back. If you’re new to marketing online, you may be wondering what is “content marketing”? Content Marketing “involves the creation and sharing of online material (such as videos, blogs, and social media posts) that does not explicitly promote a brand but is intended to stimulate interest in its products or services.” (Thank you Google Dictionary). The key takeaways here are, “does not explicitly promote a brand” and “intended to stimulate interest”.
Don’t be discouraged. Creating successful content can be as easy as reciting an old classic nursery rhyme - “Old MacDonald had a farm, E.I.E.I.OOOOOOOOO” (You sang that last part, didn’t you?)
Using the acronym ‘E.I.E.I.O’ will help you remember the 5 most effective types of online content:
Entertainment - Provides joy, excitement, humour or drama
Inspirational - Provides an emotional response which motivates or elicits action
Educational - Provides answers to questions through how to’s, guides, or instruction
Informational - Provides up to date news or information the person didn’t know before
Opinion - Sharing a personal/professional view
The sooner you treat your customers as people and not simply a number in your till, the sooner you will see success. People don’t want to be sold to, they want to be entertained.
Find ways to entertain your audience. Learn what they like and dislike and provide content that provides them with joy and excitement.
Entertaining content ideas:
Light hearted quizzes
A great way to entertain your audience is to pay attention to the weird and wacky “holidays” that happen throughout the year. What would happen if your entire office took part in “National Wear your Pajamas to Work Day” (April 16, in case you are wondering)? By planning in advance, you could use it as a fundraiser for a local charity and host inter-office games. You can share the experience as it happens throughout the day, follow-up afterward with a longer social post or create a “day in the life of” video. The options are endless.
A trend lately, especially on Instagram, is inspirational quotes. But, inspiring others is so much more than that, particularly when it comes to your content strategy. Inspirational content needs to move your audience in a way that elicits them to respond; this can be an emotional reaction or physical action.
Inspirational content ideas:
Examples of your work
Cause marketing efforts
The key to inspiration is how it’s different for everyone, making this one of the more challenging content strategy types. Posting a quote may feel inspirational to you, but will it resonate with your audience?
It’s important to keep in mind that often times sharing who you are and what matters most to your business is inspiration enough. So, don’t be afraid to share behind the scenes, examples of your work, or the organizations with whom you’re involved. You just never know who’s watching or who may take solace in your openness.
You may know all the ins and outs of your product or service, but it’s time to start thinking like the individuals that buy them. What is it that they would be searching for online? Are there topics that they would want to know prior to purchasing?
For example, say you have your own makeup line and your customers are young females. You could create an infographic educating them on the proper application steps for the perfect long lasting foundation routine.
The trick is to think like your audience and provide information that is valuable to them before they ask or start searching for it.
TIP: People don’t like to be sold to, and can smell a sales pitch a mile away. The key to educational content is to provide value again and again without expecting anything in return. Trust us, the more value you provide that is complementary to your business' product or services, the more likely they are to purchase from you in the future.
Educational content ideas:
How to guides
Often times there are updates to your business that you’d like to share. This would fall under the “inform” category. It’s topics that the audience didn’t know before, the latest happenings.
This content has a shorter lifespan, but is still an important component of your content strategy. People often like to feel informed or ‘in the know’ as it provides them the opportunity to share with their friends, saying, “did you hear ______ is _______?”
Informational content ideas:
Up to date news on your business
Announcements for your business
TIP: Informational and educational content can sometimes be one and the same. A good rule of thumb is that educational content is often review, checklist, tutorial or ‘how to’ based. Information is everything else, but is more effective when it’s quicker, more timely content.
People want to feel as though the companies they buy from understand them, that they share some sort of commonality. Sharing your personal/professional view can sometimes be daunting; it’s not for everyone or for every business model, but by sharing an opinion on areas that spark conversation and interest amongst your audience, it builds and strengthens the relationship they have with you.
Opinion based content ideas:
Share a news story you believe in
Pose a thought provoking question
As one of the riskiest strategies, opinion based content is often avoided by larger companies. However, those that take the leap and stand by their beliefs are often times rewarded. To gain a new perspective, you can also use this strategy to pose questions to your audience. Have them share their opinions to spark conversation and therefore increase your engagement, like we do at the end of this blog post.
If your current content isn’t hitting the mark, we hope the above tips have helped educate you.
In the comments below, let us know which content type you struggle with the most and why.
Bre Johnson - Creative Director