By Scott Aughtmon published June 5, 2012

21 Types of Content We Crave

Editor’s note: Because content creation continues to evolve and is essential in any successful content marketing plan, we’ve updated this post.

If your content doesn’t resonate with your audience, then they won’t follow you where you want to take them.  For content marketers, this is a cardinal sin.

The key question is:
What kind of content 
universally resonates with people?

To help you, I’ve created a list of 21 types of content we all love to consume.

You need to understand:

  • This is the kind of content we never get tired of.
  • This is the kind of content we always have time for.  
  • This is the kind of content we don’t forget.
  • And this is the kind of content we want to share with others.

This is the kind of content we must create  if our goal is to influenceinspire, and move to action the unique group of people we have chosen to reach.

You don’t have to have each of these types in every piece of content you produce.  Sometimes one type is enough.  For longer forms of content, you might want to use multiple types of content and move from one to the other.

My challenge to you

Print out this list and put it somewhere you can see it regularly to help you develop irresistible content as part of your content strategy.

Regularly pick one or more items from this list and ask yourself one of these questions:

  1. Does the content I am writing meet this criteria?
  2. What can I do to make the content I’m creating fall under this category?

*Do you have any more types of content that you’d add to this list? Post them in the comments.

Please pass this on to your friends, colleagues, and followers if you found it helpful.
**You are welcome to post it on your blog or site.  (A link back would be appreciated.)

Want your audience to take notice and take action on your brand’s content? Our newest Guide to Essential Content Marketing Tactics has tips, insights, and ideas that can help increase your success with today’s top content marketing plays.

Author: Scott Aughtmon

Scott Aughtmon is the author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. He is a regular contributor to and he is the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. He is a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. He’s been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. He has a unique perspective and ability to communicate ideas and concepts in a way that can help you climb to new heights. Read more of Scott's insights on his blog. Follow Scott on Twitter @rampbusinesses.

Other posts by Scott Aughtmon

  • Muhammad Ayaz

    Thanks for providing great compilation of list and I love the way you have presented it. 🙂

    • Joyce Carol

      really its an awesome article, liked it so much…regards Joyce

  • Scott Aughtmon

    You’re welcome, Muhammad.  Glad you like it!  

  • Dave

    Scott, this is a great list and very easy for the end user to understand. It allows you to take a step back and think about the process of content and breaks it down in a more focused way !
    I will re-post this on my blog- with a link back of course to you.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks, Dave!  I’m glad you liked it.

  • Rick

    Good stuff. I was thinking of examples as I was reading the list. Probably not a bad idea to peruse the list when you’re feeling creative and write down prompts to flesh out later. 

    Thanks again. 

    • Scott Aughtmon

      That’s a good idea, Rick.  Thanks for sharing it.

  • J. C. Baker

    Personally speaking while I agree with some of them, some of this 21 content is a bit repetitive. 

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks for your honest input, J.C.  Some are similar, but there are subtle differences that make a big difference.  The list isn’t supposed to be fool-proof or exhaustive.  I’m sure I missed some. If you have any to add please post some in the comments.  Thanks again for commenting.

  • Andrew Schiestel

    Scott, good short read. We can never be reminded of these ideas enough. And thanks for breaking it down into an infograph style.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re right, Andrew.  Glad you found it helpful.

  • Jamie Alexander

    Nice list, Scott.

    I’ve bookmarked it to look back over when I’m looking for ideas. Cheers.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Glad to hear that, Jamie.

  • Adam Duguay

    Great post Scott. This could literally be a checklist for any organization looking for be more effective with their content marketing and the quality of their storytelling. 

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Hi Adam,  I hope some use it in this way!

  • Diane

    Thanks for the post.  Definitely  great guide to have on hand

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome, Diane.  Take care.

  • Eoin Alexander – Copywriter NI

    Great post, Scott. I’m saving this.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks, Eion.

