It’s probably been about 10 years, maybe more, since HubSpot did a post on 5 different types of blog posts that every blogger should use. They used food analogies to explain and define them, that’s how I remember the post. (I love food analogies for anything!) And while content marketing has come a long way in the intervening years, those analogies, those types, of content, are still working today.
I don’t remember the exact analogies they used anymore, so I’ve come up with my own food comparisons to describe and define the 5 ideal content types every content marketer should be using, whether blogging or vlogging or podcasting or whatever your choice of content makes you you.
Content Types #1: Toast and Orange Juice
I could have easily called this content type eggs and bacon, or bagels and cream cheese, or oatmeal. We’ve heard all our lives about how breakfast is the most important meal of the day, right? Your “breakfast” content offerings are the most important to your efforts, too.
They are your every day, run-of-the-mill post or cast or video. The content typically teaches or encourages or engages. It’s the stuff you can talk about or do for 20 minutes or more without notes or hesitating.
It’s what keeps your audience coming back for more. And it’s the content type that appeals to new followers and creates loyal audience members out of them. To take the breakfast analogy one step further, it’s the content that gets them up, going, prepared to go further with you, your content, and your biz.
Content Types #2: The Main Dish Salad
Taco salad. Spicy chickpea salad. Steak and spinach salad. (Make mine a portabello steak, please.)
Menus are full of healthier, better-for-you meal choices these days. And who doesn’t love a good, hearty, healthy salad? It’s not something we want for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it’s a nice change of pace every now and then. We make even make it a habit if we think it’s important enough to our health.
And that’s just what salad posts are – a nice change of pace from your everyday fare, with a bit more thought and purpose added to them. They may take a bit more time to create. They certainly are good for you and your audience, too.
Consider them “thought” leadership content. Encouraging content. They could be empathetic, too. It’s the kind of content that goes beyond a simple lesson or single concept. It speaks to the heart of your topic, of you, your biz, your audience.
Content Types #3: A Bowl of Chili
A bowl of chili on a cold winter’s day warms you up on the inside. A bowl of fiery-hot spicy chili warms you up inside and out, setting your mouth and your world on fire.
Chili content types fire up your audience, too.
It’s the rant you go on over some inexplicable change to policy or law that affects your biz. It’s the controversial stand you take against some sacred cow in your field. And it can be your own social and political beliefs, honestly and unashamedly shared with your followers. That’s when the chili is too hot and all that heat isn’t necessarily what they want.
Chili content can also fire them up in a good way.
It’s the content about your upcoming book launch. Or a new product. Or team member. It gets them excited for your latest achievements, your latest offers, your latest collaboration.
In short, a chili content type creates a fired-up emotional response. The choice of response – positive or negative – is up to you. And just like how you don’t want salad at every meal, chili content is best used sparingly, too. Too much heat can be a turn off, especially when the chili starts to get cold.
Content Types #4 – Sunday Dinner
This is the full-meal deal, here, folks. No simple sandwich or salad or bowl of cereal. It’s a feast that takes time and effort to prepare. This type of content is in-depth. It takes research and resources to make it something to talk about for a while to come.
And like a good feast, it has many separate parts that all blend together. Each has its own flavor and purpose, and can stand on its own, but together, they create something magical.
The Sunday dinner content type is the ebook. The blog series. The course you create. The seminar you host.
It’s not the sort of thing you want everyday. It’s a big, heavy, stick-with-you meal. But once in a while, just like once a week or so at Mama’s house, Sunday dinner content is necessary and satisfying.
Content Types #5 – The Ice Cream
Ice cream is fun. It’s frivolous. No one needs ice cream, and yet, we all like to have some now and then. I’ve even seen keto ice cream and non-dairy ice cream, and sugar free ice cream, to accommodate those with special dietary or lifestyle demands. That’s how much we like ice cream.
Ice cream style content is just as fun. Just as frivolous. And just as necessary.
It’s the meme or funny video you find or create and post. It’s the industry-related jokes you share on every Friday’s podcast. The wacko survey you decide to do, like which flavor of ice cream is liked best by your followers. The “office pets” photo content you encourage on your social media. And it can even be the “900 Mistakes We’ve Made This Week and How to Avoid Them” story.
Delivering up ice cream type content isn’t something you want to do every time you sit down to create content for your audience. But just like dessert at the end of the meal, or an ice cream cone in the middle of running errands on a busy day, it can be, and is, a welcome treat.
An Extra Content Type: Fine Wine
HubPsot stopped at 5 content types all those years ago. And if those five were all you ever created for your blog or podcast or social, you’d be better off than about 85% of content marketers who never really mix things up.
I happen to think, however, that one more addition to our smorgasbord of good content should be served up to our guests. Fine wine.
This is content that only gets better with time. Some call it cornerstone content. Others call it anchor content. Still others, “hub” content. And others, evergreen.
Whatever you call it, it has a lasting appeal. It is so fundamental to your industry, your field, your unique biz, that it never goes out of style. You can open it today and enjoy it, or at least get as much out of it, as you could last year or last decade. (I know wine has to age, but I think you get my gist here.)
And like fine wine, it goes well with your other offerings, too. It may stand out on its own every now and then, but when taken as a whole with the rest of your content, it becomes an integral part of it all.
There is no one specific kind of post that can be called a fine wine content type. It may be a series that explains who you are and what you do. It could be an ebook, or a podcast that establishes your brand. A course that teaches the basics of your field. A meme that becomes so ingrained with your biz and brand that even you can’t think of it without it.
That is to say, you can create fine wine content intentionally, but sometimes it just happens. You realize that a piece you published or a post you created is now considered an “essential” for new followers to consume, whether you intended for it to be so, or not.
Content Types – Where to Go From Here?
Now that you know about the feasts that can be created for your content marketing efforts, what do you plan to do with them? One thing you can do is to add them into your content marketing strategy plan. Decide to thrown in a Sunday dinner series. Or some ice cream for dessert. (By the way, ice cream is quite often a very engaging content type as the audience loves to react and share in the fun.) How about a bowl of chili to spice things up? Your oatmeal will most likely take care of itself.
Oh, and please do drop a line in the comments with your favorite flavor of ice cream. Mine is vanilla bean with caramel sauce and cinnamon sprinkled on top.
Till next time, bon appetit!