Everyone in the internet marketing industry has heard the term that content is king. Some may not know who first coined this term. It was back in 1996, when the infamous Bill Gates created an article on Microsoft.com that has since been taken down. With the help of the Wayback Machine we can see the original article. Oh Bill, you were ahead of your time.
So many different kinds of content
Before you decide which piece of viral content to create, you need to figure out what your customers and users want. Look at your industry and what questions customers are asking. Be the authority in your industry by answering these questions through your content. Also, you want to make sure that the content is unique and hasn’t been covered already. If it has, maybe it is outdated and there are new statistics or outlooks on the topic and you need to refresh it. A great tool I like to use besides Google is this outdated content finder from Greenlane. Anyone that had mentioned that old piece of content would gladly share the updated version of it after you create it. Even better, get them involved when you are creating it so you know they will share it when it’s ready since they had a hand in it.
Image: Cirrus Media
Just remember one thing when creating these pieces of content: Do not make them promotional whatsoever. Bloggers and journalists will see that and nobody wants to promote someone else’s company if they don’t know you…they just want to share awesome content with their followers. If you want to create something promotional, that’s what commercials and advertisements are for.
Make sure your content idea is evergreen, so you can continue to get inbound links long after your campaign is over. Your content should appeal to the masses, not just a very small niche industry. This will make outreach of your content very difficult if it is only directed at a very small group. So, have content that is broad in your industry which gives you a bigger spectrum to reach out to. Once you have figured out your viral idea, now you want to figure out the best type of content to create. Keep in mind that some of these will require a much higher budget, and this list is in a general order of cheaper to more expensive.
- Press releases – While they lost their SEO value some time ago, these can still be beneficial when actually announcing something newsworthy about your company. Hmm, actually releasing a press release about news…real company marketing. This will still bring a lot of traffic and leads to your business and still provide benefits.
- Resource page – Whatever industry you work in, try to make the ultimate resource page that will answer all questions about your niche that people might want to know. If you can create one amazing page that answers every question someone in your industry would want to know, then you will have inbound links and marketing for years to come.
- Top 10 lists – Everyone likes a good top 10 list. It’s worked for how long for David Letterman? When you list others in your industry on this top 10 list there’s a good chance they will want to mention it on their site.
- Surveys – Speaking of surveys, you can always do a good old survey and ask the experts or influencers in your industry to participate and lead the way. Get them involved in the questions you should ask, and then they will likely share it when it’s ready.
- Slides – Sharing presentations or useful information in PowerPoint slides, Prezi presentations, or by sharing them on sites like Slideshare can give the user a quick click-thru to devour the information as they wish.
- Contests – Hold an online content or sweepstakes for one of your products. Get customers and users to share socially, get involved in the contest by submitting images or content, or find the most influential blogger in your industry to hold these on their site. This gives you great brand awareness and gets the word out about your company.
- Quiz – Test the user and see what they know about your niche. These can be fun and you can have a leaderboard because who doesn’t like competition? Offer badges for high scores that they can easily pin, share socially, or put up on their site which links back to your site.
- Memes – Everyone loves a good meme. They are funny and easily shareable. Most people nowadays have a 10 second time span before they need to keep scrolling, so get your brand out there with some funny memes. Takeshi Young wrote a great post on Moz on how to use memes to get backlinks and traffic.
- E-books – Put together all the useful information of your industry into an e-book. Use something like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to find other experts in your industry who are willing to answer questions and be included in your e-book.
- Videos – Everyone loves visuals and videos. So create something funny and awesome. Do a music video spoof with your co-workers or something more professional and put it on Youtube which will bring traffic to your site for years to come.
- Podcasts – Do a weekly a monthly podcast to get your followers engaged with your information. You can either do audio or video podcasts, depending on how pretty that mug of yours is.
- Comics or cartoons – Give a little humorous edge to your industry and create some fun and engaging cartoons. These, just like memes, are great for sharing socially, and Google takes social signals into effect when determining rankings.
- Data visualizations – Put together some compelling, or even controversial statistics backed up by studies and get it out there. People love visualizations and they love to debate.
- Infographics – These tend to have gotten a bad rap after they became the new trend to do in SEO. Companies started out spitting out low-quality spamfographics that didn’t really give much value to the user. They just did it because their competitors were or it was the thing to do at the time. Create infographics that provide answers, value and give compelling statistics that will give influential marketers and readers the desire to share it.
- Gifographics – The younger brother to infographics, gifographics are a cool new way to share infographics. It adds a cool little feature to add animated images inside an infographic.
- Interactive graphics – The mac daddy of infographics. They add interactive data visualizations inside your graphics and can even get engagement inside the graphic for the user. You can create surveys and other types of engagement that can provide live and shareable results.
- Whiteboard videos – If you haven’t seen one before check them out. These are time-lapsed videos that amazing artists create around the content idea you want to get out there.
- Widgets or tools – Creating useful widgets and tools are just that…useful. If people have a need for them and they help the end-user, Google will see that and rank you higher because it is their goal to provide the best experience to answer a searcher’s question. EZSolution created some awesome cost calculators to help business owners calculate costs of downtime, disaster recovery, and the cost and time-saving benefits of spam and internet content filtering. The great thing about these is you can create embed codes so that others can post your tool or widget on their site, which gives you a link back as well. You can do this for almost every piece of content you create, but tread lightly as Matt Cutts advised that the links inside the embed code should be no followed because some black hatters and spammers didn’t play by the rules…as usual.
- Motion graphics – The ultimate form of videos. It takes an expert videographer as well as graphic designer and programmer to be able to put together an awesome motion graphic. But when you see the outcome, it will be well worth the money spent.
This is a good list of the popular forms of content that are out there today, but there are other types of content that you get out there to market your brand or client.
Just remember to keep it unique, original, never been done, not promotional, useful, resourceful, and most importantly…really awesome. You want it to be so great that your competitor will want to post it on their site, and when they do you know you created the right piece of content. As Bill Gates said content is king, so follow that golden rule when creating amazing and useful content. You will then find your company or client becoming an authority brand in their industry which Google will reward you for.
Article written by Michael Juba