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Content Types

10 Types of Content that We ALL Love!

When it comes to successful content marketing, we all know by now that content that pushes people’s buttons and makes them “feel” (as cheesy as that may sound) is the kind of content that gets shared.

The problem is, sometimes we as bloggers just don’t have a clue on what to write about!

Writer’s block happens even to the best of us, and it’s nice to help break through this “stalling” of our creativity with a good list of content types that people crave.

Today, I’ve put together a list of 10 content types that people just love to read, in hopes that one might serve as inspiration for you to create some “Wow!” content in your own niche.

1.) Content that reminds us, “It’s possible”

If you’re going to create inspirational content, remember that this is one of the styles that people love the most.

Jeff Goins is known for doing this well (at least in my humble opinion) in his pursuit to convince people that they are writers, and the first step is to believe in themselves.

The thing to avoid here is selling “fluff”, skyhooks, and unrealistic dreams.

The thing to do is to motivate people to overcome their fears of getting started, and encourage them (with actual advice!) on how to take the first step.

Warn them of the trials to come, but reassure them it is possible.

You can be the person that influences a big project if you use the right words and can guide those looking for a direction to the right path.

2.) Content that fixes a specific problem

A huge majority of blog posts tell you that they are going to solve a problem, but often times they are just too vague to get anything really useful done.

This is especially noticeable in the “blogging about blogging” world: “Oh, you promise to get me more traffic, huh?”

Then the post is about generic tips that pretty much every blogger knows about.

The fix?

Teach people something very specific!

If they learn one thing from your post, and it’s useful, they will remember you.

Sean Davis is very good at this, he creates Thesis tutorials and other specific web design tips like how to style an AWeber form.

Sean himself noticed this and commented about it:

So, what specific, actionable advice could you be teaching people?

3.) Content that motivates us to action

The above being said, content that gets people to take action is also very useful and has a purpose in your content marketing efforts.

The main thing here is to get away from “hoo rah!” content that just makes people feel good and started creating motivating content that gets people to take a single, positive action for themselves.

I’ve covered how research has shown folks are unlikely to take action even if they are afraid without proper instructions.

A quick formula for creating this content is:

  1. Inspire the reader
  2. Lay the plan
  3. Dictate the directions

With motivation, a general plan, and specific first steps to take, you can guarantee that people will actually follow your advice, and when you give good advice, they’ll remember you for it.

4.) Content that makes us laugh (or happy)

People simply love content that’s going to make them feel good.

That’s why goofy sites like 9Gag (no I am not linking to that) can be so popular: humor goes a long way to satisfying people’s entertainment needs.

I should know, I run two entertainment blogs myself, a recent endeavor called That Space Bass has taught me that you can really “change people’s lives”… even with entertaining content!

How so?

Well, for my site, I’ve received emails from people who have said that I’ve, “Totally changed their taste in music”, it’s nice to know a guy with a computer can have that kind of impact, even a few weeks in!

How can you do the same?

If your content is of the entertainment variety (and all of it should be in some sense), be sure to tap into the taboo, what’s on people’s minds right now, and to add some insight into the “mundane” things that are sometimes funny in our lives.

Mattew Inman (from TheOatmeal) gives a great Ted Talk on this very subject.

5.) Content that reveals “secrets”

Giving away “the goods” always gets people fired up.

The thing is, you don’t need to be coming up with never before seen information in order to reveal a ‘secret’, the information just needs to be not totally obvious.

Take for example, this post on how waiters increased tips by 23% by using mints.

The psychology study mentioned was by no means a secret, but it’s not something that nearly enough people know about to make it “duh” information.

For many people, it was new information, and revealing the secret involved made it a successful post.

If you can find this type of info (or create it by using information you’ve gathered from a case study), you are one your way to a dynamite post that people will love.

6.) Content that tells us a story

Storytelling is a key aspect of good content marketing.

Sean Platt has a great quote on the matter:

The first thing to do when you’re telling a story is to not address a mass of “readers”, but rather treat your reader as an individual.

You like it when people talk to you directly, don’t you? ;)

Weaving a great tale (and a truthful one!) is so critical to building a thriving audience online; without a good story to tell behind your blog, you’re just another website with information.

Let people connect with you, they want to, so make it easy for them by creating content that tells a good story.

7.) Content that satiates our topical passion

The best way to create a unique selling proposition that sticks is to come up with a unique “twist” and provide that twist to an audience with a huge passion for a topic.

This means you also need to create pillar content, which is that super in-depth (and super long, prepare your typing fingers!) kind of content that just covers a topic in a totally exhaustive style.

The thing is, lots of smart folks are doing this in areas outside of blogging, such as how Dan Carlin creates his Hardcore History podcast.

Dan is knowing for creating quality content with a ton of personality (his USP), but he’s also not afraid to go big: here’s a podcast he did that’s nearly 3 hours on The Dark Ages of Eurasia.

You might look at that and say, “Who cares?”, but to Dan’s history obsessed audience (*ahem*, right here!), this was an A-Z superb piece of content on a very large span of history.

8.) Content that challenges our assumptions

Most people would assume that it would be impossible to travel around the world for 8 years straight….

Yet over at Fluent In 3 Months, Benny shows us that not only has he been doing it, but he showcased a ton of life lessons he learned along the way.

(That post has had hundred of thousands of shares… any wonder why?)

Find an assumption that people have in your niche (or in general).

Find data, examples, or life experience that really puts forwards a good case as to why those assumptions are wrong.

People always get fired up when you go against the grain, it’s time to let your content ruffle some feathers.

9.) Content that visualizes information

People LOVE images.

Recently, however, marketers have found that people really love information images, or what I like to call information visualization (because, you know, it rhymes!)

Things like infographics, “shareables”, and slideshows are all great ways to take information and put it in a concise visual format.

Below I’ve included a sample of taking a short blog post and turning it into a slideshow.

You might be surprised to find that this quick slideshow hit the homepage of SlideShare and brought me over 2000+ unique visitors!:

How can you create visual content if you’re not a designer, and if you don’t want to use PowerPoint?

Well, here are a few to get you started:

You can also check out resources like GraphicRiver for image content.

10.) Content that gives us a “place to start”

When getting started with a new interest, it can seems overwhelming.

That’s where great content can alleviate a big problem.

If you can round-up (or give a BIG overview) of a large topic for people to “get their hands dirty”, they will not only be grateful, but likely share the resource with others when people ask them how to get started.

Some examples of this include:

What aspects of your niche could you cover to help people get over the first hurdle?

Over To You

Whew, thanks for making it to the bottom of this article, you rock!

If you want to know what’s next, I’ve got 3 things for you to do (if you’d like)…

  1. Tell me what types of content that You just love to read, or types of content you never pass up on checking out.
  2. Let me know (in the comments) which of these content types you plan to use on your next post!
  3. Since you made it all the way down here, as my gift to you, feel free to download my free e-Book on ‘Conversion Psychology’ right this instant! :)

Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you in the comments!

Image © Andres Rodriguez – Fotolia.com

Gregory Ciotti is a content strategist who is obsessed with behavioral psychology. He's the marketing guy at Help Scout, the invisible email support software for solopreneurs & small business owners.

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{ 17 comments… add one }

  • bert October 25, 2012, 3:15 pm

    Great list to walk through when out of inspiration what to write about.

  • Jane
    Twitter:
    July 21, 2012, 2:34 am

    I vote for content that shares a secret. Isn’t that we humans are always curious? Not only does curiosity kill a cat it also does kill humans (much more than the cat lol). So if the word “Secret” appears on the headline or if the content reveals a secret, it is always lovable!

  • Michal Lusk July 13, 2012, 11:49 am

    Personally, I love a concise and specific list. You nailed it–many blogs advise that great content stirs engagement, but yours is the first I have seen to list specific types of content that readers connect with. And of course my next step is to SHARE! Thanks!

  • Chris Norton
    Twitter:
    July 11, 2012, 7:30 am

    Another really good and sugestive post – I love this list. I especially like the secrets revealed stuff. We also love the top ten thing which is exactly what you have done with this post. Thanks
    Chris Norton recently posted..Andy Murray’s tears could be the PR moment he connected with the publicMy Profile

  • Morgan
    Twitter:
    July 6, 2012, 10:21 am

    Hi Gregory!

