top of page

The 4 Types of Content for Great Online Marketing

Updated: Oct 19, 2018


Online marketing is the new mantra for business because it has the potential to reach a global audience, be more targeted, and cost a lot less per impression. It only works though if you are willing to put in the work needed to make great content, content is king.

Online marketing is new and high tech, but has the same requirements as traditional marketing, to earn people's attention your content still needs to answer the 3 key marketing questions:

  1. Why should I care? (you must get my attention, stand above the noise on the web)

  2. What’s in it for me? (give me something valuable that benefits me)

  3. Why should I believe you? (be credible, don’t sound like a sales person)

In a world drowning in meaningless content, if you want to earn people’s attention, then you have to give something of greater value to get their attention. To get their attention your content needs to deliver relevant value, no strings attached. I’ve categorized four different levels of content value:

  1. INFORM - Give them information they didn’t have before (thought leadership) - Good

  2. ENTERTAIN - Entertain them so they feel good - Good

  3. RESOURCE - Help them solve a problem, answer a hard question & have a useful tool - Better

  4. EMPOWER - Help them develop their own skills, deliver an outcome, succeed & look like a hero (enable them to “do it yourself”) - Best

Content value follows a continuum, the list above goes from least valuable to most and reflects the increasing effort in preparation to make it more valuable. The reason most people don’t make great content is it takes a lot of work and that is the key, your value add is to do the work so others don’t have to. Simply put, the time and effort you spend on creating high value content is the time and effort you’ve saved others to do it for themselves, and depending on your level of expertise 1 hour of your time may equal 10 hours of theirs. What the internet gives you is the ability to share the value of your work with so many others and in doing so you will build your online brand and reputation by helping others. Below is a simple “4 types of content” framework I use:


Thought leadership, is where you tell people something they don’t know – “an MIT research report says the future of work is "gigs", not employment”. The value proposition is it saves people the time to research it themselves; make this type of content interesting, useful and relevant. Simply re-sharing other’s content marginally builds your brand credibility, creating your own thought leadership is better if done well, information has a short shelf-life and limited reach as it is hard to get through the online noise


Give people something to lighten their day – picture / audio / video / story of something cute (puppies), something funny, something inspirational, …You want this type of content to generate a positive feeling; this type of content creates a positive emotional association with your brand and has the potential to go viral; it doesn’t necessarily build your business credibility. Humour can be risky as not everyone interprets the way you intend


Give people something that has utility, gives direction, answers a question or solves a problem for them ie. – “Here are 10 things you need to do when setting up your new company”. Save time, solve a problem that leverages / showcases your special expertise; this type of content has better staying power and builds your brand and image as a subject matter expert (SME)


Give people something that empowers them to solve their own problem, develop skills & produce results that makes them look like a hero ie. – “Here is a word template for a start-up founders share agreement complete with a shareholder spread sheet to keep track of everyone’s equity through multiple financings”. this type of content saves significant time, money, solves a real problem, and makes them look like a superstar. This type of content enables someone to produce their own outcome and gives you the greatest credibility. It also positions you as a subject matter expert (SME), as an educator, an enabler, and it invites people into more of a dialogue for you to help them fine tune their solution.

This content social marketing strategy is effective for business and for individuals looking for work. I develop content both personally and professionally and when I do the factors I consider are:

  1. What does my “target market” want or need most urgently?

  2. What is hot and topical for my target market today?

  3. How can my knowledge or experience help in a unique way?

  4. How much time do I have; and how many people will it be relevant to?

Then I jump in and start writing, as you see here in this article.

I believe these are ideas to consider as you take your marketing and your organization to the next level.

Brad Gaulin, P.Eng., MBA

Chief Evolution Officer

Helping Leaders Get their Teams “Unstuck”, because change is hard, but not changing is fatal!

32 views0 comments


bottom of page