If you’re like over 90% of marketers today, content is a driving force behind your company’s marketing and web strategies. Because “content marketing” — as it’s referred to — has gone viral, the quality of the content that you publish is more important than ever. But what’s makes “quality” content? Lots of experts have lots of opinions on the matter, but for us at webFEAT Complete, quality blog content is content that provides value, both to your audience/community as well as to your company, by generating engagement (which could be turned into leads for your business) and driving SEO.
Along these lines, producing quality content means the posts you publish to your site or blog should:
- Answer a question/solve a problem that is common in your community
- Provides your or your company’s unique perspective on an issue
- Be easy to share across multiple social platforms
- Use multiple types of media
Here are six types of blog content that, when mixed and matched strategically, should have a regular presence on your blog:
Even if you’re simply posting about a new staff member to join your team, including imagery of some kind is a must. It’s becoming common practice across a variety of online publications to include at least one featured image above or among the accompanying text.
Not only is this a result of the science behind visual versus textual communication (for more on this, see section on Infographics below), social media networks love-love-love engaging, captivating images. Users are more likely to stop and ponder a post or a tweet if it includes an image, and social networks are also programmed to scan a linked page for any images it can auto-generate into a thumbnail.
In fact, not only should your blog posts include imagery, but you could consider going beyond the auto-generated thumbnail and posting a photo, with a link to the content in the caption. Check out what HubSpot found out by comparing photo posts on Facebook (with or without a link) with Facebook posts overall (which include text-only, text-with-link, and photo posts):
While these stats are illuminating on their own, the HubSpot study also found that their photo posts generated 84% more click-thru’s than their text and link posts.
Finally, as Mike Allton points out at Social Media Today, use of images in your blog posts – and generally across your website for that matter – makes Google and other search engines very happy. This is because the way you name and tag the images uploaded to your site can generate additional keyword traction.
Slideshows are even more engaging blog content, and can comprise an entire blog post.
Rand Fishkin with Moz was probably right when he said that “the marketing industry seems to have a love-hate relationship with infographics.” This is because, when done well, infographics are highly impactful and super sharable blog content, but when done poorly, they flop. Hard.
This infographic, by Zabisco, illustrates (maybe a bit chaotically) the stats surrounding the rising use of infographics, and neuroscience has a lot to say on why this might be the case. Basically, humans are visual creatures, with a sense of sight that dominates roughly half of the brain’s processing power. While words are also visual (each letter acts as a symbol that means something), stringing letters into words and words into sentences takes a lot more work from the brain than processing an image.
The visual image of the clock takes fewer steps to process and understand than reading the words “twenty-five minutes after three o’clock.”
Beyond the science, infographics can deliver a large amount of information in a compact, portable – and most importantly, sharable – package. Plus, infographics have all the SEO benefits as photo images. They make great blog content.
For many, the astounding scope and success of YouTube (and other video sharing services like Vimeo, Vine, and now Instagram) is enough to show that video is one of the most powerful media on the web. It was the film industry that first noticed that, if a picture is worth a thousand words, moving pictures are worth… well, you get the idea. This means great blog content.
While we’d all love to have the equipment and expertise to produce Hollywood-caliber videos, it’s important to remember that video production has become a lot simpler and efficient in recent years. And most importantly, in terms of driving traffic to your blog or website, video’s benefits usually outweigh the cost.
In terms of SEO (I hope you’re noticing a trend here), video files can also be tagged with keywords, but additionally, the lower amount of video search results (relative to page results) will result in your video having less search competition. Animoto has also found that posting video will usually result in longer page visits and can even increase sales conversions.
Here’s a cool example of how video can enhance something as basic as an “About Us” page (sourced from Vimeo):
If you’re even a mild Facebook user, you’re no doubt familiar (maybe overly familiar) with BuzzFeed, the undisputed king of “listicles”. Indeed, research indicates that articles and blog posts with numbers in the headline tend to get more clicks. Brian Clark at Copyblogger explains it this way:
Any headline that lists a number of reasons, secrets, types, or ways will work because, once again, it makes a very specific promise of what’s in store for the reader. A nice quantifiable return on attention invested goes a long way toward prompting action, and as long as you deliver with quality content, you’ll have a satisfied reader.
He goes on to point out that the list format is perfect for demonstrating authority and expertise in one’s field (a must for company’s trying to leverage content) and can be applied to a wide variety content types.
And they make great blog content because they work! You clicked on this one, didn’t you?
Earlier this year, the folks over at Buffer analyzed the words used in the most viral headlines and, the phrase “how to” ranked third most popular among articles that went viral:
The phrase “how to make” also ranked among the top three-word phrases in viral headlines. So an obvious point would be that they make excellent blog content.
Beyond this SEO-friendliness, it’s pretty self-explanatory why a how-to article would demonstrate expertise and authority. According to Ebyline, though, it’s important to take your how-to’s a little more in-depth. In a recent blog post, they describe the success found by the sweepstakes-building website ViralSweep’s 1200-word interactive guide explaining how to create and market a simple giveaway. After posting the guide, the company reported a 59% conversion of readers into subscribers, with 20% upgrading to a premium plan.
Think of “newsjacking” as the hijacking of news media or pop culture as a way of promoting who your company is and what they do. While these sorts of posts might have a short shelf-life, they are highly topical and, therefore, highly shareable. Here’s a good example, a Facebook post from Oreo that went up literally minutes after the lights went out on the 2013 Superbowl:
(Found at HubSpot)
Whether it’s a photo post like this one, or an article explaining how not to be a terrible lawyer using examples like The Simpsons’ Lionel Hutz and Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman, these posts are click gold.
You’ll want to exercise caution with this one, though. Some news events (like natural disasters or national emergencies, etc.) can only be newsjacked in poor taste. A good rule of thumb is to keep your newsjacking fun and lighthearted.
“Infographics and the Science of Visual Communication” (Social Media Explorer)
“10 Benefits of Using Images in Blogs” (Social Media Today)
“7 Reasons List Posts Will Always Work” (Copyblogger)
“Effective Newsjacking” (PRWeek)