The following 9 types of content marketing and examples are summaries of a section from the best-selling book ‘The Content Marketing Handbook‘ written by Robert W.Bly.
Besides examples and types of content marketing, the book also covers the fundamentals of content marketing, a formula to write compelling content, and how to build a successful content marketing campaign.
I highly recommend you to grab a copy of his book as it contains far more practical information on how you can make full use of content marketing for your business (online/offline).
Editor note: This post includes affiliate links. If you click and purchase, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only recommend books, tools, and resources I have personally used.
So let’s dive deep into the 9 types of content marketing and examples. Read on…
1. White papers and special reports
The first type of content marketing is white papers and special reports.
White papers are used in many industries and have become the gold standard in selling enterprise software. White papers are mostly free, so people rarely put a price on them.
According to Robert, the author, the following are the important points to take note of for writing effective white papers:
- An intriguing title.
- An executive summary.
- A clear storyline.
- Competitive positioning.
- Charts and diagrams.
- Third-party references,
- Case studies.
- An author biography.
- A call to action.
You can find elaboration on each of the above points inside the book.
Robert also shared 13 online websites that you can submit your white paper. The following are three of such websites:
Special reports are commonly branded as free downloadable PDFs as giveaways to website visitors. Although some websites might sell special reports for a fee.
One easy way to create a special report is to interview an expert in your niche. Then you can offer the interview as an audio file or transcribe it into a PDF file and offer it as a digital special report.
Many websites use free special reports to build their mailing list. For example, they create a popup showing the visitors that the special report used to sell for $29 but for now, it is free for you if you join their mailing list.
The following are some tips on how you can make the special report works for you:
- Focus on a narrow topic: The more specific the group of people your special report appeal to, the more effective it is.
- Create an outline before you write: Creating the outline is very useful to frame the context of the report before you start to write. Once you have the outline, it is also easier to proceed to write the details.
- Designing the report: It is important to make the cover of the special report attractive. You can use canva to help design an attractive ecover for your special report.
2. Case studies and testimonials
People like to read reviews and real-life stories. Thus, case studies and testimonials often help to build rapport quickly when used properly.
A case study is a product success story. It brings the message of how a company product or service helped to solve a customer’s problem. The case study will appeal to the same group of people who are also looking for a solution.
There is no fixed format for the case study. An effective case study makes the reader wants to know more about your company’s product or services. An effective case study will include the following points:
- Who is the customer?
- What was the problem?
- What were the solutions they consider?
- Why did they choose your product/service eventually?
- Describe how they implemented the product/service.
- How and where does the customer use the product.
- What results and benefits are they getting?
- Would they recommend the product/service to others? Why?
The following are some ideas of where you can use your case studies to increase the conversion rate:
- Post them on your websites.
- Create a short version for your regular newsletter.
- Create slides for sales presentations.
- Use them as customer references.
- Use them for press releases.
- Give them to your salespersons.
- Hand them out in trade shows.
Testimonials are quotations from your customers that you can use to add extra punch to your marketing materials.
Use only real testimonials in all cases, never create testimonials from the air!
Longer and specific testimonials also perform better as they appear more convincing than those super short ones.
If possible, use full attribution that includes the customer’s name, job title, company name, and country.
It is also a good idea to add testimonials to your website pages along with the call-to-action buttons. It will make that final push for your website visitors to contact or purchase your products/services.
A book, especially a hardcopy format, has a perceived value that many other lead magnets do not. A physical book can sell for any price from $10 to $40. So when it is given to a prospect for free, they will grab it because people like to et something of value for free.
Nowadays, it is pretty simple to self-publish your book through Amazon KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing). With KDP, you can upload your Microsoft Word document and it will help you convert to Kindle books and physical books.
Do note that you may need to hire people to help you design the book cover and formatting of the book especially if you do not have any experience in book publishing. Nowadays, you can look for freelancers (via Fiverr.com or Upwork.com) to help you do this.
