Four content format ideas to help you stand out

As the content marketing noise gets louder, differentiation is hard. We look at four types of content that can help get your message heard above the din.

Four content format ideas to help you stand out

Hollywood film producer and lyricist Arthur Freed once said: “Don’t try to be different. Just be good. To be good is different enough.”

As the writer of Singin’ in the Rain and the head of a department at MGM, this sentiment probably came pretty easily to Mr Freed. For most of us, the difficult part is getting noticed in the first place.

This is especially true right now in content marketing. Quite simply because everyone’s at it, which means having your voice heard above the crowd requires a little extra something—no matter how good your content is.

The question you need to ask yourself is what that something is.

One of the ways you can differentiate your message is to package it in a different way. The world of content marketing is inundated with blogs, eBooks and infographics, so you have to work extremely hard to create something that stands out in those formats.

I’m not saying it’s impossible (especially if you have the right writers – hello! – on board), just very hard.

But if you pick a format that people don’t see every day… instantly, you’re different. That can help you get noticed by the right people. And once you’re in front of the right people, you just have to make sure you’re saying the right things.

Here are four slightly more unusual formats you may like to consider:

1. Podcasts

Since the 2014 premier of This American Life spin-off Serial, podcasting’s popularity has shot through the roof. In fact, between 2008 and 2015 the percentage of Americans who listen to a podcast in any given month doubled.

Granted, when it comes to B2B marketing we don’t have many murder mysteries to cover that are going to get us 3.4 million downloads per episode. But, on the plus side, podcasting is relatively cheap, easy to do, and even easier for your audience to digest—whether they’re in the car on the way to work, out for a run, or drifting off to sleep. So, if you have something interesting to say, this can be a great way of getting it heard.

But like all good content marketing, it can’t just be about you and your product. It needs to be useful, or entertaining, or otherwise worth the listener’s while.

One we really like on the marketing side is Jay Acunzo’s “Unthinkable” podcast. It’s all about the craft of content creation, which, as copywriters, is right up our artisan-shop-lined, cobble-stoned street.

2. SlideShare

Who here loves a PowerPoint presentation? Yeah, thought not.

Quite often, LinkedIn’s SlideShare format is used by people uploading their PowerPoint slides to the internet, sans presentation notes and any useful context.

The end result, as you would imagine, falls somewhere between being fairly uninteresting and utterly pointless. But there are some who see true potential in the format and are making the most of what it has to offer.

Done well, a SlideShare can be a gripping, copy-light story that readers can power through in a few minutes. (We’ve found the key to writing one is to have each slide end on a cliff-hanger, to keep the story you’re telling ticking and your audience clicking.)

Do this right and you can generate huge interest, as content marketing supremo Doug Kessler proved with his SlideShare on surviving the content marketing deluge. At the time of writing it has had roughly 2.7 million views.

3. Whatever this is…

One of the most expensive teas in the world comes from Southwest China and costs around £3,500 for 50 grams. Why? Because it’s fertilized with panda crap. And why does this make it so popular? Because people love novelty. Or, in this case, novel tea.

The (rather tenuous) point I’m making is that any new or novel format is bound to attract some interest in your work, and if you get the chance to pioneer one, you absolutely should.

As an example, take a look at this editorial from the BBC and scroll down the page. The combination of pictures, animations, and embedded video in this parallax site is really striking, and I think we can expect to see a lot more of this content in the near future.

You’ll find similar examples here and here.

4. Twitter trailers

Bite-size content formats can have a big impact, too – especially if not many other people are using them. We’ve found embedding a video trailer in a Tweet is a great way to get noticed and drive traffic to content on our site.

Tweets with images and videos tend to gain a lot more traction on social media than those comprised of just text, so use this opportunity to create a short teaser for your blog, e-book, white paper or podcast.

(Full disclosure: we shamelessly copied this idea from Modern’s Twitter feed. It works really well.)


Put your mind to it, and you can probably think up loads of other ways to help your message stand out. Here at Radix we made a board game to explain what it is we do. Over at Xero they covered an Adele song to show how easy it is to be an award-winning multi-platinum artist, or something.

The point is, it doesn’t take much extra effort to stand out. If you put some effort into doing something a little bit different, people are going to take notice. The trick is making sure they take notice for the right reasons.

For more B2B content tips

Subscribe to the Good Copy, Bad Copy podcast.


More posts you might like…

A disjointed sales and marketing funnel.

Part of our funnel is missing: 3 kinds of asset content marketing forgot

Every content marketer knows about TOFU, MOFU and BOFU. We need to talk about PREFU, REFU and POFU.

The Periodic Table of B2B Marketing Clichés

B2B copy has always been plagued with clichés. But now there’s a whole new crop of over-used phrases to scoff at. We’ve collected the whole lot into one handy table.

Make your writing more effective

Get copywriting tips and advice — direct to your inbox every month: