Marketing

18 Types of Written Content: The Only Guide You’ll Ever Need (eBook)


Creative content writing in 2023 is both a science and an art form: It’s powerful, measurable and, most importantly, successful in aiding companies in their quest to achieve marketing goals.

The key to generating ROI from each line of copy is to match every word to the reader’s objective, product by product, letter by letter.
In this eBook, we walk through the many types of written content you need to execute and how to do them well.

Table of Contents

SEO Content Writing

1. Blogs

The cornerstone of an SEO content marketing strategy, blogs are top-of-funnel assets that drive traffic and feed search engines.

They are not lead-generation tools or sales collateral. Though blog writing can assist in the sales-enablement process, its core value is answering the questions of searchers and doing so in a way that funnels users toward a specific next step.

Blog ideas should come from your search engine optimization (SEO) analytics data, brainstorming sessions with other departments and the expertise of your staff.

Goals: Organic keyword rankings, search presence, awareness and traffic.

Fact: 80% of bloggers say that blogging drives positive content marketing results.

Helpful tools: Answer the Public, CoSchedule Headline Analyzer and MarketMuse.

Best practice: Dedicate different blog posts to a specific target audience, not a “general” reader.

2. Website Content

Landing pages and metadata are critical components of a healthy, search-friendly site. Because you’re constrained by character limits when producing title tags, page headers and meta descriptions, your perspective needs to be different.

Optimized site copy is a must, and solving searcher intent is especially important when dealing with specific ranking signals. It’s less art and more science.

Aim for brevity and accuracy. For landing pages specifically, write with authority and topical relevancy in mind.

Goals: Conversions.

Fact: Like blogs, even landing pages require keyword research.

Helpful tools: Moz On-Page Grader.

Best practice: Write for the intent of the target keyword coupled with friendly UX.

3. Frequently Asked Questions Pages (FAQ)

FAQs are great because they answer the most common questions that people have about a brand, product or service. They’re direct and a great way to quell customer concerns before they resort to opening a support ticket. Plus, they can be great for SEO, too.

Better yet, they’re versatile. You can append a FAQ section to the bottom of a blog and make it highly specific to that topic, or include one on a landing page.

What’s important here is that answers are honest and relatively short + sweet.

Goal: To proactively answer customer questions and increase interest in your brand.

Fact: FAQs are a great way to capture leads and lead them down the road to conversion on their journey to find an answer.

Helpful tools: Your industry expertise.

Best practice: If you want to be proactive about answering questions (and you should be), just think about what questions you might have if you were a customer and develop a FAQ section based on that.

4. Content Re-Optimization

You don’t have to start each piece of quality content from scratch. More marketers are investing in reoptimizing and repurposing older collateral rather than producing new content. And to do so, you need to leverage existing site visitor data, competitive analysis metrics, on-page optimization scores and other web analytics that your site and tools collect.

It’s less about ideation or reinventing the wheel and more so about adding a polishing touch to an otherwise solid blog post, enough to propel your organic ranking from Page 5 to Page 1.

What search engines want to see are clearly defined topics, thorough analysis of every subtopic and content relevance that matches user intent.

So, it’s practically the research and comprehensiveness of a white paper combined with search-friendly keyword optimization.

Goals: Keyword ranking and search presence.

Fact: 85.37% of the articles got more total clicks in the period after they were re-optimized.

Helpful tools: MarketMuse, Google Search Console and Google Analytics.

Best practice: Compile competitive research and organic analyses into a brief, then optimize section by section based on recommendations.

Short-form Content

5. Customer Success Stories (Case Studies)

Writing about your success or a customer’s success requires a change in tone of voice, and that’s due to a change in audience.

Readers of case studies are likely further down the funnel and may be comparing your products/services with those of your competitors. That means you’ll need lots of data, visuals and promotional language.

This content may be shared with prospects’ stakeholders, so a more formal, business-minded tone is necessary to reach a director/executive audience.

Goals: Lead generation and sales enablement.

Fact: Customer success stories help build trust and drive conversions — especially for those in the SaaS space.

Helpful tools: Google Analytics (conversion tracking) and sales team feedback.

Best practice: Use a narrative format and plenty of quotes for a sense of storytelling.

