Great content has always been a part of human social culture. From cave drawings and manuscripts to the blog like the one you are reading, their mediums are many and incredibly compelling when used in the right circumstance. According to the Content Marketing Institute, one of the most effective ways to promote a business is via good content. At least half of all marketers either are or are planning to use content to reach their customers.
In this blog post, we will be going over some of the mediums over which content is created and how they are used.
The most commonly used medium for content, books have been around for centuries. Be it to share ideas or to read for the simple pleasure of it; there are books on all topics and of all kinds. Books are revered for the plethora of content and knowledge it has passed down over the years.
Generally following the format of the heading followed by an account by an author on a particular subject, articles are often seen in newspapers where the author reveals a news story. The topic of an article is researched by the author and is reported concisely for readers to understand the subject.
Taking inspiration from articles and with a few more freedoms compared to them, blogs, too, are accounts of a topic researched by the author. Taking liberties in formatting and structure, blogs aim to keep the reader engaged in the piece by using subheadings, visuals, infographics, and so on. This piece of content that you are reading is a blog. Did you know that WordPress users publish as many as 70 million posts each month?
Billboards are giant posters seen hovering over roadways and buildings in cities. These spaces are usually used for advertising products or services. Billboards are also used in some cases for announcements or messages to the public. One study says that people tend to look at at least 70% of the billboards as they pass.
Brochures or flyers are either a page or a few pages long (booklet) that contains printed information. They are usually handed out in person and comprise information about a product or service. They usually contain pictures with brief content. Brochures are commonly seen in hotels. According to Bentley University, about 80% of people who come across a brochure consider visiting the business.
A whitepaper is a report or guide published by an organization. It aims to inform the readers about a product or issue compellingly and the organization’s philosophy behind it. Whitepapers facilitate understanding of a subject for people to make informed decisions about it.
Magazines are booklets containing different kinds of content like articles, interviews, and advertisements about products and services of different brands. Their content is curated around a theme or topic. Some examples include sports, health, nature magazines, and so on.
- Case Studies
Case studies are tools used in research. They are detailed studies of events that happened in the past surrounding a certain subject. Events are carefully studied to see what decisions were made and how they impacted that outcome. It helps uncover possible solutions for future problems and understand what decisions could be made to avoid problems. It is one of the leading content formats that at least 54% of B2B customers engage with during their buying process, according to the Demand Gen Report, 2020.
Interviews with persons of interest are printed in the form of questions and answers. These accounts are printed as quoted by the interviewee for accuracy and authenticity.
- Product Guides
Companies publish guides explaining products or services offered by them. These guides detail what the product does, its functionality, and other information for their clients to fully understand the product and utilize all its features.
Newsletters are usually reports about the ongoing activities of a company. They are shared with the company’s customers to keep them updated with what is happening and inform them about the products and services they can look forward to. According to statistics, newsletters in 2021 have an average open rate of 16.97%.
- Frequently Asked Questions
Most company websites generally have a page dedicated to Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). These cover a base range of questions that could arise about the company and some specific answers about procedures and processes. FAQs are used primarily as a form of customer support.
There has been an explosion of content created over the visual and audio medium with advancements in technology and the internet. Let’s look at a few audio content forms that people enjoy, and marketers use in one way or another.
Music in itself has been a form of content enjoyed by humans ever since we existed. Nowadays, music and sound are enjoyed individually and as a fundamental addition to other mediums of content too. Background music and theme songs create powerful associations and emotional reactions based on the context. Advertising jingles, promotional songs, etc., have been used by brands to push their brand message for several decades.
With the surge of smartphone usage in our lives, we have changed how we read books. Books are now available in a vocal format in the form of audiobooks which can be listened to from start to finish. This medium has gained a lot of popularity as books can now be read without having the restrictions of physically holding them and reading on.
