There's no doubt that great content makes a difference in your web traffic. However, when debating what to put on your site, one often arises: What types of content writing are best for driving traffic? That answer depends on your brand, your industry, and your audience.
Keep reading to learn the nine best types of content writing for bringing in traffic, when to use each, and examples of content writing that works.
Blog Post Content Writing
Blog posts are one of the most essential types of content writing. That has both benefits and drawbacks. Blog posts are easy to write, but there are billions of posts competing for attention. To make a blog post stand out, you need to use keywords carefully to help them show up at the top of search engine result pages (SERPs). If your professional content writers do excellent keyword research, blog posts are the absolute best way to increase organic traffic to your website.
When to Use Blog Posts
Any business with an online presence can improve traffic by using keyword-target blog posts. It's not necessary to publish dozens of posts a month, either. Investing in high-quality search engine optimization writing for a few blog posts each month can dramatically increase traffic by helping your website rank higher in search engine results pages (SERPs).
Example of Keyword-Targeted Blog Posts
Lifestyle and tourism blog TimeOut targets a major point of interest about the Windy City with its blog post " The 21 best pizza spots in Chicago." This piece of long-form content carefully targets essential keywords like "deep dish," "delivery," and "thin crust" to appear at the top of SERPs for a common set of searches for people in the local area.
Pros and Cons of Blog Post Content Writing
- The most fundamental type of content marketing
- Flexible enough to fit every brand's style and offerings
- It may require significant keyword research to find keywords
- Writing excellent content on your own can be time-consuming
2. How-To Guides
How-to guides are step-by-step pieces of content explaining how to solve a problem like changing settings on a phone or building a new patio. How-to guides are articles that are supposed to answer a commonly searched question. These guides have no "ideal" length. A guide should be high-quality content that answers the question in its entirety.
When to Use How-To Guides
The best time to use a how-to guide is when you find a relevant long-tail keyword that asks a question, like:
- How to refinish leather boots?
- How to clean a fish tank?
- How to remove bleach stain?
You can also use how-to guides to increase traffic and explain how your business's offerings can solve problems. For instance, a brand dedicated to home repair could post how-to guides highlighting their offerings in its instructions.
Example of How-To Guides
The shoe brand Nicks Boots reinforces its brand and attracts search engine traffic with its article " Discover How To Restore Leather Boots In 5 Easy Steps." The content provides value to current customers by explaining how to restore leather boots like the ones Nicks sells. It also directs traffic to the store should people decide the process is too complicated.
Pros and Cons of How-To Guides
- Provides genuine value to visitors
- Can be easy to improve on low-quality competition to rank on SERPs
- Many how-to niches are relatively saturated
- Long-form guides require expertise to write
The listicle is a numbered list that breaks down a broader topic into specific entries. Listicles can be introductions to more in-depth subjects, product collections or recommendations, or just human interest topics.
List-based posts grab reader attention since titles like "Top 7 Reasons to Visit Phoenix" or "The 5 Best Ways to Relax This Weekend" pique reader curiosity. These articles can be as long or as short as you want — they win traffic based on the strength of their titles and the first few hundred words of writing.
When to Use Listicles
Listicles are a great way to bring people to your site for the first time. As long as your listicles match the tone of your brand, you can use them to attract both organic search engine traffic and win clicks on social media.
Example of Listicles
This very article is a listicle. Another excellent example of a list-based post is the Autotrader article " 10 Best Used Cars for 2021." It's concise, clear, and delivers exactly what it promises while ranking at the top of SERPs for significant searches like "best-used cars."
Pros and Cons of Listicles
- Easy to write
- Great for both search engine and social media traffic
- Need to be written well to avoid bouncing traffic
- Must cover an interesting topic or visitors won't care
4. Product Reviews
Depending on your brand, product reviews can be excellent content writing samples. The goal of these reviews is to provide helpful information for potential customers researching different options before they make a purchase.
Product-based companies can post comparisons between their products and their competitors. They can also use reviews of related items that don't compete with their offerings. Other brands may post reviews of products connected to their niche, acting as an expert resource for their target audience.
When to Use Product Reviews
The best time to use a product review in content marketing is when you identify demand in your niche. If a related business releases a new offering, posting a review can attract traffic as people do their research before buying it. You can also post reviews at the end or beginning of the year to highlight the best options of that year.
Example of Product Reviews
Techradar specializes in product news and reviews, so it's no surprise their article " Best computer 2022: the best PCs we've tested" is so excellent. The review is thorough and compares a dozen different computers to give the reader the best option for their needs.
Pros and Cons of Product Reviews
- Provides genuine value to visitors looking to do research
- Positions your brand as an expert in the field
- Requires testing the subject of the review to write an honest summary
- Product-based companies must be careful to avoid cannibalizing their sales
5. Thought Leadership Articles
A thought leadership post is an opinion post intended to build your brand's credibility. A good leadership post is genuinely educational and helpful. It should also be broader than a simple how-to guide or product review. Thought leadership content should give other people in your industry something to think about and position your brand as an expert resource. It should also encourage social media shares, driving people to your site.
