We don’t need to get into a discussion on the importance of “quality content.” A lot has been said and we know how that’s the key to long-term SEO benefits for increased traffic and to keep search engines happy.
The search engines are hungry for vertical content. Content drives people to search on YouTube, to use Facebook and subscribe to blogs. Internet users look for information that educates, informs, solves problems and entertains.
Today, let’s explore some simple ideas about some unique and different content types. (yeah, I know “content types” is yet anther SEO-related buzzword we hear more often these days). We’ll see how you can work on delivering your content to readers, leading to better rankings and more traffic. Let’s get down to it.
Content Is All The Text On A Website
The representation of content types in the SERPs is growing on a daily basis. Many people have a limited view of content, and to them the text on their websites is what “content” is all about. But it’s much more than that. Many a time, it’s easier to rank for a vertical content channel like video than it is to rank a traditional webpage.
If you haven’t given other mediums the attention they deserve, here are some mostly unused content types that your competitors may not have tried yet. You stand at an advantage.
- Text Content
- Visualized Concepts
- Embedded tweets
- Animated GIFs
1. Text Content
I had to make this comprehensive as there is a lot that encompasses text content. In spite of being the oldest content format, it still holds importance as the primary content medium.
There are many highly engaging formats of text that can help send your message to the readers and sell your products or services.
- Blog posts/Articles/Web Copy: This is text that goes on your blog/website/squeeze page/sales letter. You need to find out what’s popular and relevant to your industry. It has to be written in such a way that it gains traction (whether it is from social media platforms, high profile sites or inbound links from highly relevant sites). There are several tools at your disposal – Google News, Google Insights and Google Trends. To find out what’s popular with the readers, you can use sites like Twitter, Digg or Reddit.
- eNewsletters: Email is one of the most powerful forms of marketing and if you own a list of your own, then there’s nothing that can beat this. You can create purely text based or HTML formats that include links, images and optimized for social media making it easy to share.
- White Papers: These are reports that demonstrate authority that help buyers and prospective customers understand an issue better, make a decision or solve a problem. These newsletters are generally around 10 pages in length.
- eBooks: Anywhere between 20 to 100 pages with images, they can either be sold or given away free to make them viral. Presented attractively with high-quality content, they hold great value.
- Case Studies: Most people enjoy reading case studies that validate strategies. Short case studies of 1 or 2 pages presented with proper narrative of a story and are based on real life events seem to be the way to go.
If you have the creative streak, then go for comics and cartoons. If you have the money, get them done by professionals. They are not only fun creating but people will have fun seeing them.
You must have seen popular magazines using cartoon characters to promote products. This type of content can be excellent for social media. After all, cartoon and comics are …fun! How many times have you seen a funny cartoon and shared it with your friends for a few little chuckles?
They can garner you more social shares than just a simple text update. They also have a longer life, bringing you good traffic and some valuable inbound links over a period of time. Think outside the box and create something based on your niche or product.
Google-owned YouTube is responsible for the search giant’s market leadership with an amazing 15.4 percent. Billions of people watch and share videos. It is easier to rank for a video than with a webpage.
YouTube can be a great marketing avenue as long as you have the right kind of content. If you are capable of getting a YouTube Channel, then you are in for some nice links.
As an added bonus, Google allows you to submit Video Sitemaps, which is a great way of bringing your online videos to Google’s attention so that they are included in search results faster. Just submit your video sitemap, host or at least embed your videos on your site and wait for the results.
Why do some ideas fly as Infographics and some don’t? It’s difficult to explain but happens all the time. It’s the same as having the gut feeling that some topics do well on social media as linkbait and not as website text.
There are many pragmatic reasons to go with infographics.
- For one they can be visually stunning, transforming a boring topic into one that’s engaging.
- They help build brand image, with the logos or colors and fonts.
- They are proven to work very well socially, especially on visual sites like Pinterest.
- They are great linkbait material.
Infographics illustrate information through data or processes. They can be used for any niche topic as long as you have some information or numbers to back up. I am of the opinion that there’s an overdose of infographics today, and this is because many people use them as status symbols even when they have no need for them.
But use them sensibly and see how they spice up everything from a landing page to a blog post. Here’s how you go about becoming a successful infographics artist.
This may come across as scary for someone who has never done any presentations. But believe me, it’s easy. Presentations are not just meant for big businesses; they are used by small businesses and individuals too. They have to be created in a way that they inform, persuade and build good will for your product or service.
I suggest you use SlideShare for your presentations. It is currently a great promotional medium. First create a presentation in your niche, turn it in to a SlideShare presentation. Many people even turn their eBooks into presentations as this form of content is more visual-friendly. Create an account on SlideShare, upload your slides and share them on your website or with your networks.
6. Visualized Concepts
This is different from infographics in that it is not as full-blown and complex. This can be a great addition to your content type list. Visualizations are aimed at explaining the concepts that are not easy to explain through plain text. Think of a children’s book that is colorful and explains things clearly..and you will get the idea.
Use concept visualizations in your blog posts, eBooks or social media etc. to deliver the message to readers about your products or services. Allow them to see clearly what problems you help solve.
This is a great example by 50Watts.com. See .. it’s that simple!
7. Embedded Tweets
A very innovative and unique idea that I’ve come across is embedding tweets. If you think about it, it’s all pretty simple. Haven’t you used testimonials on your website? Now you use tweets.
Twitter always had this option but it is grossly under-used. Recently, Twitter launched an easy way of embedding interactive timelines of Tweets.
You are killing two birds at a time by not just promoting your brand but also your social media presence on your website.
8. Animated GIFs
Tumblr has to be credited for bringing these visual elements into fashion and the prospect of using GIFs (Graphics Interchange Format) as a mainstream content channel.
Animations can provide the twist your content marketing needs. Animated GIFs are fun, have the capacity to excite your visitors and are very easy to create.
I can’t help admiring the creativity of Burberry, the British Fashion House. It sent out animated thank you cards with personalized follower’s names, to celebrate crossing 1 million Twitter followers.
9. Audio Podcasts
Before you say anything, let me tell you that Podcasts are still in vogue. If your website deals with a topic that people want to know more about, then you have an audience who will listen to you – while commuting, in the gym or when traveling on business.
People on the move prefer audio to video. So an audio podcast can help generate a good fan following. These podcasts can be hosted on iTunes or some other podcasting website. You can even direct link them from your website or blog. Use any call-to-action in your podcast, provide social media links or lead generation offers.
Here, we are talking about creating gadgets for iGoogle homepages. Google suggests building a gadget that people are interested in and would want to see everyday.
You can promote the gadget the way you wish to. If your gadget turns out to be interesting, people will install it and you will end up getting some great referral traffic.
Turn your websites or blogs into resource sites because they work. The typical website with plain text doesn’t cut it anymore, with the Web getting more competitive than ever before.
People today make buying decisions based on a variety of factors. They want to learn more about you and your products but they also want to be entertained. It’s also about being social today as people love book marking and sharing when they find something useful and interesting.
The more you please your visitors and appeal to a larger audience, the better you are likely to rank in Google and other search engines.
Of course, before choosing the content types you intend on going with, take your niche topic into consideration.
What does your audience look for? What content types have you used? Did you find any content types from this list that you may consider?