5 Types of Content That Every Business Must Employ

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Dawn Endico via Flickr

The creation and distribution of content has become such a significant aspect of effective marketing that it requires a high place in the strategy conversation in most every business.

Some might go as far as to suggest content marketing has become the most effective way to build a business.

The word content is confusing enough as it’s bantered around these days, but it’s also difficult for many small business owners to come up with a big picture view of the role content plays in the acquisition of clients.

Strategically, the word content must mean more than a blog post or a blank sheet of paper each day. You must begin to think of your content as a total body of work that is being built to serve your business over time.

You must understand and create content for the most important keyword phrases for your industry, the essential themes of education in your business, and your company’s core points of differentiation.

You must also think in terms of your content as a tool that moves prospects from awareness to conversion and in this effort there are at least five types of content that you must address. Each type must be considered as part of your overall content strategy.

I’ve listed each below and I also discuss them in the audio track that accompanies this post.

Content that builds trust – One of the first jobs of your content is to bridge the gap from awareness to trust building. Your SEO efforts actually marry with this type of content to make sure you are both found and found in abundance.

  • How to content – specific advice or tips and tricks
  • Reviews – customer reviews on sites like Yelp and Google Places
  • Testimonials – endorsements from happy customers
  • Articles – articles you’ve written or that mention your firm in outside publications

Content that educates – Once you create awareness and trust a prospect will be hungry to find out much more about your unique approach, your solution, your story and your organization.

  • White papers – not boring, dry technical stuff, your best writing tying a bigger topic together
  • Newsletter – Weekly or monthly education that nurtures their interest
  • Seminars – in person or online, these allow prospects to learn as well as engage
  • FAQs – some folks just need the answers to their questions and this format serves well
  • Survey data – results from surveys can be very compelling as a way to let prospects know you understand them

Customer generated content – Getting your customers involved in the production of content builds loyalty and community, creates proof of results and gives you another avenue for content creation.

  • Automatic referrals and reviews – create ways to move happy customers to a referral and review process
  • Testimonials – automate this process by providing online audio and video tools
  • Video success stories – create events that bring customers together to tell their story and network

Other people’s content – one of the primary jobs of marketers these days is to provide some insight to the stream of information that our customers face. Filtering and aggregating content produced by others is not only a great service, it’s a great differentiator.

  • Custom RSS feeds – create customer or industry specific feeds to share
  • Republish, Share, RT – point to and share great content that being produced
  • Curate – use tools like Storify to collect and republish customer newsletters

Content that converts – this last category is one that gets overlooked in the write for writing sake view of content. Ultimately, great content has the ability to call and convert prospects to the action of buying.

  • In person events – live events are the absolute best way to use content to close
  • Case studies – deep studies into the success of another client act as tangible proof in the buying decision
  • ROI calculators – use content to help prospects understand the specific value of making a change
  • Results – provide documented proof results in simple and easy to understand forms that address the common needs of most prospects.

I’m in Alaska this week so I’ll be sharing some photos from their in my posts.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • http://www.facebook.com/angela.hausman Angela Hausman

    Enjoy Alaska.  This is great and a good start for those days when you’re staring at a blank screen with no idea what to write about.  I like to organize content into columns, like a newspaper might because it 1) provides valuable content; 2) builds reputation in a niche; and 3) provides some structure to maintain constancy and keep me from struggling with a topic; and 4) builds a community of followers.

    For instance, on Let’s Blog for Money (http://letsblogformoney.org), I blog on step-by-step blogging creation on Thurs.; share tips and tools on Sat.; and demonstrate the results achieved using these on Tue.  It works for me.  Others might have more advice on content that helps build traffic to your blog.

  • http://dougridley.net Doug Ridley

    Working with not-for-profits, I focused in on #2. I think by sharing your knowledge and educating your peers, followers, community, etc… you position yourself as a leader in your specific field.

  • http://www.colemanmg.com/ Antonio Coleman

    Our world id build on content and we must know how to write it to be able to engage our readers. Write content from the heart and people will follow.