When to Use Thought Leadership Articles
The best time to create thought leadership content is when you meet two criteria:
- You've developed a significant following in your industry
- You have a genuine opinion about how an aspect of your industry should be approached, changed, or grown
A brand new business doesn't have the pull for an audience to care about an opinion post, much less something intended to be "thought leadership. Similarly, there's no need for a thought leadership post unless you have something to say. However, if you meet those two conditions, a thought leadership post can be an excellent way for everyone in your niche to visit your site and learn what you have to say.
Example of Thought Leadership Articles
Deloitte, an international auditing and risk advisory firm, is an undisputed thought leader in financial and technological fields. The company's article " Future of media monetization" is a perfect example of how the company reinforces this position with well-written summaries and expert opinions on complicated topics.
Pros and Cons of Thought Leadership Articles
- Supports your status as an expert in the field
- Encourages shares on LinkedIn and other social media platforms
- Not the right choice for brand-new companies or non-experts
- Must be carefully written, or the content can backfire and reflect poorly on your brand
Interviews are a great way to connect your brand with other experts in the field. Conducting and posting interviews positions your brand as a resource for your visitors while allowing you to connect with the interviewee's audience.
When to Use Interviews
If you have a connection with an expert in your field or want to build authority for your site, interviews are an excellent way to generate content. You can even use interviews to give your readers more familiar with the people that run your brand. However, you need to carefully plan the questions you'll ask to ensure the answers you receive provide a solid foundation for written materials.
Example of Interviews
Interviews are incredibly flexible and can be used in any field. For instance, the Library of Congress posts regular interviews with its interns to generate content that appeals to potential applicants. Interviews can be as simple as the Library of Congress example or more complex dialogs that dig into deeper problems.
Pros and Cons of Interviews
- The expert generates the bulk of the content for you
- Lets you connect with the interviewee's audience
- Can be challenging to schedule, transcribe, and edit
7. White Papers
Another authoritative type of content writing is the white paper. A white paper is an expert discussion of a specific subject that offers a proposed solution to that issue. These documents typically explain either processes or technologies and how they can solve problems in business or governmental contexts. White papers are formal documents and should be written to fit specific formatting standards to support their professional use.
When to Use White Papers
These documents are best used to support your company's authority in the field. They can be written to explain and provide evidence of the problems your company solves. White papers are most common in formal professional fields, including:
Example of White Papers
One of the most influential white papers of all time is " Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System," written by Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin. The white paper was written to introduce cryptocurrency to the world and demonstrates the almost academic nature of white papers in general. It shows the impact that a single well-timed and well-written white paper can have.
Pros and Cons of White Papers
- Provides evidence of authority through professional research
- Evergreen content remains useful until the problem or solution changes significantly
- Requires in-depth research and analysis to write effectively
- Not as effective in many B2C industries
An infographic is a piece of visual content, but it can also serve as an informative type of content writing. A great infographic can go viral, spreading your brand across the internet and driving traffic to your site. However, infographics require design talent and time to put together. If you have the right data and audience, though, the effort may be worth it.
When to Use Infographics
The best time to use an infographic is when you have original or poorly-known research and statistics that you can summarize in 500 words or less. They're excellent for generating social media content because of their visual nature. If you're pushing to increase engagement on Facebook or Twitter, infographics can make a big difference.
Example of Infographics
This infographic by Supermarket News demonstrates how these posts fit a lot of information into a small space. It also illustrates how vital numbers and visuals are to the medium. The text is critical for explaining the subject, but the statistics catch the eye.
Pros and Cons of Infographics
- Most likely type of content to go viral
- Great for sharing on social media
- Resource and time-intensive
- Poorly designed or researched infographics may damage your brand by connecting it to false or ugly content
9. Podcasts and Webinar Summaries
Podcasts and webinar summaries are another way to branch out from standard written content. You can develop a summary for every episode that outlines the topics it covers and suggest readers watch or listen. This converts the valuable information in the webinar or podcast into text scannable by search engines, increasing the likelihood of appearing in searches.
It also makes the content approachable to people with hearing impairments and those who aren't fluent in English.
When to Use Podcasts and Webinar Summaries
If you're already producing audiovisual materials, you have a treasure trove of potential content for your site. Any brand that makes these materials should consider creating written summaries as well.
Example of Podcasts and Webinar Summaries
The American Congress of Rehabilitation Medicine provides summaries for every webinar they host. The overview of their Innovations in Aging Research Webinar is excellent. It covers the host's expertise, the topics included in the webinar, and what the audience will learn from it.
Pros and Cons of Podcasts and Webinar Summaries
- No need to do extra research
- Quick to produce
- Can cannibalize audiovisual media traffic if too thorough
The Right Type of Content Writing Will Win You Web Traffic
The nine types of content described above are some of the best structures for pulling traffic to your site. No matter your industry, the right content can help you win more traffic and keep people on your site longer. Learn more about how great content can improve your site by speaking with a Compose.ly specialist today.