The advantage of publishing kindle and physical books through KDP is that you will leave a lot of money as compared to going through a traditional publisher. But the disadvantage is that you will need to do the promotion of the book yourself.
If you publish the book for content marketing purposes, then you do not need to worry about the sales of your books. But rather, you need to know how to use your books to market your products/services.
The following are some ways you can use your book to your advantage:
- List yourself as the author of a book on your website and other marketing materials. This helps to increase credibility.
- You can give free copies of the book to potential clients.
- You can give your books as lucky draw prizes at the end of your talk.
- Whenever you give presentations, you can extract quotes from your books and elaborate on them. This helps to subtlety inform that your audience that you are a book author too.
4. Articles and blogs
By articles, Robert actually means you can publish your articles on traditional publications such as magazines, newsletters, and newspapers.
Articles can be very effective, just one article in a trade journal can bring a company hundreds of leads thousands of dollars in sales. Many people know the value of placing trade journal stories but they don’t know how to approach it.
The following are tips on how you can make this work for you:
- Identify the magazines to publish your article: If you are not familiar with a magazine but think it sounds appropriate for your article, then be sure to read a few issues before contacting the editor.
- Get to know the publication: The quickest way to turn off an editor is to suggest an article title that is not relevant to their target audience. Do not email an editor directly unless they have told you to do so. The reason because they will never open such emails. What you can do is to g to the magazine’s website and locate the form for you to submit your proposed topic to them.
- Be specific: Specifics will help to grab the editor’s attention. A title like ‘Our newly developed Dry Scrubber pollution control device saved the Smithson Paper Plant $4,400 a day!’ is much better than ‘Our new product can save paper plants lots of money.’
- Pitch first, submit later: It is very risky to submit manuscripts without getting approvals from the magazines. It is a good idea to query the editor and send over a synopsis of the content of the article you want to write. Once it is accepted, then you can proceed to write before sending it over.
Having a blog on your website also helps in boosting your content marketing channel. With the help of a blog, you are giving search engines additional content to index and eventually rank your website if other people search for keywords that you are using in your blog post.
The following are some tips for attracting more prospects for your blog posts:
- Posts titles should not exceed 70 characters.
- Post frequently. Search engines will visit a site more often if your blog has new content often.
- Write in a natural, conversational style.
- Write about what you know.
- Include links to your other web pages or blog posts when possible.
- Answer frequently asked questions.
- Provide How-to instructions and tutorials.
The above is just a small subset of what Robert has mentioned in his book.
5. e-Newsletter and emails
The chapter about e-newsletter and emails is one of the longest ones in the entire book. I particularly like this chapter because it contained so much useful and practical tips on using e-newsletter for content marketing purposes.
The first thing Robert highlights in the book is to build your own list rather than buying or renting email databases from someone else. The reason is that only by building your own mailing list, then you will get the maximum rapport from your own subscribers. If you buy emails from someone’s database, those subscribers will just mark your emails as spam.
The best way to build your own mailing list is to offer a free e-newsletter. And you can do this effectively by using a free-on-free squeeze page. This type of squeeze page offers the subscribers a free gift to subscribe to the e-newsletter. The following is an example of my free-on-free squeeze page that offers a free course to sign up my mailing list:
The book also includes 29 ideas on what can you send to your subscribers who have signed p your e-newsletter. The following are 5 of them:
- How-to articles: Examples on how to use your product or how your service is implemented.
- Case histories: Reports on product application success stories or service success.
- Interviews: Related interviews carried out by your company or other people in your industry.
- R&D: New products, technologies to look out for, or any industrial breakthroughs.
- Top mistakes to avoid: How to avoid common mistakes by beginners.
The book also continues to provide templates of effective emails as well as 14 steps to write emails that work. One of the tips I like is that Robert suggests we include multiple response links in our emails. For example, if the main objective of the email is to get the readers to click on the link and visit your new product page then make sure you place the ‘Visit New Product Page’ links more than once in the entire email.