  • JeromePineau

    I deal with mostly customer care (service/support) content. Besides #19, where would you see an of the other items fitting into that context?

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Hi Jerome.  Mmm…  That’s an interesting question.  I’ve never thought about how these would apply to that particular arena of business.  This is my spontaneous answer…  I would think that #4, #7, #9, and #10 could also apply if used in small doses and in different contexts.  But I really need to think more about this question.  What do you think, Jerome?  Let me know if you come up with other ones that could be used.  

      • JeromePineau

        I dunno man, i was thinking maybe #12 but that’s about it. Problem is that most compelling content is emotional and not rational. When in fact, support content is typically of the rational/intellectual type generally speaking. That’s where the challenge is and what we’re trying to mesh on my team. Tough mandate 🙂

        • Scott Aughtmon

          It is.  I would think telling short stories would help sometimes to explain even rational/intellectual things that’s why I picked #7, but you would be more of the expert in this arena.  Thanks for the challenging question!

  • Fin Wycherley

    Niiiice. Other types of content? Content that makes you seem younger, smarter, richer, nicer than your mates (it’s a common marketing one)

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks for adding to the list, Fin.

  • Usvoter

    great ideas, thanks!

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome.

  • Linda

    Good evening Scott!

    I sooo like the way you have presented this information. Now, perhaps you could follow up with a few pointers as to which readers rate as the most influential, inspiring and likely to move them to action? 

    And being cheeky…. where might I get to learn how to put together an infograph – looks like you have to be super clever (I’m not!)

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Hi Linda,

      Not sure I understand your question.  What do you mean by ”
      which readers rate as the most influential, inspiring and likely to move them to action?”
      And I don’t know how to put together an infographic like this either.  I just came up with a list and a graphic designer I know created it.  You can find someone to do this for cheap on a site like

  • Ruth Lawler

    What a great list for contemplation! As for something to be added, I always enjoy stories or examples where someone is utterly knocked down, gets up, moves on, and triumphantly reaches a higher plane with their values and spirit intact. No grudges, no excuses, no judgments, no self pity, no vengeance…just spunk and a desire to learn, to do, and to succeed.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Great one, Ruth.  That kind of story sounds like the classic Horatio Alger type of story.

  • Jenniferfay13

    Very interesting.  We all love a good blog that is going to tell us to believe in our dreams.  We want to come to something uplifting.  Thanks for the post.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      That’s true.  Thanks, Jennifer.

  • ProfileTree

    Its not too often that there is a post where we agree with every point – this is an excellent graphic – our guideline for the year! Thank you! 

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome.  Thanks for your kind words!

  • Lena

    Superb list. 1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and11 are my favorites. If I were to write this, I wouldn’t have missed these. 

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Glad you liked those ones, Lena!

  • Jill G.

    Thanks for the list. Are they any metrics you can share to how you developed this list? Are some pieces higher performing for the value derived for consumers? From your experience ate these listed in a particular order? Good stuff, thanks.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Hi Jill,

      Great questions. No I don’t have any metrics for these.  I just used my “gut”, observations of content that performs well in many settings, and my experience creating content for the last 2 decades to come up with the list . And based on how many times it’s been tweeted, liked, etc. so far, I seem to have gotten it right.  🙂

      Your question on performance…  I’m sure some of these tend to be higher performing than others (or consistently show results such as #7 – people always love stories), but I think the key is that variety is best.   Your target market would also determine which of these items would resonate more (and more often) than others.  The list is NOT in order of importance.  Thanks for your comment.  Glad you liked them.

  • Erlend Førsund

    Thanks for the very useful list – I pinned it at Pinterest 🙂

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks for pinning it, Erlend!

      • Rachel Rodenborg

        Where’s the list? Or link to the list?

        • Michele Linn

          Hi Rachel. The list is an image in the post. Is it not coming through for you? I can provide the text for you if helpful.

