24/04/2015 8:09 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

4 Types Of Content Your Website Needs NOW

Girl on phone with social media chalkboard
Justin Lewis via Getty Images
Girl on phone with social media chalkboard

It's every content marketer's worst nightmare. Waking up one morning to realise you have nothing, absolutely nothing to post on your blog/website/social platform today. Panic attack in 3...2...1...

Take a deep breath. And read on for inspiration on those scary, overwhelming days. You can also use this list as a handy prioritisation guide for days when you're inundated with more content than you know what to do with.

Here goes.

1. Videos

We have all seen, loved and shared viral videos that come along every other day and become all the rage all over the internet. From Gangnam Style to Mauka Mauka, viral videos have only become stronger and stronger in terms of their contribution to a marketer's arsenal. Video content has even managed to become the most engaging content on Facebook, leaving images behind as yesterday's news.

The reason videos make such captivating tools is because human psychology is keenly receptive to all the key stimuli offered in a video. We respond more positively to faces and their expressions. The different tones of a speaker's voice tell us more than the words she speaks. The emotions conveyed by background music and the interplay of facial and voice cues set the mood. Most importantly, movement -- of the subject and everything around it -- captures our attention. When each of these four elements comes together in a video, they help us understand and retain information much better than simply reading the same information on a page or a screen.

It's not difficult to create awesome professional-looking videos either. A plethora of tools like iMovie, Windows Movie Maker and LightWorks make video production a real breeze.

"[T]he top 10 spots on Google's search results page typically tended to be at least 2000 words long."

2. Long-form blog posts

In an attention-starved world, it's a miracle to get users to even skim through most pieces of online content. However, this generation's lack of patience does not prevent users from actively seeking out and consuming pieces of well-written, well-researched, long-form content. Long-form content typically takes the form of blog posts or eBooks that focus on a very specific topic and offer authoritative information on it. Take this post by WP Kube about a WordPress plugin for example. With a combination of personal opinions, screenshots and product details, the post offers a reader nearly everything they'd want to know about the plugin in question.

SerpIQ found that the top 10 spots on Google's search results page typically tended to be at least 2000 words long. While there are other factors like domain age, relevance, authority etc. that also play a role in search rankings, they recommend creating content that is at least 1500 words in length based on their research.


3. User-generated content

Few consumers today are susceptible to plain ol' marketing spiels. Generations of hard-sell marketing has left us instinctively mistrustful of anything a brand tells us. TiVo, pop-up blockers and ad-blindness are technological and natural devices adopted by swathes of consumers to mute advertising out of their daily lives.

"According to a study by Nielsen, consumers (92%) trust the experience of other real users over brand-sponsored marketing communication."

So what do consumers trust? Simple. Other consumers. According to a Global Trust in Advertising study by Nielsen, consumers (92%) trust the experience of other real users over brand-sponsored marketing communication.

To earn new users, you need to leverage the voices of your old, satisfied users and build content that convinces them that you are a great brand to associate with. The other advantage about UGC is that it's 100% free -- zero content creation costs!

If you are an e-commerce site, work on building in product reviews into every product page. B2B brands can reach out to their clients and request them for a testimonial about their first-hand experience with the brand. The more detailed and personal the testimonial, the more credible it is from a potential user's perspective. So, go ahead and create video testimonials of clients and upload them to your site.

Another great way of generating UGC is by having a contest and inviting entries from users in the form of images, videos or even text content. Showcase the best and most popular entries on your site -- it'll not just bolster your content repository, it'll also make your users overjoyed to see their content take pride of place among all other entries. Take a cue from Shopify and give your users tools like QR code generators and other widgets that will help them along in their content creation as well as interact with your app or website.

4. How-to guides

Whether or not you have a great blog, irrespective of whether you have a strong social media presence, if there's one thing your content marketing cannot afford to ignore, it is how-to guides. At their core, how-to guides are your most basic tools to sell your product or help an existing customer use the product to its maximum efficiency.

How-to guides come in many avatars. From video tutorials to blog posts to step-by-step PDF files with images and audio content to downloadable eBooks they span the entire spectrum of formats. The good thing is, a how-to guide is not fluff that you create simply for the sake of posting some fresh content to your site. It's stuff that has a definite value for your users, something that many of them would even be willing to pay for.

Lowes offers a complete how-to and ideas section on their website that sits right next to their main product categories. By transforming their site into a valued information source, they convince the users of their authority in the area of home improvements. Moreover, with their 'ideas' section that offers users inputs on creative DIY projects, Lowes uses a pull strategy and creates new demand for their products instead of doing a direct sales pitch.

Users seek out content when they need to know more about something, someone or even some place. What sets great content apart is its ability to pull users towards itself, as if by magic. What types of content have worked that magic for you? Share with us, we'd love to hear from you!

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