Types of Content Marketing

As the barrier to entry for creating and publishing content has decreased, businesses have increasingly turned to content marketing to engage audiences, generate leads, and ultimately drive sales. Content marketing involves creating and sharing valuable, relevant, and consistent content with the aim of attracting and retaining a clearly defined audience, ultimately driving profitable customer action. Given the diverse nature of the digital landscape, there are various types of content marketing that companies can leverage, each with its own unique benefits and challenges.

From blog posts and articles that provide valuable information and showcase a brand's expertise, to podcasts and videos that engage audiences through storytelling and rich media, the possibilities are vast. Thought leadership content establishes a company as an expert in its industry, while social media content helps to build a more personal connection with the target audience. Additionally, e-books, whitepapers, and case studies enable companies to delve deeper into specific topics, offering valuable insights to potential customers.

As content marketing continues to evolve, marketers need to understand the different types of content available and how to best use each format to achieve their goals. In this article, we'll explore various types of content marketing, their benefits, and how they can be implemented effectively to drive results. By understanding the unique characteristics of each content format, marketers can craft a well-rounded content marketing strategy that not only resonates with their audience but also generates tangible results for their business.

What are the 4 types of content strategy?

The term "4 types of content strategy" may refer to different classifications or frameworks depending on the context. However, one common way to categorize content strategy is by focusing on the goals and purposes of the content. Here are four such types:

  1. Brand Awareness Content: This type of content strategy aims to increase visibility and recognition of a brand among its target audience. It typically involves creating and sharing engaging, informative, or entertaining content that showcases the brand's personality, values, and expertise.
  1. Lead Generation Content: This content strategy focuses on attracting and capturing potential customers' contact information, converting them into leads. This often includes creating gated content, such as whitepapers, e-books, webinars, or case studies, which require users to provide their contact information to access the material.
  1. Lead Nurturing Content: The goal of this content strategy is to move leads through the sales funnel by providing them with valuable information tailored to their specific needs and interests. This type of content may include targeted email campaigns, personalized blog posts, or resources that address common questions or pain points related to the buyer's journey.
  1. Customer Retention and Loyalty Content: This content strategy focuses on maintaining and strengthening relationships with existing customers to encourage repeat business and foster brand loyalty. This may involve sharing helpful resources, providing exceptional customer support, and creating content that highlights customer success stories or offers exclusive deals and promotions for existing customers.

Different organizations may prioritize these content strategies differently based on their unique goals, target audiences, content strategy framework,  and resources.

How many types of content marketing exist?

There isn't a definitive number of content marketing types, as content marketing is a dynamic field that continuously evolves to incorporate new formats and channels. However, here are some common types of content marketing that organizations use to engage their target audience:

  • Blog posts
  • E-books and whitepapers
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Podcasts
  • Webinars
  • Case studies
  • Social media content
  • Email newsletters
  • Interactive content (e.g., quizzes, calculators, assessments)
  • User-generated content (e.g., customer reviews, testimonials)
  • Press releases
  • Research reports and industry surveys

Different organizations may leverage a combination of these content types, depending on their goals, audience, and resources. Content marketing strategies will vary based on a company’s unique position in the market. The key to successful content marketing is to create and distribute valuable, relevant, and engaging content that resonates with the target audience and aligns with the organization's overall marketing strategy.

What is content marketing in digital marketing?

Content marketing in digital marketing refers to the strategic approach of creating, distributing, and promoting valuable, relevant, and engaging content through various digital channels to attract, inform, and engage a target audience. The ultimate goal of content marketing within the digital marketing context is to drive user actions, such as generating leads, nurturing prospects, increasing brand awareness, and converting prospects into customers.

Digital content marketing leverages a variety of formats, including blog posts, social media updates, e-books, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, email newsletters, and more. The types of content in digital marketing preferred by an organization will depend on what they sell and their target audience. The distribution of this content can occur through owned channels (e.g., company websites and social media profiles), earned channels (e.g., guest posts, press coverage, or social shares), or paid channels (e.g., sponsored content, display advertising, or native advertising). Different aspects of content marketing have different content needs, and it can be useful to work off a content marketing strategy template developed by experts when leveraging content for digital marketing.

