Lauren Kaye

Buzzfeed has become wildly successful for a reason – people love tips and tricks that can make their lives easier. This trend doesn’t only impact consumer-friendly articles – it also plays right into brands’ marketing strategies. Econsultancy recently conducted a study of 422 blog posts that were published over a two-year span on the Red Rocket Media website. The plan was to find out what kinds of content drove the most traffic both short term and long term. The result? How-tos work for businesses, too.

The 4 kinds of content

To measure which kind of content draws the biggest audiences, Econsultancy hashed out four categories:

1. Topical content – AKA news articlesNews content gets a lot of visits right away.

Analysis showed these timely pieces of content are an important part of any results-driven content strategy because they capture interest when it matters most. On top of bringing steady search traffic to the site, these news-driven posts will occasionally strike a viral nerve that causes a significant surge in visits.

2. Promotional content – AKA landing pages

Econsultancy found blog posts that have a sales angle perform much differently than news-focused articles. There are the few that attract immediate traffic, but these types of posts tend to provide just as many visits once they’ve been added to the archive as they do in the first month after publication.

3. Knowledge content – AKA white papers, case studies, testimonials

Intuition suggests white papers and other content for thought leadership stand to generate the most interest over time. Generally speaking, this is what the study determined. The entire archive of blog posts geared toward sharing information and insights drew more traffic than pieces published in the previous month.

4. Instructional content – AKA how-to posts, the ‘listicle’Content writers should consider how they can make their pieces more actionable for greater longevity.

While knowledge content is a long-term traffic driver, it was eclipsed by what Econsultancy deemed ‘instructional blogs.’ Data shows that brand content generates the most traffic when it tells readers how to do something, or otherwise introduces a process. Over the two-year reporting period, the traffic going to instructional blog content began to resemble a bell curve, with visits outpacing the rate at which posts were being added to the archive.

Marketers who want to increase their brands’ presences can’t be afraid to engage prospects. A long-form, downloadable document might feel more appropriate, and in many cases, it will be. However, the digital marketplace is challenging professional organizations, and B2Bs in particular, to step outside of their comfort zones with interactive content or risk becoming irrelevant.

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