The last section in this chapter touches on the 4 Us formula for winning subject lines. Robert suggests considering including elements on Urgency, Ultra-specific, Unique and Useful in your subject so that more people will click on it and find out more. The book went on to elaborate on each of the four ‘U’.
Podcasts are popular, according to Edison Research’s 2019, 144 million Americans are listening to podcasts. It is definitely a great way to get your message out and it costs less than the production of videos.
You can have regular interviews with guests and record the sessions as podcasts episodes and distribute them across various platforms below:
- Apple music.
- Google podcast.
You can also embed podcasts series in your website so that your website visitors are able to listen to them without leaving your sites and hence, increasing the visitor’s retention rate on your website.
If you are keen to start a podcast for your niche, do check out Daniel Larson’s book title “Podcasting Made Simple: The Step By Step Guide On How To Start a Successful Podcast from the Ground up“.
Videos are getting more views than text in recent years. In fact, viewers watch more than 1 billion hours per day of videos on YouTube. YouTube is currently the largest video search engine in the world!
There are different types of videos you can create:
Product demonstration video – This is a video where you demonstrate how your product is used by your users. Videos are more effective in showing product demo as compared to text most of the time. For example, it is easier to watch how to repair a leaky water tap than to read a guide on fixing it.
Q&A video – This kind of video answers the most commonly asked questions from your prospects. Once you created such videos, it is also very practical that you can send them to your future prospects if they asked the same questions. The re-use value is very high. Just note that do not pack many questions and answers into one video. It is a good idea to just answer one question per video.
Interviews – You can also record interview sessions with your guests to share with your subscribers or prospects. Interviewing industrial experts will give you credibility and prospects will want to engage your services or try out your products.
Behind the scenes – These kinds of videos show the viewers what are the things going on behind the scene like during the production. F&B industries often use such videos to showcase their strict quality control on food safety and the processes they have in place to keep their food safe and adhere to standards.
It is important to upload your videos to YouTube and also embed them in your website so that your website visitors can watch them while not leaving your website.
Besides YouTube, you can also upload your videos to the following video platforms:
The book does not have a lot of content regarding Webinars but still, it includes a list of useful tips for readers to take note of if you want to launch a webinar as one of your content marketing strategies.
The following are the 8 steps to webinar success as covered in the book:
- Use a topic that attracts attendees.
- Research to target the right people.
- Temper your attendance expectations.
- Use polling questions.
- Craft to reach specific needs.
- Focus on live events first.
- Inspire and motivate prospects.
- Speak with energy.
You can refer to the book for more elaboration on each of the steps above.
The following are some software that you can consider when starting Webinars:
9. Seminars, workshops, and talks
During this covid period, there are lesser physical workshops being run but eventually, physical workshops and talks will return and these are some of the best content marketing strategies.
The key element when it comes to physical seminars is the number of attendees. You need to have a solid marketing plan to attract attendees to fill the room for your event. If not, the content marketing implementation will not be as effective.
Using free seminar as the entry
Free seminars are a good way to attract prospects for your business but you also need to have a specific topic in order to attract the right prospect you want.
In addition, it does not mean that your room will automatically be filled with attendees if your seminar is free. You will still need to promote the free seminar as much as you can in order to get enough people to fill the room.
Experience shows that up to 30% of those who registered for the free seminars will not turn up on the day itself. So it is a good idea to accept registrations slightly more than the room can hold.
The author suggests using email marketing and direct mail marketing to fill your room with attendees. My personal suggestion would be to use social media to get registrations for your seminar as more and more people are active in social media nowadays.
BONUS – Online courses
Towards the end of the book, Robert also suggested teaching as one of the content marketing strategies. He mentioned that you can try out creating online courses if you are not comfortable with face-to-face teaching in classrooms.
I have personally been teaching online courses (on Udemy) for the past 8 years and this exposure has benefited me with global opportunities.
Do check out Udemy if you are keen to create your first course. I have also written a step-by-step guide here on how you can start selling courses on Udemy.
I hope you find this blog post useful!
Do feel free to post your comments on how you find this post or if you have any suggestions for me to improve on!