Effective content marketing in digital marketing involves understanding the target audience's needs, preferences, and pain points and providing valuable content that addresses those aspects while aligning with the organization's overall marketing goals and objectives. Deciding on the best content for digital marketing will depend on your audience and your business’s goals. 

Thought leadership

Thought leadership content is one of the most popular types of content marketing strategies. Companies often engage in content marketing to position themselves as thought leaders in their respective industries. By creating and sharing valuable, informative, and authoritative content, companies demonstrate their expertise, insights, and deep understanding of their target audience's needs and challenges. This content-driven approach helps build credibility, trust, and brand awareness among the target audience.

Thought leadership content can take various forms, such as blog posts, whitepapers, research reports, webinars, podcasts, case studies, and more. The key is to provide actionable insights, innovative solutions, or industry-specific knowledge that helps the audience solve problems, make informed decisions, or stay updated on the latest trends.

When a company successfully positions itself as a thought leader, it can benefit from increased customer loyalty, stronger brand reputation, and the potential to attract new prospects. Moreover, thought leadership can lead to opportunities for collaboration, partnerships, and even media coverage, further enhancing the company's visibility and influence in the industry.

Thought leadership content

Thought leadership content refers to informative, authoritative, and expert-driven content that showcases a company or individual's expertise, insights, and knowledge in a specific industry or subject area. The primary goal of thought leadership content is to establish the creator as a trusted expert and industry leader, which can, in turn, build credibility, foster trust, and increase brand awareness among the target audience.

Thought leadership content goes beyond promotional material, focusing on providing valuable and actionable insights that help the audience solve problems, make informed decisions, or stay updated on the latest trends and developments. Examples of thought leadership content include:

  • In-depth articles and blog posts addressing industry challenges or offering innovative solutions
  • Whitepapers and research reports presenting original data or analysis
  • Expert interviews or opinion pieces on current events or emerging trends
  • Webinars, workshops, or conference presentations that provide educational content
  • Podcasts featuring discussions or interviews with industry experts
  • Case studies showcasing real-world applications of a company's expertise

By consistently producing high-quality thought leadership content, companies can differentiate themselves from competitors, foster customer loyalty, and attract new prospects by demonstrating their deep understanding of the industry and the needs of their target audience.

Thought leadership examples

It is always helpful to look at real-life marketing examples when developing a marketing strategy and looking at successful examples of thought leadership content can be helpful when developing your own thought leadership strategy. Analyzing these examples can provide valuable insights into what types of content resonate with your target audience and how other industry leaders have positioned themselves as experts.

By examining successful thought leadership content, you can draw inspiration for your own content ideas and brainstorm topics that are relevant, valuable, and engaging for your audience. Additionally, you can learn from the format and presentation of other thought leaders' content, which can help you determine the best way to communicate your insights effectively and engagingly.

Understanding the content distribution strategies employed by successful thought leaders can also be beneficial. This knowledge will allow you to optimize your own distribution channels and maximize your content's reach and visibility. Furthermore, studying the metrics and indicators of success in other thought leadership campaigns can help you set realistic goals and expectations for your own content marketing efforts.

Overall, examining successful thought leadership content can provide you with insights and ideas to create compelling, authoritative content that positions you or your company as an expert in your industry.

Examples of successful thought leadership campaigns from industry leaders include: 

  • Deloitte Insights: Deloitte, a professional services firm, has created a content platform called Deloitte Insights, where they publish research, articles, and thought leadership pieces on a wide range of topics, including technology, economics, and industry trends. This content helps position Deloitte as an expert and thought leader in multiple sectors.
  • Microsoft's "The Future Computed": Microsoft published a series of articles, reports, and videos on the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) for businesses and society under the title "The Future Computed." This thought leadership campaign showcased Microsoft's expertise in AI and presented the company as a forward-thinking and innovative leader in the field.
  • McKinsey's "Our Insights": Management consulting firm McKinsey & Company has a dedicated section on their website called "Our Insights," where they publish in-depth articles, research, podcasts, and videos on various topics, such as strategy, operations, and digital transformation. This content demonstrates McKinsey's extensive knowledge and industry expertise, reinforcing their position as thought leaders.
  • Neil Patel's digital marketing blog: Neil Patel, a renowned digital marketing expert, shares his knowledge and insights on digital marketing through his blog, podcast, and videos. His content covers topics such as SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. By consistently producing valuable content, Neil Patel has established himself as a thought leader in the digital marketing space.
  • Harvard Business Review (HBR): HBR is a well-respected publication that publishes articles, research, and case studies on management, strategy, and leadership. Their thought leadership content not only showcases the expertise of the authors but also positions HBR as a go-to resource for professionals seeking insights and advice on various business topics.

