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What is Content: Definitions, Types, and How Can It Help Your Brand ?

In the online world, both corporate and consumer communications need content to be effective and stay relevant. Through content, individuals discover, take in, and engage with brand information. Content, which is frequently the experience itself, directs consumers to brand experiences.

By providing practical information that tells a story in a relevant manner, content aims to elicit an emotion or engage the audience. Text, photos, videos, music, presentations, and other types of content can all be delivered synchronously or asynchronously. When used for marketing, content should reflect the company’s logo, be free of obvious advertising, and include a trackable call-to-action.

What is the Definition of Content?

Content can be defined as anything that conveys information and is published on a particular medium to be consumed by the audience and further distributed. The end goal of content is to deliver some kind of information, enjoyment or entertainment. It also delivers value.  

If you look up content in dictionaries, you will find the following content definition. 

Content is defined in dictionaries as “something that is to be expressed through some medium, as speech, writing, or any of various arts” and also as “any material, such as writing, video, or music, that appears on a website or other electronic medium”.

Content can take various forms for eg – it can be written content, audio content or visual content. You can consume content in countless ways – books, websites, marketing material, academic material, newspapers, videos, serials, movies, advertisements, interviews, articles, infographics, songs, music, audiobooks etc. 

Each piece of content has a certain function, adheres to a set structure, and is well-liked by the society it serves. Hence, content, specifically when it is curated for a brand, has three essential elements:

1. Purpose – There is a lot of fluff content on the internet, but even that was uploaded by someone who wanted to send across a piece of certain information to the public. From blogs to case studies, each piece of content has a specific purpose. For example, The New York Times aims to inform and entertain its readers. Their content types include news, podcasts, documentaries, and more, aim. Their goal is served through the content kinds they produce, such as news, podcasts, documentaries, and more.

2. Structure – A good piece of content has personality. The structure of a piece of content serves two purposes: it informs audiences about what to expect and allows organisations to reuse certain elements in novel ways. As an example, consider a case study that is used as a reference for a supplementary blog post.

Related Content: How to Write a Case Study to Convince and Convert Prospective Customers ?

3. Social Validity – Engagement is one of the primary reasons for content creation. And it is true that with great content you can not only retain your audience but also build a community. For instance, social media influencers like Kylie Jenner post content to expand their personal branding, which in turn helps them develop a loyal following.

What are Main Types of Content?

There are several types of content you can use in your content marketing campaigns. Not everyone consumes content in the same way and that is the biggest reason you should use different types of content. Also, it gives you an opportunity to create one piece and then reuse it in another form too. Here are the most popular types of content that you can use to attract and engage your target audience:

1. Website Content 

This is what forms the foundation of your website. Website content relays all the information that you, as a business, need to convey to your target audience. 

2. Blogs and Articles 

In general terms, a blog or an article is a web page that talks about a certain topic and also involves multiple related sub-topics. Depending on the need, a blog can be purely informational, partially transactional, or fully transactional. 

3. Short-form Content 

Although some marketers set the limit at 1,000 words, short-form content is commonly defined as having less than 1,200 words. Short and simple-to-digest content tackles a specific section of a topic rather than going too in-depth or detailed.

4. Long-format Content

This type of content usually covers a topic in great depth and requires a lot of research. The advantage of such content is that it gets more engagement, tends to fetch more traffic, is preferred by Google, and helps in organic lead generation. Ebooks, pillar pages, whitepapers, and guides are some popular examples of long-form content.

5. Visual Content

Visual content is primarily image-based online content. Pictures, diagrams, charts, infographics, online videos, graphics, animations, infographics, webinars, memes, and slide decks are all examples of visual content.

Related Content: Visual Content Formats that can Triple your Content Marketing Results

6. Interactive Content

Any type of material that encourages user participation to convey its message is considered interactive content. As a result, the content experience shifts from passive consumption to active participation. Calculators, quizzes, ebooks, videos, and animated infographics can all contain interactive elements.

7. Audio Content

Audio content is content that is consumed by listening. This type of content is well represented by music, radio, and podcasts.

Now these were the base categories of content. Each of these categories can further be split into various other forms of content. If you are interested to know about what those forms of content are, then head to our blog – “15 Content Writing Examples, When to Use Each, and Agency Content Writing Tips”. Here you will be able to see more content writing examples and how they are used, along with some very solid tips. 