6. Social Media Copy

Social media platforms are a primary publishing and distribution channel for marketing and advertising. But you can’t simply upload content and hit publish. Each post needs to be unique and add value beyond what’s actually inside the article, video or graphic.

There are many components that go into effective social copy, including:

  • Headlines: These can be made unique to entice more clicks.
  • Teaser: This is the excerpt or description that goes with the post.
  • Image text: The static social image that accompanies your post is the first visual impression users will see while skimming social media. Include a dynamic image with a short text overlay to drive home the point.

Based on the platform on which you’re posting, adjust your tone accordingly, with LinkedIn being a formal, business outlet, versus Facebook, Twitter and Instagram representing a more casual, lively channel to really push your brand personality.

If you’re going to cross-post, ensure each post is positioned uniquely for each platform and audience. Some content is best featured on LinkedIn while others are meant to solicit tons of shares through Instagram. Carpet-bombing all channels may dilute your message. Although, a great topic should be spread on all relevant channels.

Goals: Shareability and engagement.

Fact: There are around 4.8 billion social media users worldwide. Hone your social media content skills and it can prove to be extremely beneficial.

Helpful tools: BuzzSumo

Best practice: Ask followers to comment on your posts and engage with them when they do.

7. CTA Copy

Calls to action are for one purpose only: steering visitors toward a specific action. And the art of persuasive writing and concision is front and center when creating copy for clickable CTAs and the pages, emails or assets they live on.

Don’t settle for the generic “click here” that’s been around for decades. Employ your brand’s tone of voice and personality, and use some creative brainpower to produce copy that has direction.

Examples we use are:

  • “Get analytical”
  • “Let’s get to work”
  • “Let’s create”

These are all clear, intentional and purpose-driven.

Goals: Driving visitors down the funnel and conversions.

Fact: CTA’s can (and should) be personalized. When they are, they perform 202% better than generic options.

Helpful tools: Optimizely, Feng-gui and 5 Second Test.

Best practice: Test, test and test some more. Constantly evaluate the performance of your CTAs against alternate versions.

8. Pay Per Click (PPC) Campaigns and Ad Copy

PPC campaigns, and paid search in general, is a great methodology to pair with organic marketing efforts. And the copy that promotes paid ads featured at the top of SERPs is just as important as conventional CTA copy utilized in the organic sphere.

What matters most, text-wise, is that the ad is concise, relevant and branded with the appropriate keywords. To ensure your AdWords Quality Score is optimized to position you at the top of the ad auction process, you also need quality, relevant landing pages the ad directs to.

Factors that need to be top of mind for ad copy are:

  • Placement of the CTA on the LP.
  • The verbiage on the CTA itself and the content on the LP.
  • Color, typography and text combination.

Ad copy should be hyper-targeted, keyword-driven and click-through-optimized.

Goals: Conversions.

Fact: Any positive ROI is good ROI, but with PPC, aim for a 2:1 ratio. For every $1 spent, you should make back $2.

Helpful tools: Google Ads and Optimizely.

Best practice: Use PPC ad copy to prequalify searchers. That means being direct and informative about your brand, products and services.

9. Email Copy

Email marketing is foundational to content marketing. It’s your opportunity to distribute to thousands of subscribers your brand magazine, your proprietary data and your custom newsletters.

Other than the actual body copy itself, the content that really drives email open rates, generates forwards and produces responses includes:

  • Subject lines: Use questions, stats and trending news. Urgent language can also enhance open rates.
  • Intros: Cut to the chase, use first names if possible and state upfront what your intention is.
  • CTAs: Have one, only one CTA in your email. Readers need clear direction on how to follow up with you, so multiple buttons, banners or directives in a single email leads to confusion.

Goals: Share of mind, prospect nurture, lead gen.

Fact: 56% of marketers plan to increase their email marketing budgets in 2023.

Helpful tools: CoSchedule Headline Analyzer

Best practice: Including “[Video]” in subject lines can increase open rates.

10. Press Releases

While you may not immediately think of or consider a press release as written content, it is! Beyond simply being something that is written (duh), effective press releases should follow an industry-standard outline.

Once it’s written, you can ship it out to media outlets to garner some attention. These assets are particularly relevant and important for “special occasion” type moments, such as a new product release, an event you may be hosting, a charity fundraiser or something similar.

Goals: To gain media attention and inform a target audience about something exciting your brand is doing.