These campaigns demonstrate the power of thought leadership content in establishing credibility, fostering trust, and building brand awareness among target audiences.

Content marketing for ABM 

Content marketing can play a vital role in an account-based marketing strategy by providing personalized, valuable, and targeted content to engage with high-value accounts. Here's how content marketing can be used for ABM:

  1. Personalization: Tailor content to address the specific needs, pain points, and interests of decision-makers within the target accounts. This can include creating custom landing pages, blog posts, case studies, or whitepapers that speak directly to their challenges and goals.
  2. Account-specific content: Develop content that showcases how your product or service can solve the unique problems faced by the target accounts. This can include industry-specific use cases, testimonials, or success stories that demonstrate the value of your offering to their business.
  3. Multi-channel approach: Distribute content through multiple channels that are relevant to your target accounts. This may include email campaigns, social media, webinars, or even targeted advertising. Utilize different formats and channels to reach and engage the decision-makers within the accounts.
  4. Sales enablement: Equip your sales team with targeted content that they can use during their outreach and conversations with prospects. This content can include industry insights, product comparisons, and other resources that help your sales team position your offering more effectively.
  5. Track engagement: Monitor how your target accounts engage with your content. Analyze their interactions and use those insights to optimize your content marketing efforts and improve the overall ABM strategy.

By incorporating content marketing for ABM, you can create a more personalized experience for your target accounts, build trust and credibility, and ultimately, drive better results for your organization.

What are some examples of content marketing?

Content marketing encompasses a wide range of formats and channels to engage and inform the target audience. Here are some examples of content marketing:

  1. Blog posts: Regularly publishing informative and engaging articles on a company's website helps drive organic traffic, establish expertise, and nurture leads.
  2. E-books and whitepapers: In-depth guides and resources that address specific industry topics or problems can be used to generate leads by offering valuable information in exchange for contact details.
  3. Infographics: Visually appealing representations of data and information can help simplify complex concepts and make them more shareable on social media platforms.
  4. Videos: Creating engaging videos to showcase product features, share customer testimonials, or provide educational content helps increase brand visibility and user engagement.
  5. Podcasts: Audio content in the form of interviews, discussions, or educational segments can help reach a broader audience and establish thought leadership.
  6. Webinars: Live or recorded online presentations on industry topics can be used to generate leads and provide valuable insights to the target audience.
  7. Case studies: Sharing success stories of clients who have benefited from a company's products or services can build credibility and demonstrate real-world results.
  8. Social media content: Curating and creating engaging content for social media platforms helps foster community, increase brand awareness, and drive website traffic.
  9. Email newsletters: Regularly sending out email updates with valuable content, company news, and promotions can help nurture leads and maintain relationships with existing customers.
  10. Interactive content: Quizzes, calculators, and assessments can provide personalized value to users and encourage them to engage further with a brand.

These are just a few examples of content marketing, and businesses can employ a combination of these tactics based on their goals, target audience, and available resources.

Successful content marketing initiatives

Some of the most famous marketing campaigns of all time have been content marketing initiatives, including the following. 