    Excellent advice! I read a lot of blogs that give advice about creating content, but this is the first one that has really made me go, “Yeah! That’s the ticket!” :)

    I think the information and resources presented in #9 will help A LOT for me because I need to start creating my own infographics and pics. It sends a much better message when the images are branded or specialized instead of generic.

    Thanks for this info packed post!
    Morgan recently posted..Don’t Look Up To Big Corporations For Social Media IdeasMy Profile

  • James
    Twitter:
    June 28, 2012, 7:39 pm

    Great post Gregory,

    I find that when writing an article, I think about all of these things. Sometimes I try to incorporate all of these into a long article, but the shorter ones, I try and just add few of the important ones.

    If you sit back and think about what you are about to write about and ask these simple questions, you can easily write a great article with a lot of good content to share with your readers.
    James recently posted..Work Hacks: Ten tips for working smarter, not harderMy Profile

  • Anthony Morris
    Twitter:
    June 28, 2012, 3:53 am

    Another awesome article, just tweeted it.

    I’m just starting out in web publishing and it’s great to seek advice from the veteran bloggers.

    I’m going to refocus my articals thanks to your post.

  • John June 15, 2012, 6:52 am

    Great article about detail explanation about content types. We all keep in mind that Content is King and Seo is Queen if we don\’t work on them properly than just a waste of time.

  • Jon D.
    Twitter:
    June 14, 2012, 4:18 pm

    I’m a big fan of “tutorial” content … both consuming and generating it. I guess it’s the teacher in me. It’s amazing what you can learn for free online and I love producing tutorials and how-to articles for readers. It’s concrete stuff that helps people.

  • Imran
    Twitter:
    June 14, 2012, 3:40 pm

    Content is really the king, even more today. People love interesting and engaging content. This in return boost the traffic of a website.

  • Dewane Mutunga
    Twitter:
    June 14, 2012, 11:04 am

    Greg,

    Content that solves a specific problem is everything. Most people are reading blog to figure out how to do one thing or another.

    It’s really important to give people action steps that they can do to see immediate results. When you do this, you win people over and grow a massive following.
    Dewane Mutunga recently posted..How To Follow Up Like An Expert And Convert More Leads Into SalesMy Profile

  • Aasma June 14, 2012, 4:41 am

    I think content that solve your problem and issue is always liked most. As it comes in rescue when you need it most plus helps you to build your trust and loyalty among readers.

  • Nishadha
    Twitter:
    June 14, 2012, 4:17 am

    Excellent list, the one I found most interesting is the second one which focuses on teaching people something specific. We have added lot of content related to diagramming in our blog but hasn’t really got lot of comments. Maybe it’s time we focus on teaching something very specific.
    Nishadha recently posted..SWOT analysis versus GAP analysisMy Profile

  • Devesh
    Twitter:
    June 13, 2012, 10:16 pm

    Hey Greg,

    Another excellent article. There are so many techniques that I’m yet to utilize, next I will be creating a long list (or roundup post) for both of my blogs.

    PS. Thatspacebass blog looks nice, who designed the header ;)?
    Devesh recently posted..Traffic Generation Through LinkedIn – LinkedIn Groups?My Profile

  • Sean Davis
    Twitter:
    June 13, 2012, 5:28 pm

    Woot woot! Who doesn’t love being mentioned in articles? :)

    Great tips here, Greg. I can’t stress enough how much people love concrete action steps to take. I thought everyone would be happy if I just made them feel good about something. Nope… that got me nowhere. Actionable tips changed everything, though.

    I also noticed that I don’t have to post as often if I have actionable articles. They seem to have a much longer “shelf life.” Very interesting stuff.

    Thanks again, man!
    Sean Davis recently posted..All Thesis Sites Look Alike, They Say… Let’s Go Ahead Switch Things Up A Bit WIth These CustomizationsMy Profile

    • Gregory Ciotti
      Twitter:
      June 13, 2012, 9:22 pm

      You’re very welcome bud!

      That actionable stuff likely lasts longer because people can refer to it (and refer it to others) for a longer period of time.

      “Feel good” posts are a dime a dozen, and they’ll be on to the next one in no time flat.

      But a good tutorial on something means you don’t have to look elsewhere.

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