Fact: The middle of the week is generally considered the best time to send a press release. That’s Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Helpful tools: This amazing blog about how to craft a compelling press release headline. Also, press release templates.

Best practice: Short and sweet is the name of the game here. Aim for 300 to 400 words total for a press release — and follow a template!

Long-form Content

11. Long-form Guides

Blogs and long-form guides share similarities. However, long-form content in particular should serve a higher purpose than just top-of-funnel awareness and traffic generation.

In-depth how-tos, explainers and ungated proprietary information are extremely valuable to readers. Search engines prioritize relevant and comprehensive content. Through these assets, you’re more likely to rank on Page 1 of Google and win Featured Snippets.

To accomplish such, you’ll need lots of research, several forms of embedded media, concise language, expanded arguments and detailed descriptions of what you’re explaining. Leave no stone unturned here.

Goals: Generate sustained organic traffic and win high-value keywords.

Fact: The more detail you can provide and the more you can establish yourself as an authority in your industry, the better.

Helpful tools: MarketMuse for content direction, and Moz Keyword Explorer for keyword research.

Best practice: Though text-heavy, still break up copy into short chunks for maximum scannability.

12. White Papers

These deep dives into one specific topic enable you to explain a lot of detail and present research. Creating white papers often requires rigorous legwork beforehand, compiling data, gathering quotes and crafting subsections.

Your white papers are going to be read by those seeking insights they likely can’t get anywhere else, and they’re willing to hand over their personal information (or payment) to receive it. Downloaders of these assets want facts and quality data.

Design features are less prominent, so a white paper’s primary function is communicating findings via text, meaning you have room to expand upon arguments.

Goals: Micro conversions, adding prospects to email campaigns.

Fact: White papers (and eBooks) are 4th in the top 5 marketing assets that produce the best results.

Helpful tools: Google Docs and Adobe Illustrator.

Best practice: The tone for white papers should be a little more formal and geared toward a business audience.

Video Content

13. Video/Animation Scripts

When working on multimedia assets, the end result should largely be conceptualized within the writer’s mind, meaning you’re writing toward a defined, visual goal.

Also, videos are resource-intensive products, so overly verbose writing directly leads to cost overruns. In general, a 30-second animation script should contain no more than 72 words. Longer, 2-minute scripts can run up to 290 words.

Today, there are so many types of videos and most of them rely on some sort of narrative arc. So, there should be intros, developments and conclusions, all of which entail a different type of idea-building than a traditional written piece of content. Examples of popular videos today include:

  • Product reviews.
  • Whiteboard animations.
  • Tutorials.

Goals: Product demos, brand awareness and sales enablement

Fact: 91% of people would like to see more video content from brands in 2023.

Helpful tools: Adobe Creative Suite.

Best practice: Don’t over-explain via text – visuals and on-screen movement can get the point across.

14. Webinars

Creating webinars adds another multimedia dimension to your marketing. Not only can they be used in formal presentations, on sales calls, for internal training or for promoting company research, but they can also be embedded directly on web pages and shared through email.

These assets are akin to eBooks in that they should have defined word count limits per page/slide and, if synced with a verbal presentation, should pace with the cadence of the speaker.

Use bullets, data points, clear headers and subheadings, charts, graphs and tables as much as possible. The information portrayed shouldn’t rely on chunks of text; and, in some cases, you may not even need to use complete sentences.

Be direct and professional in tone.

Goals: Thought leadership, brand awareness, attendance, lead generation.

Fact: The ideal length of a webinar is 60 to 90 minutes.

Visual Content

15. eBooks

Refrain from overloading eBooks with too much text. They are designed (literally) to be visual assets with copy playing a more complementary role.

As a writer, knowing that eBooks will likely be gated means you’re writing with the intent of converting users and gathering leads through a form fill. Be concise, practical and format-friendly. Eschew blocks of text and use stats and bullet points, if possible.

Additionally, eBooks can cover several facets of a topic whereas white papers should home in on a single viewpoint of a topic.

Goals: Micro conversions, adding prospects to email campaigns.

Fact: Gated eBooks help capture leads.

Helpful tools: Canva, Google Docs and Adobe Illustrator.

Best practice: Writers should aim for about 125 words per page or less to allow space for design elements.

