Strange though it may sound, not all ideas need to be expressed as blog posts. There is, in fact, a huge range of alternatives out there, if you just do a little exploring. Create a little variety for your audience by mixing and matching with some of these.

  1. A white paper is a guide or report on a particular technology, product or policy. Like a government white paper, white papers are often published by organisations to provide information about a change to policy or practice, or to introduce a new technology. They are a good way to showcase expertise, and allow more in-depth exploration and explanation than a blog post. They are also a good way to gather contact details from potential customers, because you can require email addresses in exchange for a download.
  2. How-to guides explain a process. They can be either written, with illustrations, or published as videos. Whatever the form, these guides walk your audience through the process, showing or explaining each step. They may be helpful, for example, in showing your customers how to set up a new system, or how to navigate a problem or fix a bug that is bothering a number of customers, or even how to do something with a particular piece of software, such as control animations in Powerpoint. 
  3. Checklists are lists of tasks that need to be accomplished to complete a particular process. They generally list tasks in the order that they need to be completed, so they can be used to help walk someone through the process, and ensure that each step is signed off in turn. Some commentators distinguish between checklists and templates, with templates being the outline of the process, and a checklist being a single copy completed on a particular occasion, but this seems like semantics.
  4. Short rants are brief opinion pieces about something that you feel strongly about, and usually angry. Ranting is generally considered to be shouting excitedly and incoherently about something in anger, but this is not the impression you want to give. You want to get your points across quickly and coherently, but in a way that also clearly expresses why something makes you angry—and what you think needs to change. Consider the ideal length to be about half your usual blog post, and signal to your audience that this is a rant, not your usual considered piece (for example, by starting “I admit it, this is a rant”, or finishing “OK, rant over”).
  5. Webinars are online seminars. They therefore often include a presentation by a speaker, with slides, followed by a Q&A session. Users can generally see the slides and hear the speaker’s voice, but cannot usually see the speaker. Webinars are good in that users can join live, but they can also be accessed later by others, so the impact can develop over time. Webinars are particularly useful for sharing expertise when your audience is likely to have questions, but you are not sure what will be raised.
  6. Short-form videos are video content of up to ten minutes in length. A recent study by AOL suggests that more than half of millennials prefer short-form video as a way to access news. The number of people watching short-form videos has also increased hugely in the last year or so, across pretty much all age ranges. The key to effective videos is good production quality: around 60% say they stop watching if the quality is not good, and a similar proportion  that they will only share good quality videos. The best videos also have a clear message or story, and usually open with the punchline.
  7. Long-form videos are videos that run for longer than ten minutes. It is fair to say that most people don’t watch long-form videos in full. Around half of videos that are 90 seconds or shorter are watched to the end. That figure drops to just 10% for those over 30 minutes in length. But, and this is a big but, when it’s good, people will watch long-form videos: just think of TED talks. Get it right, and people will stay longer on your page, which is good for search. But you do have to get the right content, that people want to watch. 
  8. Memes are short videos, images or pieces of text, often designed to be humorous, that are copied and shared rapidly across the internet. They are often changed slightly before sharing, and it is not unusual to see the same photo or video with different captions or commentary. Making a meme is simple: you can just use one of the many tools available online, such as Meme Generator from imgflip, which allows you to add text to images.
  9. Infographics are basically visual representations of information. An infographic can therefore be as simple as a graph, but when people talk about infographics, they usually mean graphics that provide more than one piece of information, usually telling a story about a report or research findings, for example. Good infographics are visually compelling and easy to understand, but they are best supported by other content, such as white papers and blog posts. Be warned, though: creating good infographics is a professional job, and not one to be undertaken lightly.
  10. Case studies are descriptions of how one individual or organisation uses a product or service. They are specific, and usually mention the case company or individual by name. They are designed to show potential customers how they, too, might benefit from the product, and encourage further contact. Case study companies may also agree to talk to others about their experience. Case studies are often longer than standard blog posts, to provide plenty of detail.
  11. GIF stands for ‘Graphic Interchange Format’, and gifs are image files that are used for both still and moving images. Like memes, the easiest way to make gifs is to use one of the many gif-making tools available from the internet, such as those from giphy.com and imgflip. You can, for example, turn a Powerpoint presentation into an animated gif, by using ‘Save As’  in Powerpiont, and choosing the gif format, then selecting ‘Convert Every Slide’. Once you have a folder of slides as gif files, you can then use a gifmaker to turn them  into an animated gif file, following the instructions on the third-party gifmaker’s site.
  12. Social media posts are posts on social media sites, including Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Quora. The precise form of the post will vary with the site, with some supporting long-form and others favouring short-form content. The type of content that works well will also vary, but social media is a very good way to share your blog posts and other content with a wider audience.
  13. Podcasts are digital audio (or video) files that are made available for download onto a phone or computer. You can therefore create podcasts from almost any digital audio file, and they are a good option for sharing keynote speeches from conferences, for example. Longer interviews can also work well as a podcast, because users can listen to them at their leisure. You may want to upload your podcast onto a podcasting site such as Libsyn or Buzzsprout to reach a wider audience.
  14. Photographic images are exactly what the name suggests: images made from photographs. The classic photographic images used as content are selfies, for Instagram influencers. For businesses, sharing photos of presenters at big events with a quote from their speech is very effective, as are images of people using your products or services, or even your staff, getting on with their jobs. Images, and particularly photos, tend to get much more interaction on social media, so it is worth experimenting a bit to see what works for your audience.
  15. Animations are a way of manipulating static images to make them appear to move on screen. They are useful in Powerpoint, to make your bullet points arrive on screen nicely, though you may have been warned off them as distracting—and, indeed, too much animation is a definite put-off. This useful guide to animations in Powerpoint suggests that you should only use animations and transitions to highlight the most important parts of your presentation, and that it is best to use only one effect for each slide you want to highlight. Less is definitely more, but a little emphasis can really help.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.