Con­tent mar­ket­ing has solid­i­fied its place amongst the core tools in a marketer’s arse­nal. In Bill Gates’s pre­scient essay on the sub­ject back in 1996, he wrote, “Con­tent is where I expect much of the real mon­ey will be made on the Inter­net, just as it was in broad­cast­ing.” This has been large­ly proven true.

Take a look at the cur­rent land­scape of con­tent on the Inter­net. Most busi­ness­es, no mat­ter how large or small, are blog­ging to some degree. They have active social media accounts. The most suc­cess­ful brands pub­lish videos, blog posts, info­graph­ics, webi­na­rs and an entire gamut of con­tent types that attract users to their sites.

This is the land­scape Gates envi­sioned, and we’ve come far from the ini­tial lack of con­tent on the World Wide Web. We’re now awash in it. The prob­lem isn’t find­ing con­tent in the first place—it’s sift­ing through the sheer vol­ume of it.

If you want your brand’s voice to be heard and improve the expe­ri­ence your cus­tomers have, you need to know what the best types of con­tent are. Under­stand­ing that will pro­vide you with a start­ing point to bet­ter inter­act with the peo­ple that keep your busi­ness going.

1. Social Media

These days if you aren’t avail­able on the major social plat­forms (like Face­book, Insta­gram, Twit­ter, LinkedIn and Pin­ter­est), reg­u­lar­ly putting out con­tent, you’re prob­a­bly invis­i­ble to a lot of poten­tial clients. It’s worth at least cre­at­ing pro­files on the major social media sites and employ soft­ware tools to man­age them with­out much of a time invest­ment.

If noth­ing else, Face­book is an essen­tial. Its robust cus­tom audi­ence tools and paid con­tent options make it a major oppor­tu­ni­ty for any busi­ness. With an audi­ence of almost 2.5 bil­lion month­ly users, you’re just about guar­an­teed to find peo­ple you can con­nect with in your niche.

And if you want to use social media to dri­ve read­ers back to your web­site, GrowthBadger’s Kyle Byers recent­ly ana­lyzed SimilarWeb’s data and came to the con­clu­sion that Face­book deliv­ers near­ly two-thirds of all social traf­fic refer­rals to web­sites.

Insta­gram is anoth­er plat­form that’s huge­ly pop­u­lar, par­tic­u­lar­ly for brands that have appeal­ing visu­al con­tent. Twitter’s mak­ing a resur­gence. Both Pin­ter­est and Snapchat hold niche poten­tial. No mat­ter what your busi­ness is, you need social media.

Don’t neglect reg­u­lar posts, even if they’re just updates about your busi­ness. Take com­mand of your Face­book page and shape your online rep­u­ta­tion by being respon­sive and let­ting peo­ple know you’re there.

2. Personalized Video

Video con­tent has long been rec­og­nized as an effec­tive tool for mar­ket­ing teams. In one study, 52% of mar­keters said it was the con­tent medi­um with the best ROI.

But what about per­son­al­ized video?

I recent­ly spoke with Dan­ny Kalish, cofounder and CTO of Ido­moo about this sub­ject. He spent a lot of time doing video for large com­pa­nies and the results speak for them­selves. He explains, “We’ve done a lot of work with mort­gage com­pa­nies, which don’t nec­es­sar­i­ly sound like they’d have a video-cen­tric audi­ence, but through our work with six out of the top ten mort­gage firms in the world, we’ve seen the incred­i­ble val­ue that can be cre­at­ed by sim­ply mov­ing to a more cus­tomer-cen­tric com­mu­ni­ca­tion medi­um. See­ing a com­pli­cat­ed sub­ject bro­ken down in a video that’s tai­lored to your spe­cif­ic needs at a giv­en point in time is a big deal—and we can tell by the num­bers.”

Kalish con­tin­ues, “Look­ing holis­ti­cal­ly at our work in this ver­ti­cal, we found that over 80% of cus­tomers watched their per­son­al­ized videos to the end, with two thirds of them click­ing on the call to action that appears at the end of the video.”

Per­son­al­ized video can be a huge boost for your con­tent, espe­cial­ly if you’re deal­ing with a com­pli­cat­ed sub­ject. Peo­ple respond well to per­son­al­iza­tion, no mat­ter what the context—but video is even more effec­tive than most avenues due to the visu­al for­mat and ease of diges­tion.

Personalized Video

3. Long-Form Blog Content

There’s a rea­son blogs are still a big part of most com­pa­nies’ con­tent mix: they still work. As recent mar­ket­ing sta­tis­tics show, a whop­ping 55% of mar­keters rank blog­ging as a top pri­or­i­ty in their inbound mar­ket­ing efforts.

Mar­keters who pri­or­i­tize blog­ging are 13 times more like­ly to have a pos­i­tive ROI. And most high-per­form­ing posts seem to be between 2,250 and 2,500 words.

Shock­ing? Maybe. But it’s clear that there’s still an audi­ence that wants to see high-qual­i­ty, well-craft­ed con­tent that dives deep­er than your aver­age arti­cle online.

Long-form blog con­tent still has a huge role to play in your mix of con­tent. Try dig­ging into some ideas for longer posts and cre­at­ing more in-depth pieces if you haven’t—it’s bet­ter posi­tioned to rank high in search engines than most oth­er con­tent types.

4. Infographics

Pre­sent­ing infor­ma­tion visu­al­ly is still one of the most effec­tive ways to get a point across to an audi­ence. When Ven­ngage sur­veyed over 500 mar­keters, they found that 37% of the visu­als mar­keters used, were info­graph­ics. And info­graph­ics were by far the for­mat that drove the most engage­ment.

There’s always a place for use­ful infor­ma­tion pre­sent­ed in an appeal­ing, eas­i­ly-digestible and share­able for­mat. Info­graph­ics should be an essen­tial part of your dig­i­tal con­tent mix.

Your cus­tomers will appre­ci­ate the abil­i­ty to eas­i­ly parse the data you’re giv­ing them, and info­graph­ics have a ten­den­cy to spread far from their orig­i­nal source—especially if they’re heavy with use­ful sta­tis­tics, facts or fig­ures with­in your indus­try.

5. Webinars

Webi­na­rs are one of the most unique ways to get high­ly-qual­i­fied leads. Though they tend not to have a high live atten­dance rate, with an indus­try aver­age of around 44%, webi­na­rs are still use­ful vehi­cles to dri­ve peo­ple to learn more about your prod­uct. Plus, you can always record the event and send it to those that miss the live show­ing.

In some mar­ket­ing cir­cles though, webi­na­rs get a bad rap, along with oth­er tra­di­tion­al pieces of con­tent like PDF eBooks. The prob­lem isn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly with the format—it’s that there are sim­ple tons of mediocre webi­na­rs out there that peo­ple don’t feel com­pelled to engage with.

Make yours dif­fer­ent. Pro­vide real, last­ing val­ue and don’t dig into the hard sell on your webi­nar. You’ll see the div­i­dends in the form of more qual­i­fied leads and more word of mouth expo­sure.

Con­tent mar­ket­ing can feel like an ever-rear­rang­ing puz­zle, as com­pa­nies try to find the most effec­tive ways to reach more cus­tomers.

These five types of con­tent can be the cor­ner­stones of your mar­ket­ing efforts if you’re will­ing to exper­i­ment, put in the work and incor­po­rate feed­back from your cus­tomers as you move for­ward.

Try weav­ing them into your mar­ket­ing mix and you’ll reap the rewards of more leads, bet­ter engage­ment and increased sales.

SOURCE: Forbes