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The right formats for successful content marketing

From online guides to memes: 7 content formats with value added - for your users and your company.

Companies in the DACH region invested 9.4 billion euros in content marketing in 2020 alone. In the next sections, you will learn why this marketing discipline has a decisive influence on your success and which formats you can use to inspire your users. 

This is why content marketing is important for your business

Content marketing is more than just a buzzword. It's no wonder that 91 percent of all organizations worldwide embrace content marketing. If you want to increase customer loyalty or position yourself as an expert on the market, you can' t do it without this tool. On top of that, you can use content marketing to... 

  • improve your brand image. 

  • increase awareness of your company. 

  • convey information. 

  • promote trust in your company. 

  • create relationships with your users. 

  • understand users better. 

  • win new customers. 

Depending on the target group and purpose, other content formats are suitable for your content. 

Two colleagues having fun at work
Some content formats are particularly well suited to entertaining users.

Finding the right content format

The following aspects are the most important for choosing the right content format: 

  • the target group(s) 

  • your specific goal 

  • already available content / media / assets 

  • the message of the content 

A concrete example: Your organization wants to appeal to a younger target group with a strong ecological and social awareness. At the same time, you want to establish the organization's expert status in the financial sector. Other than a Shutterstock license, you don't yet have any materials. Under these three conditions, for example, a guidebook on the topic of "Investing money sustainably" makes sense. 

In the next paragraphs, we'll tell you which key content formats are best suited when and for whom.

even content formats you should know

Content format #1 online guide

A true classic among digital content marketing formats are online guides. They are based on consumer journalism in terms of style and content. In concrete terms, this means that a factual text is created that conveys a lot of information on a topic relevant to everyday life in a comprehensible way. When writing, SEO criteria play a major role in addition to editorial quality. 

Suitable for:  

  • Almost all target groups, subject areas and industries.

This is what you achieve with the content format:

  • Convey information about your products  

  • Demonstrate expertise  

  • Gain the trust of your customers  

  • Increase reach  

  • Improve brand image 

  • Brand Image verbessern

Extra tip: Use appropriate images or video material to support the message of your text.

Content format #2 Infographics

Infographics are also among the most established content formats; they have been relevant even before the digital transformation. However, technological innovations are creating new possibilities for the classical infographic as well. For example, animated elements, zoomable graphics that show new details with every click, or even infographics as holograms in real space. 

Suitable for:  

  • Almost all target groups, subject areas and industries

This is what you achieve with the content format:

  • Convey information about your products 

  • Demonstrate expertise 

  • Strengthen your brand image 

  • Explain complex correlations in a simple way 

Extra tip: Don't pack too much information and detail into a single graphic - after all, you want the message to be clear.

Content format #3 Tutorials

With tutorials or so-called "how-to’s", you provide your users with valuable tips and assistance. You can use them to showcase your own product. For example, a cosmetics brand can publish the right make-up tutorial for its latest highlighter. 

Suitable for:  

  • Almost all industries  

  • Target group depends on channel: YouTube has a particularly wide range, TikTok mainly younger users 

  • In the B2C sector, particularly everyday topics; in the B2B sector, more job-related aspects 

This is what you achieve with the content format:

  • Increase your reach 

  • Increase awareness of your company 

  • Attract attention for your product 

  • Demonstrate expertise 

  • Gain the trust of your users 

Extra tip: Optimize your video tutorials for search engines. This means: Use appropriate keywords for tags, title and description and use an appealing thumbnail for more clicks. 

Content format #4 surveys

Humans are social creatures and like to compare themselves with their "conspecifics". You can benefit from this habit in content marketing: Many users like to participate in surveys and thus reveal interesting insights about your target group. In addition, a survey always expresses your appreciation for the customer. For example, a company that makes hiking boots can ask about its users' touring preferences. 

Suitable for:

  • Almost all industries and target groups 

  • Suitable topics include your own products and related topics

This is what you achieve with the content format:

  • Strengthen customer relationships 

  • Enhance customer loyalty 

  • Understand users better 

  • Gain relevant insights for upcoming products and services 

Extra tip: You can easily reuse the survey results. For example, they could be integrated into the further development of your products. Depending on the topic, you could also discuss the results in a newsletter.

Content format #5 memes

Memes are great as so-called snackable content. This means that the content is easy to consume and easily accessible. The user needs neither time nor prior knowledge. Memes are an important part of our Internet culture and serve to entertain users. It’s a great way to showcase a different side of your business. 

Suitable for:

  • Companies in the B2C sector outside very conservative industries 

  • Especially Millenials, Generation Z and subsequent generations that are considered as digital natives

  • Subject areas: Anything that isn't a too serious topic. From the approaching weekend to the new newsletter, everything is possible

This is what you achieve with the content format: 

  • Increase your reach 
  • Increase brand awareness 
  • Improve brand image 
  • Demonstrate approachability 
  • Gain new followers 

Extra tip: Never, ever (!) make fun of certain users or serious topics. In the worst case, you could face a shitstorm. 

Merkle Meme Quokka

Content format #6 Quizzes and competitions

Competitions are a classic content marketing strategy - for good reason: they help you - after opt-in - to generate new customer data and / or gain additional subscribers for your newsletter. If you combine a competition with a quiz about your product portfolio or your company, you also motivate users to find out more. 

Suitable for:

  • Almost all industries, topics and target groups

This is what you achieve with the content format: 

  • Spread information about your company / product portfolio 

  • Increase awareness 

  • Increase engagement 

  • Expand your data pool 

  • Address potential new customers 

Extra tip: It is best to seek advice from your legal department and your data protection officer when drafting the conditions of participation. 

Content format #7 Webinars

Direct interaction with your customers is particularly important to you? Then a webinar might be just the right addition to your content strategy. For example, you can present new trends in your industry or provide instructions on how to use a particular product. Since the webinar is live, all participants can ask you questions directly. 

Suitable for: 

  • B2B companies and organizations in the educational sector

  • Professionals in your field

  • Complex topics from your industry 

This is what you achieve with the content format: 

  • Convey information 

  • Demonstrate expertise 

  • Increase awareness 

  • Improve brand image 

  • Gain trust 

  • Win new customers 

Extra tip: Record the webinar and make it available on your YouTube channel. This way, you'll still be collecting new followers and contacts months after the event. In addition, the comments will show you which topics are still exciting for your target group. 

Outlook: The optimal content for your users

To determine the right content format, you should know the purpose and your target group. This is where a digital agency like Merkle can help you.  

Then you can get started with the design - by the way, tips for better texts can be found here. If you need to create a large amount of content on a regular basis, it's worth cooperating with an agency. The agency often also takes over the deployment of the content across various channels. 

You need exciting content? We'll be happy to support you!

Angelika Dick
Angelika Dick, Content Creator at Merkle DACH