  • Coca-Cola's "Share a Coke": In this campaign, Coca-Cola replaced its logo on bottles with popular names and encouraged people to share a Coke with friends and family. This personalized approach resonated with consumers and became a viral social media sensation.
  • American Express OPEN Forum: American Express created a content hub called OPEN Forum, which provides valuable insights, advice, and resources for small business owners. By offering high-quality content from industry experts, American Express has positioned itself as a thought leader and built trust among its target audience.
  • Blendtec's "Will it Blend?": Blendtec created a series of entertaining videos showcasing its powerful blenders by blending various unusual objects, such as smartphones, golf balls, and even an iPad. The videos went viral on social media and significantly increased brand awareness and sales.
  • Red Bull's content marketing: Red Bull has become synonymous with extreme sports and adrenaline-pumping activities through its content marketing efforts, which include sponsoring events, producing documentaries, and even launching a media house. Red Bull's content marketing strategy has been so successful that it's now seen as a media company that also sells energy drinks.
  • HubSpot's inbound marketing resources: HubSpot has established itself as a leader in inbound marketing by providing a wealth of resources, such as blog posts, e-books, webinars, and tools. This valuable content has helped HubSpot attract and retain customers while positioning the brand as an industry expert.
  • Dove's "Real Beauty" campaign: Dove's content marketing campaign sought to challenge beauty standards and redefine what real beauty means. The campaign included a series of videos, advertisements, and social media content featuring real women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities, fostering a conversation around self-esteem and body positivity.

These content marketing campaigns stand out for their creativity, ability to connect with their target audience, and their impact on brand awareness and consumer engagement.

ROI of content marketing initiatives

Of course, larger brands can take a longer view in terms on the payback for their investment in content marketing initiatives. In leaner periods where funding is scarce and marketing budgets shrink, it can be more difficult to justify investing in content marketing for its own sake. However, despite what some skeptics in finance or sales organizations might claim, content marketing initiatives often show a positive return on investment (ROI)> 

The ROI  of a successful content marketing campaign can vary depending on factors such as the campaign goals, target audience, industry, and the resources invested in the campaign. However, there are several potential benefits and returns associated with successful content marketing campaigns, which include:

  • Increased brand awareness: A well-executed content marketing campaign can help raise brand awareness, making your company more visible and recognizable to your target audience.
  • Enhanced brand reputation: High-quality, valuable content can position your company as an authority and thought leader in your industry, leading to a more favorable brand reputation.
  • Improved search engine rankings: Content marketing can contribute to better search engine optimization (SEO), which can lead to higher search engine rankings, increased organic traffic, and greater visibility for your brand.
  • Lead generation and nurturing: Content marketing can be an effective tool for generating leads and nurturing them through the sales funnel, ultimately resulting in more conversions and sales.
  • Increased customer loyalty and retention: Engaging and informative content can help foster a stronger relationship with your existing customers, increasing customer loyalty and retention.
  • Reduced marketing costs: Content marketing can be a cost-effective marketing approach compared to traditional advertising methods, especially when the content is evergreen and continues to generate results over time.
  • Higher return on marketing spend: Successful content marketing campaigns often yield a higher return on marketing spend compared to other marketing tactics, as they build long-lasting relationships with customers and create a sustainable source of web traffic.

To measure the ROI of a content marketing campaign, it's essential to track relevant metrics such as website traffic, social media engagement, lead generation, conversion rates, and sales attributable to the content marketing efforts. The actual ROI will depend on the specific goals and the investments made in the campaign.

Measuring ROI in content marketing

Measuring the ROI of content marketing initiatives involves tracking relevant metrics and assessing the performance of your content marketing efforts against your goals and objectives. Here are some steps and metrics to consider when measuring the ROI of content marketing initiatives:

  • Set clear goals: Define your content marketing objectives, such as increasing brand awareness, generating leads, driving sales, or improving customer retention.
  • Establish key performance indicators (KPIs): Identify KPIs that align with your goals and enable you to measure the success of your content marketing efforts. Examples of KPIs include website traffic, social media engagement, lead generation, conversion rates, and customer retention.
  • Track content performance metrics: Monitor metrics related to your content, such as page views, unique visitors, average time on page, bounce rate, social media shares, likes, comments, and backlinks.
  • Monitor lead generation and nurturing metrics: Track the number of leads generated through your content, the conversion rate of leads to customers, and the effectiveness of your lead nurturing process.
  • Analyze sales metrics: Assess the impact of your content marketing efforts on sales by analyzing metrics such as revenue, average transaction value, and the number of new customers acquired.
  • Calculate marketing costs: Determine the total cost of your content marketing initiatives, including content creation, distribution, and promotion expenses.
  • Calculate ROI: Compare the revenue generated by your content marketing efforts with the total marketing costs to determine the ROI. The formula for calculating ROI is: (Revenue - Marketing Costs) / Marketing Costs x 100.
  • Continuously optimize: Use the insights gained from tracking metrics and calculating ROI to refine and optimize your content marketing strategy, focusing on the most effective tactics and channels to improve performance.