    “Black Seo Guy “Signing Off”

  • http://faberglas.net/ faberglas

    “I’m in Alaska this week so I’ll be sharing some photos from their in my posts.” Wouldn’t, “I’m in Alaska this week so I’ll be sharing some photos in my posts.”, be better? There is a there there. 😉

  • http://equinejointsupplements.blogspot.com mauricio

    You make me understand. I like the post. The post is very Useful. Thank you, this advice will come in handy.

  • http://www.diversifiedlabelimages.com/blog Diversified

    Very interesting article. Content is critical, thank you for addressing this issue.


  • http://www.theuniversalmathematics.com/ DIESEL

    Content is certainly the most important aspect, great article.


  • Al Pittampalli

    Great categorization John. Case studies are one of the best forms of contents, because they convert, and add so much value to the reader–they help them look past the resistance, if someone else has done it, of course they can too.

  • http://twitter.com/jenika29 Jenika

    Great post about content – and so important (particularly about building trust)! Thanks for sharing!Have fun in Alaska!

  • http://homeremediesmd.com Home Remedies MD

    I think more businesses needs to start implementing a Q&A section on their website so that users can ask questions and they can get the answers to those questions

  • http://www.online-business-virtual-assistant.com/ Shilpi Roy – Virtual Assistant

     We have to optimize our  content to the best it could be in order to give our website a decent chance to move up the rankings web.

  • Shweta sahu

    Your post is very useful and resourceful for lots of users, thanks for sharing great tips and information and it also helps me a  to develop my website. 


  • http://www.emmakatrichardson.com Emma Kat Richardson

    It’s so easy to dismiss content as a simplistic given to business management, but I don’t think many people really pause to reflect on how integral content really is to success. It’s not just about savvy networking skills or innovative strategy: it’s also contingent on a solid content base. Messaging is at the heart of any ambitious operation, and this article spells out beautifully how to manage that vital aspect to its highest potential.

  • Video Production

    Nice tips, especially the video segment. Testimonials in particular are one of the most powerful tools a business has at its disposal and displaying those through video productions rather than text is even more powerful. Just like video helps show a human side and a more approachable side to your company, by making client testimonial videos your clients can feel that way about the previous clients suggesting your company to them. Also if you’re thinking of going into RSS blogging and hosting seminars, why not take those into video too? Webinars are quickly becoming popular online and video blogs have absolutely shot through the roof. Video gets behind text and pictures like no other media can so it’s worth investing time into not only creating content for your business, but making it the best content possible, which means putting it on popular medias, accessible medias and medias that your clients will feel excited and comfortable about using. Top article though. AH Skeleton Productions.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OXVT7THQZEBNT3SZKYQ7MDDHZM Kevin Wade

    Thanks for sharing.  I think for a lot of small business owners, the internet is vague and unfamiliar to them.  Most of them, now that I think about it, probably grew up when the internet didn’t exist.  So they know how to market locally and others still know how to market on a wide scale without the internet.  But by sharing this kind of information, you’re helping them to learn the internet.  Who knows?  Maybe even marketing automation software will be of use to them. 

    • http://sylvanmedia.com/blog Michael

      Hi Kevin,

      I think you are right that there are several small businesses that may not know anything about the internet, let alone social media.  But I also have encountered a ton of entrepreneurs who know the power of social media but simply don’t have the time or resources to execute.  Automation is useful but can be limiting a company’s reach don’t you think?


  • http://www.CassiusBlueConsulting.com Brandi Starr

    Content is King! Great post, when talking to new business owners one of the challenges most have are feeling like they don’t know what to share. This is a great way to categorize the types of content. To take it a step further these categories could be used to plan content to ensure a good mix.

    My blog post yesterday was on ‘Other people’s content’ and ways to aggregate the content that others share.

  • Nina

    I checked the “open in a new window/tab” so that people do not have to leave my blog!  Hint, hint!
    Thanks for the plugin!

  • http://www.contentbrother.com Prabu Rajasekaran

    Awesome John. Adding one post from each of the above categories is a fast way to grow any business online. 

    These also make for excellent content niche ideas. 

    Thank you for a highly useful post.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I would agree

  • http://www.b-advised.be Eric

    Great article!!!