Podcasts are long-format conversations between two people that are recorded and streamed unedited. Podcasts have gained a lot of popularity as these formats allow for longer conversations which help people understand the nuances of an argument when not restricted to time. There are many brilliant podcasts available online with some of the most fascinating minds on the planet. According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers, India is the third-largest market for podcasts in the world, with 57.6 million listeners every month. The top two markets are China and the US.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Images are used to provide information instantly. Images are used worldwide and are an integral part of the content in the current culture. Instagram has turned out to be the most important visual format of social media that helps users express themselves via pictures.
- Movies & TV shows
Movies and TV shows are great sources of content for entertainment. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar are some of the few platforms that allow streaming of visual content like movies, documentaries, TV shows and sports.
Videos are a highly captivating medium of content. They instantly capture the attention of the audience. Videos can be made for informational, educational, or entertainment purposes. YouTube is one of the most famous websites on the internet for sharing and watching videos online. Do you know how many hours of online videos are people watching every week on average? About 16 hours! This is an increase of 52% over the last few years. In 2022, at least 86% of customers are interested in seeing more video content from brands.
Infographics are used as tools to assist in understanding statistics and analysis visually. Primarily using charts and graphs, they provide crucial information at a glance to the reader.
Starting out as funny captioned pictures, memes have turned into a revolution. With memes going viral faster than one can keep up with or track. They can best be described as pictures whose essence is to describe a situation in a manner that is highly relatable.
GIFs are short videos of a few seconds that play on repeat. They are generally used due to their convenience and ease of shareability. Some memes have even evolved over from picture to GIF format.
Vlogs, derived from the word Video Logs, are video accounts of people’s experiences. They vary from travel vlogs to food vlogs to just vlogs about the vlogger’s day. Recent statistics state that 44% of internet users consume vlogs every month.
- How-to Videos
How-to videos are videos that are made to demonstrate how to do something. They are usually made by people who are novices at their craft and are a great entry point for developing a new skill or learning to do something just once. They are extremely popular and rank second on this list.
- Educational Videos
There are many videos available online that focus on providing education on different subjects. Videos of lectures and animated educational videos allow people to gather knowledge on the subject of interest.
Presentations are generally created to assist with explaining a subject to an audience. They include slides with pictures, infographics, and information for the audience to see while the speaker presents his ideas.
- Product Reviews and Guides
Product reviews and guides in video format are one of the most popularly consumed videos on the internet. Many YouTubers have channels where they review products. These reviews then are watched by an audience who considers them while purchasing products.
- Video Games
Video games allow audiences to interact with the content by means of a controller. They make for a more immersive experience as they actively require input. Video games are used as narratives for stories or for entertainment as well.
- Live streams
Popular video games can be live-streamed for an audience when being played. Professional gamers usually stream their content, and these streams can be monetized. Sites like Twitch and Discord service gaming and streams.
Polls are taken online to record audience sentiment. They allow organizations and companies to quickly gauge opinions that can then help decision-making. Polls also allow for audience involvement. An example is Formula 1, where an online poll chooses the driver of the day.
Webinars are a type of online conferencing. They have gained massive popularity during the COVID-19 pandemic when many jobs have adapted to the work from home model. They are primarily used for organizing seminars, albeit on the web.
- Q&A and AMA
Question and Answer (QnA) and Ask Me Anything (AMA) are common discussion formats for forums where questions are asked by an audience and answered by a person or an organization. It is a great way for audiences online to interact with people they would otherwise not be able to reach easily. Reddit is popular for these types of forums where many personalities have signed up to conduct AMA sessions.
- Discussion Forums
Websites like Reddit and quora offer forums for discussions on a wide variety of topics. You can find discussions, perspectives, and stories on a topic of interest on these forums. Topics can vary from sports to science to music and just about anything under the sun.
Now that we have seen some of the most common and popular forms of contents available today, you can now choose the one best suitable for your viewership or for your business. If you are a marketer or an entrepreneur, this comprehensive list will surely provide you some ideas to ponder over for your next content strategy.