16. Infographics

Graphical assets are meant for the visual retention part of the brain, so copy for an infographic should be written with design in mind. Essentially, you need to be part writer/part designer insofar as each line of copy has the potential to be broken out into a custom illustration.

With this in mind, it helps to use language that is active and that even has bravado – metaphors and similes help here.

  • Instead of: The supply chain moved large amounts of goods during Cyber Monday.
  • Try: The supply chain moved a mountain of goods during Cyber Monday.
  • One change in a descriptive word or verb makes all the difference because now the designer has a visual cue to work off of.

Infographics are top-of-funnel assets, so be fun, creative and brand-specific.

Goals: Generating inbound links, social shares and explaining complex topics.

Fact: Infographics are highly shareable, and a great asset to garner backlinks.

Helpful tools: Canva.

Best practice: Use short lines of copy and let illustrations do most of the talking.

17. Branding/Company Culture Promotion

Not every piece of content needs to be an industry masterpiece.

If someone were to ask who your company’s employees are, what working for your boss is like or what your business’ standpoint on a social issue is, what would you say?

When creating content to answer these questions, consider:

What is your brand identity? Why is your brand better than others? Why are your co-workers the best? What do you value in a client relationship?

Your brand is more than just a business; it’s also the sum of everyone who works there.

Write employee spotlights, create sharable, interactive company quizzes and develop a personable rapport with the world at large. Be fun, be lighthearted and be proud of your company culture through the content you publish.

Goals: Brand awareness, corporate recruiting, industry recognition.

Fact: 34% of people said they’ve left a job within 90 days because the culture was not what they expected. Creating culture content that is honest can help increase employee engagement (and retention)!

Helpful tools: Your staff members!

Best practice: Focus on messaging and awareness – no need to be stuffy or corporate.

Helpful tools: SlideShare, Google Sheets and Pattern Library.

Best practice: Sync releases of webinars/slideshows with accompanying posts for greater search presence and site visibility.

18. User-Generated Content (UGC)

One of the most cost-effective ways to produce content is actually to curate it. That’s because you allow your customers, followers, subscribers and reviewers to create it for you.

Encourage online users to review your services, leave comments on social posts, respond to Twitter polls and engage with your company in any way possible. Then, compile the information you receive and release it to the public.

For instance, a Twitter poll revealing 60% of your followers want a faster checkout process can be turned into a blog post the very next day.

It’s essential to continue these conversations. With every piece of content you curate from users, solicit additional comments and keep the process going.

Use your writing skills to compel commentary on social, respond to all online reviews and form a stream of communication with followers.

Goals: Audience-building, content simplification and shareability.

Fact: Curated UGC is a cost-effective way to maintain your content stream when budgets are tight.

Helpful tools: Social media platforms, such as Twitter and Instagram, and your Google Business Profile.

Best practice: Never let feedback go unanswered.

The Fundamentals of Content Writing

The throughline of this blog is writing. And while each of these list items may require specific or tweaked writing techniques to be as successful as possible, there are some fundamentals of written content that apply to anything you’ll ever produce as a content writer. Here are a few:

  • Do your research: Even the shortest of short-form content requires research. Whether you’re writing a 3,000-word guide or a 70-word social media post, you have to have to know who you’re writing for, what techniques work the best for that medium and more.
  • Outline your content: Creating an outline is an integral part of the writing process. While it may feel more efficient to just jump straight into a blog, outlining it first and identifying the headings, subheadings and sources you want to use can help kick-start a piece of writing.
  • Find your niche and write for it: Written content needs to resonate with an audience for it to have any sort of impact. That goes for pretty much every type of content on this list. If you need to create two assets to appeal to two audiences, do it.
  • Edit and proofread more than once: Perhaps the bane of every content writer’s existence: editing. Asking you to do it more than once isn’t meant to be intimidating, rather, to ensure that whatever you’ve written is the best it can possibly be for its specific use case.

Content is King

Expanding your digital presence with a content strategy is necessary. Crafting the perfect mix of written and visual content (which also has written components) is a great way to get your brand and your business in front of more eyes.

Written content still makes up the bulk of content creation — a process many companies still struggle with.

With this guide, you can attack the future with confidence in your content and a stronger understanding of how to position the creative copy you’ve so carefully crafted. ⇐ Hey, that’s alliteration!

Editor’s Note: Updated August 2023.





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