Which content format works best for your business, goals and audience? Here’s a checklist to guide your choice!

How do I choose the best content format for my ideas? Sometimes I wonder whether a blog post or a newsletter would be a better fit. On social media, I hesitate between multi-page visuals and simple visuals with a longer caption to explain my ideas. How to know which way to go?

This question came by on LinkedIn from a member of my network and it got the wheels inside my head turning. 

When we put time and effort into content marketing (which most ambitious businesses tend to do, showering their followers with quality advice!), we want to make the most of it. 

Still, sometimes it’s hard to discern between the seemingly countless choices we have among the different platforms, formats and tools. (And so often, when you finally make your choice, there is a new trend popping up that everyone says you must try.)

To help you make the most of your content marketing efforts, and to keep you from going crazy in the process, I share below my checklist for making the best content format decisions for small and mighty brands. Here you go!

Choose the Right Content Format to Drive Business Goals

When choosing between a blog and a newsletter or different visual formats for social media, the first thing to look at is your goal. 

What do you want to achieve with that particular piece of content and how does that fit into the client journey? Here are a few examples of possible goals and how they direct content marketing choices.

When your goal is…

To grow website traffic, go with a well-researched, linked and search engine-optimised blog article. Blogs are great at pulling people in and giving them advice on getting started.

Remember to include a call-to-action at the bottom of each blog post: for example, a call booking form or a downloadable freebie they simply can’t resist. 

When your goal is…

To turn followers into clients, opt for a newsletter that allows you to connect with interested followers via email. In an email, you can share more about your approach, pamper them with additional resources and create a sense of community. 

All of this makes it easier to include sales-related content in the mix and get results. Email is also a great tool to improve client experience and stay in touch with past clients. 

When your goal is…

To improve brand awareness, expand your presence to channels where those future clients – who don’t know about you yet – hang out. A search engine-optimised blog is one way to draw people in and it can be strengthened by social media efforts or events, for example. 

Which Content Formats Do Your Followers Love?

The second question to decipher is simple (although not always easy): What kind of content does your audience want to consume?

Blog and email are, after all, only vehicles for delivering your message. Knowing your audience guides your content format choices further. 

If you don’t know what your audience wants, test different formats over a period of time to find out what performs. 

When your audience wants…

Content that is fun, engaging and quick to consume, go for audio-visual content, vibrant visuals and combinations of different content types.

You can insert videos in blog articles and emails, and opt for carousels, videos and live content formats on social media.

When your audience wants…

To dive deep into details and learn more, craft skilful, long text-based posts and articles to satisfy their thirst for knowledge.

This, too, can happen both on a blog and an email (as well as across social media platforms, think article and newsletter functions). 

When your audience wants…

Everything, do both. If you have followers who love quick and easy bits and also those who crave more, mix the formats. This allows you to speak both to their rational and emotional minds, doubling your impact. 

Write a longer story but capture the key ideas in a short video. Video improves engagement in emails and supports SEO efforts on a website. On social media, create a longer caption for readers and summarise key points to a carousel for visual browsers. 

Your (Team’s) Strengths Have a Word to Say, Too

There’s one thing I always tell people when they ask for recommendations for the best content formats and topics of channels for their brand and team: Think about what’s realistic for you and your team and what your strengths are. 

Considering all that’s been said above about goals and audience understanding, know your scope and go for solutions that are respectful of your and your team’s time and tap into their strengths. 

No content marketing effort is helpful if it can not be sustained over time. 

When choosing between formats that support your goal and that your audience adores, go for ones that come easily and quickly for your team.

How to Repurpose Your Blog or Newsletter?

Finally, there’s rarely even a need for choosing only one format for your great idea. The more times you can recycle, repurpose and reuse that brilliant idea that speaks to your followers’ hearts, the better and more efficient your marketing will be. 

When you have an idea that has enough depth to carry either a blog article or an email, repurpose at least 3-5 social media posts of it. 

If this sounds daunting, here’s a tested and proven recipe: 

  1. Share a link to the article with a short hook and/or 1-3 key ideas.
  2. Extract a quote from the article and publish it as a branded visual. 
  3. Create a carousel with 5 key points or pieces of advice. 
  4. Create a question or a poll about the theme of the article. 
  5. Choose one key tip to retain and publish that as a short and snappy live video post.

Which one are you trying out first?

Uplevel your social media game and never lose another follower to competition again.

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