Take a moment to step into your closet. Now look around at all the magnificent choices you have–unless you’re some sort of clothes minimalist in which case we have nothing in common. But if you are like me, you have something for every situation: a great winter coat, an Italian suit, jeans, t-shirts, sweaters, shoes and the list goes on. What does it all have in common? It’s stuff you liked and decided you needed to have to fit any particular occasion.

Content types are sort of like that.

While there are many things to choose from, you need to know who your audience is and what they expect from you. You wouldn’t wear ripped jeans to a black-tie affair; likewise, you wouldn’t serve up a complex infographic to a blog on the “Best Power Tools of 2017.”

On the surface, content types are pretty simple.

There’s the written word, pictures, audio, animations and videos. Let’s equate these to fabric, thread and accessories like buttons and zippers. They may not look like much, but in the hands of a skilled artisan, you can end up with something very special.

 

Content works the same way. First, you need to decide what you want to do with your content: inform, entertain, promote, incite, engage, and of course, sell.

Next, decide how you want to create your message. This can be a function of your budget, assets, talent and a number of other variables. There are content posts as simple as the written word like this one, all the way up to mini-productions that rival Hollywood-style movies like Marriott’s “Two Bellman”

 

Now let’s add some content “accessories.”

You can rock a how-to post, case studies, lists, Q&A, research, interviews, surveys, stories, trends, issues, problem-solving, inspirational posts, and more. Just be sure to ask yourself “what am I trying to accomplish here?” Never forget your end game.

When creating content, I like to work backwards.

If I’m working with a client to sell something, I consider the “sells post” the final of a series. I might begin with a post that presents a common problem related to the product. For example, let’s say we’re selling a vegetable spiralizer, which is a cool gizmo that can turn vegetables into healthy pasta-like strands of veggie goodness.

I might decide to do a series of posts. The first one may talk about the unhealthy selections of carb-heavy pastas in your local grocery store. The next post might talk about the health benefits of vegetable-based pastas. Finally, I would introduce the vegetable spiralizer which can turn any vegetable into mounds of healthy “pasta” ready for your sumptuous homemade marinara sauce. By the time you get to the “sells post”, your audience understands the benefits of your product and why they need it. Just be sure to include a link to complete an online sell and your vegetable spiralizers are flying out the door!

It can be tempting to rush the sales cycle. But don’t. The modern consumer is a wise consumer and will see right through you. Take your time to come up with a thoughtful strategy and be sure your content is relevant to your audience. If you’re looking for a place to start, VIRGEN Digital Brand Marketing can help you put a content marketing program in place to accomplish your marketing goals. We’re here to help!