For businesses large or small, content marketing has been the most effective way to increase a brand’s online presence. Just having a website doesn’t cut it anymore. More and more customers are seeking the information they find online to learn more about certain products and services. This includes what they find on social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest and what articles, blogs, images, and videos they come across along the way.

Above all else, content marketing provides businesses with the opportunity to start a conversation and begin building a relationship with customers. When a relationship is established, the customer’s trust as well as likelihood to purchase a product or service from a certain business increases.

When a business is ready to begin a journey with content marketing, it’s important to establish direction. That’s where a content marketing strategy comes in. A strategy helps a brand lay out the overall message they would like to share and establish a target audience to share that message to. Along with a strategy, a brand will need well-written content that provides value for customers. This content not only has to be valuable, it has to be shareable.

Take a look at the four most basic, essential pieces to add to a content marketing strategy, no matter what type of business or industry you fall in.

1. eBooks

Ebooks are great ways to attract potential leads and garner trust with established customers. When a customer wants to learn about a specific topic, they can sign up to download the eBook through a lead capture form. This allows a organization to collect a lead who has already express interest in the product or service.

Ebooks are well written and laid out in a professional manner. These pieces should be chalk-full of useful information and look beautiful to boot. Ebooks can be converted into PDF documents to make them shareable and downloadable.

2. Infographics

Everyone loves an infographic, that’s because infographics are great, visually stimulating ways to display what would otherwise be boring data. Infographics should always be visually interesting and relevant to the data it’s displaying.The data on an infographic can certainly be complicated and robust, but the infographic should be easy-to-read and digestible. One great thing to note about infographics is that they can be branded with a business logo and a list of sources at the bottom so you can always get credit anytime someone shares it!

Infographics are great for displaying on social media sites and including in blog articles.

3. Video

Nothing online is quite as captivating as video. Video is a great way to visually share information about your business, your expertise on a certain topic, or what your customers have to say about you. These videos can be shared all over the web, including your YouTube channel, website, or email newsletter. Whether you decide to create your own video or let the professionals do it for you, make sure you have great lighting, quality sound, on-screen graphics, and a professional voiceover. This will help increase viewership and have your videos looking their best.

4. White Papers

Lastly, whitepapers are great way to provide expertise on a specific topic. While they are similar to eBooks, whitepapers are broader in nature. They are one single document that can include industry or marketing trends about your industry or sector and include good quality research to back up those findings. Much like an eBook, these should be branded with your logo and look clean, well designed, and professional. These will have to be PDF documents and be properly sourced and cited to be the most effective.