40 content formats all digital marketers should be aware of

Emma Rose

Creative Director

I get it. When pressure is on and the deadlines are looming, it’s easy to go straight to a simple blog post or infographic when you need to create content for your digital marketing efforts.

To be fair, there absolutely is a place for that sort of content, but what if there was a better way to convey a particular message? Or perhaps your audience would engage with one particular format over another?

From maps to videos to quizzes, there are so many different content formats to try. In order to get the creative juices flowing, we’ve listed a range of content marketing examples for your inspiration.

If you want to learn more about content formats and how best to use them in your marketing, see the Jellyfish Content Marketing training course.

Types of blog posts

For any type of blog post, it’s best to have an overall content strategy in place that takes into account your customer profiling and keyword research.

Not only will this inform what content your audience will find useful, but executed correctly, it can help you rank higher in search engines for your chosen keywords / topics.

1. List post

This thing that you are reading right now is a list post.

Popular on sites like Buzzfeed, a list post is simply a list of things, often accompanied by images or gifs.

As readers, we tend to love them because we can scan down the post really easily and only take what we need from them.

Example: 13 Hilarious Dog-grooming Struggles Every Dog Owner Has Faced

2. How-to article / guide

Similar to the above, however a how-to article or guide is a step-by-step list of how to achieve something specific.

For example, if your audience is interested in learning PowerPoint, then a blog that details how to edit the master slides of a deck would work really well.

Ideally it would include instructional text and imagery.

Example: How to De‐ice Your Windshield

3. Why / what post

A blog post that aims to answer a very specific question the reader might ask.

Example: What Is Latent Semantic Indexing & Why It Won’t Help Your SEO

4. General

A general blog. Those that don’t fit into a niche. This could simply be an opinion piece on a topic that’s relevant to your audience.

Example: Work Smarter, Not Harder with Your Digital Campaigns

5. Long form / editorial

As the name suggests, long form is longer than your average blog post or webpage. You can create some really in-depth, evergreen content in this format.

There’s a misconception that people won’t read or scroll long pages. Research shows this is not the case, however.

Example: La Gran Fuga

6. News / reporting

Sometimes you have great news to share, or perhaps you want to weigh in on the topic of the moment. If you have the resource to turn around timely content, then you will always be seen as a current brand.

Example: Jellyfish Acquires The ASO Co

Types of video

1. Traditional

A video, whether it be animated or live action, can focus on a particular topic or event.

Whilst one of the costlier and time consuming pieces of content to produce, the rewards could be remarkable.

Example: Around the World in 360° Degrees – 3 Year Epic Selfie

2. Explainer video

This is a specific video format that explains either one of your products / services, or discusses a concept in a simple, easy-to-consume way.

Example: How to Make Money with SEO in 2019

3. Interactive

Interactive videos use technology to let the user control the narrative direction.

For example, a survival awareness video that lets you choose what action you would take in a variety of scenarios, then shows you the outcome of those decisions.

Example: Ed Stafford

4. Live

A live video is exactly what it sounds like – a video that is being recorded and streamed live simultaneously, as opposed to pre-recording it.

Many social media platforms allow you to do this from your smartphone, without the need for any fancy equipment or broadcasting software.

Events are a good chance to use live video, but these don’t need to be limited to physical events. Game broadcasts (i.e. people playing video games) are very popular.

Example: Jazza Draws Live

5. Interview

Interviewing people and getting their opinions on a specific topic can produce brilliant content.

Example: People Share How They Get the Most out of Life

Types of information graphics

1. Traditional infographics

Not only are infographics great to look at (if done well), they’re much easier to host on external sites than interactive content.

If appropriate, or indeed possible for the type of content you wish to promote, it can be more beneficial to approach potential influencers with a static infographic version during the link building phase of a campaign.

Example: 22 Plants You Didn’t Know Could Poison Your Dog

2. Maps

There is no better way to display geographical data then with a map.

Example: US State Google Autocomplete

3. Traditional graphs and charts

If you’ve collected a fascinating set of data – graphs and charts are probably the simplest way to display your findings.

You can also include them as elements within most other types of content, too. Like blogs, for instance.

Example: Pollen is Coming: An Analysis of Conversations Around Hay Fever

4. Timeline

For anybody that has an enthusiastic interest in a specific timeless topic, timelines are a great way to display the lifespan of that particular topic in an encyclopedic and interactive way.

Example: History of the Campervan

5. Bubble chart

While traditional graphs and charts are useful, they are often not as pretty or as interesting to look at as bubble charts – which are great for quantifying data in a unique way (i.e. the size of a bubble).

Example: The Population of Every Country is Represented on This Bubble Chart

6. Word cloud

A word cloud visually represents text data. The size of a word within the cloud itself is dictated by the significance of each meta tag.

Example: Favourite Sounds Word Cloud

7. Tree diagram

As far as static information graphics go, tree diagrams are a simple and effective way to help the user draw their own conclusions about certain things.

By travelling down through the diagram, the user is confronted with possible outcomes and the probability of their impact.

ExampleDiscontinued Product Tree

Types of data journalism

1. Surveys & results

Surveys are an effective way to extract general opinion – they are made up of targeted questions designed to collect valuable data.