Main Differences between Content and Content Marketing

This is a common confusion. People think that creating content and publishing it on the website is content marketing. In fact, we hear this also from clients who call us (Justwords) for our content marketing services. Well, to answer the question, content and content marketing are not the same. In fact, content creation is one part of the whole content marketing journey.

To put things in perspective, content can be anything that conveys a piece of information or an experience using writing, video, or audio as a medium. For example, what you’re reading right now is content. The 4 million pictures uploaded on Instagram in the past hour are content. All 800 million videos on YouTube are also content. 

What is content marketing? We have created a very detailed pillar page to answer this question and you can read it here. To explain it very simply, content marketing is a strategic digital marketing technique that uses strategy to build content regularly, and then distribute that content so that it reaches a very targeted audience, and prompts the buyer to take a profitable action (purchase). Also, this is not just any content that is created. Please note that content here is created to resolve the queries/pain points that your buyer has when he begins his search. The brand uses content marketing to appear again and again in front of the buyer, at various stages of his buying journey – Awareness, Interest, Desire, Purchase. At every stage content is used to shape the user’s buying journey and influence his choices. At every stage, the focus is to build trust about the brand. As trust starts getting built through content, the buyer is much more likely to purchase from that brand. It is for this reason content marketing is called pull marketing as opposed to push marketing.

How maketing funnel works

The Classic Content Marketing Funnel for Inbound 

So, hope you understand now that content marketing means much more than just creating the above content formats. Content marketing is about using your content to better the lives of your readers in someway. 

Why is Content so Important?

The simple answer is you just get more value from content than from paid forms of advertising. Also once created, a good content piece (backed by the right strategy) will continue to draw traffic and leads to your website consistently. 

Also another great thing about content marketing, is that it is organic marketing. What does this mean? You do not pay Google the huge bucks to keep showing in the ad results (which appears above the organic results). 

google ad result

Content marketing helps you show up organically. This piece of content that we created on “the top 15 content writing agencies in India” has been ranking and getting us organic leads. 

content gets more organic leads

The best part of organic leads is that the chances of their conversion is much much higher. 

And it all starts with content. Get your content right, and back it up with the right strategy, and you have a winning asset in your hand. 

FAQs

What is the Meaning of Content?

Content is the information contained in communication media. Content from the internet, live events, physical art, live television, radio, audio CDs, books, and magazines are all examples. It is aimed at an audience or end-user.

What Type of Content is Most Popular?

According to reputed websites like Hubspot, videos are the most popular form of content on the web. Video-based content is also of different types but is mainly classified as small or long-format content. It can be of varied genres too, ranging from comedy videos on YouTube to educational videos on online course websites like Udemy and Skillshare. 

Popular social media websites like TikTok and Snapchat are primarily based on the use of video content. With over 1 billion active users, TikTok is the seventh-largest social media network. This goes to show just how relevant and in-demand video content is worldwide.

Which is the First Step to Create Content?

Choosing your piece’s format is the first step in content planning/creation. While doing so, it is important to note that some concepts are enhanced by visual illustration and may be appropriate for an infographic or film. Plain text might be more appropriate for other kinds of content.

Can Anyone be a Content Creator?

By definition, anyone who creates digital content is a content creator. A skilled content producer, on the other hand, is someone who can build an online community, make money from their expertise, or do both at the same time. Just creating content is not enough these days. Figuring out your niche—the people who will eventually interact with your content—is equally important.

Is it Hard to be a Content Creator?

Nowadays, it’s easy to develop and publish a single piece of information (content). The difficulty lies in producing content that is both useful and understandable. Content helps you build trust with your audience; therefore, the more useful and digestible it is, the more likely you are to reap its benefits.

What is User-Generated Content?

User-generated content is any content created by people rather than brands, such as text, videos, images, and reviews. Videos and images people post on Instagram, YouTube, and other social media websites are some popular forms of user-generated content.

About The Author

Payel Mukerjee

Payel dreams about travelling the world and relaxing in quaint beach cafes – when she is not helping brands find real growth through powerful content experiences. She loves waging the war against mediocre content marketing and is passionate about entrepreneurship and startups. She is also a Darjeeling tea junkie and the founder of Justwords.

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