By systematically tracking, analyzing, and optimizing your content marketing initiatives based on relevant metrics and KPIs, you can effectively measure the ROI of your content marketing efforts and make data-driven decisions to enhance your strategy.

Content marketing ROI measurement tools

Various tools are available to help marketers and chief revenue officers track the ROI of content marketing initiatives. 

These tools often focus on different aspects of content marketing, such as analytics, lead generation, social media, and marketing automation. Some popular tools for measuring content marketing ROI include:

  1. Google Analytics: A powerful analytics tool that tracks website traffic, user behavior, and conversions, allowing you to measure the performance of your content and its impact on your goals.
  2. HubSpot: An all-in-one inbound marketing platform that offers tools for content management, lead generation, email marketing, social media management, and analytics, helping you track and analyze the effectiveness of your content marketing campaigns.
  3. Marketo: A marketing automation platform that offers tools for lead management, email marketing, and content marketing analytics, enabling you to measure and optimize your content marketing ROI.
  4. Kissmetrics: A customer analytics and engagement platform that provides insights into user behavior and the performance of your content marketing efforts, allowing you to make data-driven decisions.
  5. Moz Pro: An SEO and content marketing analytics tool that helps you track your content's search engine performance, backlinks, and social media engagement, providing insights into your content's visibility and reach.
  6. SEMrush: A comprehensive digital marketing toolkit that offers SEO, content, and social media analytics, helping you monitor and optimize your content marketing performance.
  7. Social media analytics tools: Platforms like Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, and LinkedIn Analytics provide insights into your content's social media performance, including engagement, reach, and conversions.
  8. CRM systems: Customer relationship management (CRM) systems like Salesforce and Microsoft Dynamics can help you track leads, conversions, and sales generated by your content marketing efforts.

These tools can help you monitor various metrics and KPIs related to your content marketing initiatives, enabling you to measure the ROI and optimize your content marketing strategy based on data-driven insights.

The ROI of content marketing with podcasts

The ROI of content marketing with podcasts can vary greatly depending on factors such as your target audience, podcast quality, promotion strategies, and monetization methods. Podcasts can indeed show a positive ROI if executed effectively. Here are some ways in which podcasts can contribute to a positive ROI:

  • Increased brand awareness: Podcasts can help you reach a larger audience and establish your brand as a thought leader in your industry. By consistently providing valuable content, you can build a loyal listener base, which can translate into increased brand recognition and credibility.
  • Lead generation: Podcasts can be used to generate leads by promoting your products or services, offering content upgrades, or including calls-to-action within the episodes. Listeners who find value in your content are more likely to engage with your brand and become potential leads.
  • Audience engagement: Podcasts offer a unique, intimate, and personal way to connect with your audience, as they listen to your content on-the-go, during their commute, or while performing other tasks. This deeper connection can lead to higher engagement and conversion rates.
  • Networking opportunities: Hosting a podcast provides you with opportunities to interview industry experts, influencers, and potential partners. These collaborations can help expand your network and open doors for new business opportunities.
  • Monetization: Podcasts can generate revenue through sponsorships, advertisements, affiliate marketing, and premium content offerings. As your podcast grows in popularity, you can leverage your listener base to attract sponsors and advertisers, contributing to a positive ROI.

To measure the ROI of content marketing with podcasts, track relevant metrics such as listener growth, episode downloads, audience demographics, engagement, conversion rates, and revenue generated. It's essential to set clear goals, regularly evaluate your podcast's performance, and optimize your content and promotion strategies to maximize ROI.

While achieving a positive ROI with podcasts can be challenging, especially in the initial stages, a well-executed podcast strategy can contribute to increased brand awareness, lead generation, audience engagement, and revenue generation, ultimately leading to a positive return on investment.