The good news is that if you are used to creating content already, no additional skill sets are required for the majority of these formats.
They all make great additions to the content mix and can be used independently of each other. Mix and match to find the ratio that suits your content capability and audience needs.
You’ve probably seen dozens, if not hundreds, of listicles as you’ve been searching the web. They usually have numbers in the title and simply collate a number of facts, opinions or instructions. For example, ‘3 content formats to consider now’, ‘The 7 things you didn’t know about…’,
A top tips piece should solve a problem, a worry or answer a question. It’s similar to a listicle but has a more specific purpose. For example:
- 8 helpful tips for reluctant public speakers
- 13 little known tips to improve the performance of your social media posts
Top tips posts are very popular with beginner audiences but, can also be adapted for more advanced readers simply by varying the complexity of the tips.
3 / 6/ 10 hacks
Most of us love a bargain and getting more from our existing possessions or skills. Hacks are unique, crafty and ingenious tips and tricks that make life easier, usually be repurposing something else or adopting a new way of doing something. These posts do exceptionally well on social media and typically generate high engagement levels. For example:
- 6 life hacks from productive people
- 3 headline hacks to increase click throughs
These are image heavy posts with an accompanying paragraph for each. This format works well for things such as days out or holiday destination suggestions, as well as cooking, fashion and fitness. Fitness Magazine’s ‘Yoga Poses for Beginners’ gallery is a great example of how well received this type of content is, with more than 63,000 shares to date.
How to posts are step-by-step pieces of content which walk the reader through doing something. They can be any combination of text, image or video. This particular content format lends itself well to the micro-moments revolution, which is when mobile device users turn to their smartphones or tablets in the precise moment they want to find out how to do something or get somewhere. They can be on any topic – MumsNet for example has used a how to style post to give mums a template for making Easter bonnets with the kids.
Expert Q and A
A question and answer format with an expert, usually with the purpose of educating the reader or helping them solve a problem. A skincare brand might publish an expert Q and A which helps readers solve dry skin problems in winter for example, while a fitness chain could create an expert Q and A with a personal trainer about nutrition for new gym goers.
Combining images with text to give a visual representation of data, this format has soared in popularity in recent years and can be adapted to suit almost any topic. A luggage company or travel agent may create an infographic with a picture of a tent for example, running down all of the essential items to pack for glampers and campers and tips on setting up.
Likewise, a social media expert could create an infographic breaking down image sizes for every social media channel.
Pick up and use problem solvers (text or video)
Articles or videos designed to solve a specific problem or task. These are designed to be printed out, loaded up on YouTube or saved, picked up and used. They may be used by someone about to embark on a solo trip, try a new hobby or tackle a daunting or personal project. For example, a hardware store could create a pick up and use problem solver to troubleshoot an AC unit which isn’t cooling.
A SlideShare is a presentation style piece of content, often repurposed from a presentation or white paper. It’s a series of slides, usually for professionals on topics such as business, design, social media or leadership. Google CEO Eric Schmidt published a hugely popular SlideShare entitled ‘How Google works’ which has more than 4.3 million views to date.
The content for a podcast doesn’t have to be written. It’s an audio piece of content, usually told over a series of episodes, but which can also be published as a standalone piece. Almost anything goes, from recounting a news item to reviewing a piece of software, discussing industry events or imparting information on a certain subject. You can publish to a platform such as iTunes or make available to download from your own site with a subscription.
If you’re used to blogging, why not try vlogging? This is a video blog so instead of writing down your thoughts, you record to camera instead. Just like a blog, a vlog can cover any subject. Beauty bloggers for example will often record a vlog reviewing a new makeup product. The popularity of vlogging has exploded in recenrt years so chances are, there are one or two brands in your niche already vlogging.