Once the data is collected, you can use the results to form a separate piece of content in its own right.

Example: The State of Content Marketing Survey

2. Projection charts

Projection charts are a good way of presenting your plans and ambitions, or how you expect something to change, in a user-friendly and easy-to-understand way.

Example: You Draw It: What Got Better or Worse During Obama’s Presidency

3. Whitepapers / reports

Whitepapers are reports related to a complex issue or impending matter yet to be confronted.

It can also be used to present ideas or promote a product or service in a comprehensively detailed manner.

Example: Preparing for the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

Types of one page microsites

1. Parallax

Parallax web design includes multiple focal points moving at different speeds when you scroll through a page.

This can be a highly immersive form of content for the user, and an effective way of bringing your campaign’s landing page to life.

Example: Garden Estúdio

2. Scrolling

Long scrolling pages are often used to tell a story in a more visually appealing way than a standard news article or blog post.

Starting at the beginning, the user will often feel compelled to scroll all the way to the bottom of the page to get to the ending.

Example: Firestorm

3. Comparison visualizations

A visual piece that compares two (or more) things side-by-side, so people can compare different products and services.

Example: Xbox One vs PlayStation 4

4. Live updating landing pages

An updating landing page tracking and displaying live data is a good way to entice users interested in a specific event to your site.

This could be a number of things, like updating the total amount of money spent on Black Friday, for instance…

Example: Trumpwatch

Types of interactive content

1. Quiz

People love a quiz. And provided you can find an interesting topic to quiz people on, you’re on to a winner.

Example: Sorry ’90s Kids, Only ’00s Kids Are Passing This Quiz

2. Online calculators

Online calculators are an incredibly useful tool for the end user. They can often inform people when making important life decisions, or even get a quote on the conversion path.

Example: First Time Buyer Mortgage Calculators

3. Games

If you have the dev capability to create a game, then why wouldn’t you at least have a go?

Again, as long as it’s topical and relevant to your audience, you can entice an inordinate amount of traffic to the landing page where the game is hosted.

Example: Keyword Kombat: Movie Edition

4. Competition

Online competitions are not just great for driving traffic, but they’re also useful for collecting data – serving as a lead generation exercise.

Be careful though, as new GDPR-enforced regulation will prohibit the way in which marketers may have normally gone about collecting data in the past.

Example: Fashion Discovery

5. Interactive map

Interactive maps are a great way to keep the user on page for a significant length of time as they enable the user to explore.

This has been made possible through new tools like Google Maps Embed API, for example.

Provided each point on the map compels the user to keep browsing, this type of content can prove to be highly engaging and very shareable.

Example: The Travels of Queen Elizabeth II Mapped

Types of audio content

1. Podcasts

These days, people consume content whilst on the move – and podcasts are a great way to reach them.

Podcasts are usually longer recordings, which can be serialized into multiple episodes consisting of interviews, discussions and debates.

Example: Copyblogger FM

2. Narrated blog posts

Narrated blog posts usually work well for tutorials, guides and how-to posts – where it might be easier to explain something verbally over audio, than in written form.

Example: The Customer Success Metrics and KPIs to Measure

Types of image-led content

1. Illustrations

There are some people who prefer to look at pictures than read words.

You can build an entire piece of content with amazing illustrations that also carry an important message.

This type of content is also very shareable on most types of social media and easy for bloggers / influencers to host on their sites.

Example: These Seven Illustrations Reveal What Christmas Can Be Like with a Mental Illness

2. Photography

The same applies to photos. Everyone likes a nice photo. And there’s a massive community of people who would count photography as one of, if not their main hobby.

Example: April’s Weather Extremes in Pictures

3. Cinemagraphs / gifs

GIFs are highly compressed images that usually allow up to 8 bits per pixel for each image. They are essentially moving images.

Although cinemagraphs can be published as GIFs, they are slightly different in that they are static photographs in which a minor movement repeatedly occurs.

Example: Cinemagraphs

4. Image transition sliders

Image transition sliders are a great opportunity to display two versions of the same picture – allowing the user to compare the two by sliding from side to side.

Example: Then and Now: Images of Our Changing Planet

5. Memes

Memes are commonplace on the internet these days.

In fact, if you’re on social media, it’s a fair bet that you won’t need to scroll for long down your timeline or Twitter feed before you’re confronted with a meme.

But for those unfamiliar with the term, memes are images with a text catchphrase displayed over them. Some are funnier than others…

Example: 50 Internet Memes that Have Won Our Hearts

Types of presentations

1. Slideshare decks

A slideshare deck is essentially a slideshow, like the type you would create in PowerPoint, except it’s embedded into a web page so anyone can scroll through.

Example: Design for Non Designers

2. Ebooks

These are online leaflets or reports filled with educational or informative things that can benefit the end user.

They can be made available as free downloads or even as part of an email sign-up transaction. The latter of which can make for a useful inbound marketing strategy.  

Example: The Value of Digital Signage for Retail

3. Webinar

A webinar is essentially a communal seminar conducted online.

It is usually conducted by one person who leads a discussion or tutorial to several other connecting users who can all individually engage with the presentation from their respective locations.

Example: A Guide to Everyday Design Ethics