  • Chuck Masterson

    Good responses come from #7, personal stories about people who:
    – get peer-approval
    – become winners after hardship and trials
    – live without fear
    – get the girl in the end (or a great guy)
    – fulfill a hunger
    – gain acceptance from family and or friends
    – bootstrap their own lives from nothing
    Many of these are personal goals, but we get pleasure from seeing others get these things. 
    Which explains the poularity of every kind of “makover” show one can think up.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Hi Chuck.

      That’s very true.  Those are great additions to the list.  And you’re right.  Great “makeover” shows have definitely learned to tap into the “power of story.”  Thanks for commenting.

  • Alan Gray

    Excellent list, Scott

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Very true, Alan!  Thanks for your comment.

  • Cory Stewart

    This is a fantastic list. Definitely able to find inspiration in what this infographic had to say, and it reminded me of some key writing techniques.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks, Cory.  Glad you found it helpful.

  • Pete Stevens

    hmm I see where you are coming from Scott but can I suggest that I think you are confusing content with films (movies). Content that works for me is simply one that feels genuine, and makes a connection between me the reader and the author. Not something trite and contrived. 

    Trying to create content that tries to “remind me that my dreams can come true” runs a big risk of lacking authenticity and turning the reader off… unless it stars Kevin Costner and is called “Field Of Dreams”. 😉


    • Scott Aughtmon

      Hi Pete.  Thanks for your comment and for your polite push-back.  I politely disagree though.  🙂  I’m not implying that anyone should do something trite or contrived.  

      Implementation is key.  A person must know how to use these types of content in natural ways and tie them into what they are offering.Let me give you a couple of examples…1) A previous post I did here on CMI is one example.  It’s called “The 4 Commandments of Socially-Created Content” 

      My whole point was to “sell” people on the idea that customer-created content is an overlooked, but needed, form of content marketing.  I could of just said that, but instead I “wrapped” the concept in a story (#7).  I used content types #2, 8, #9 and others to “sell” the idea.

      2) Another example is a post I did on my site. It’s called “The Legend Of Cliff Young And The Overlooked Ingredient For Success In 2012″ The whole point of that blog post was to remind people that the overlooked way to succeed is to keep going.  

      Again, I could have just said that, but instead I used a story (#7) that incorporated #6, #8, #13, #14 and others to make the point have a more powerful impact.

      For me personally, content that just says, “Here’s what you should do and here are the 5 Steps/Tips/Secrets, etc.” is ok, but gets old quickly.  

      There is too much content out there like that.  What takes content to the next level in my opinion is by “seasoning” it with these 21 types (and others not on my list).

      I really appreciate you’re input and we probably agree more than disagree on not creating trite or contrived content.  

      I just wanted to clarify for you and any others who might have the same idea.  Take care, Pete.

      • Pete Stevens

        I think your example conveys your point well Scott. I don’t personally connect with the people in the story and might think that they were lucky, but it certainly is an effective vehicle to make your point that customer generated reviews & testimonials (content) make a big difference.

        The part that connected with me most was actually the sentence “The most powerful type of influence is when a person shares emotions, actions, and feelings with another” it is this sense of genuine empathy that is the key point about effective content for me. 

        • Scott Aughtmon

          Thanks, Pete.  And I like that sentence too.  If you haven’t read the book “Social Intelligence” you would like it because it has a lot of nuggets of truth like that.  Thanks for taking the time to comment. Take care, man.

  • Chester58

    Good stuff, have shared with marketers at a client organization.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks for doing that.

  • Kent

    Hi Scott, if you can give example for each type of content, then would be very good! 🙂

    • Sandy Metcalf

       He is pretty clear in the 21 types. Examples would be things that are uplifting like- we need to love everyone to be successful- starting with ourselves : ) Or You can work hard in the beginning for almost nothing and hardly work at all in the future and make a fortune.:) things like that are just a couple of types. Things that make people think, make people care make people laugh or act are good Twitter post. If you want to learn more you can check out the post I did about this subject linking to Scott’s 21 ideas

      Take Care Sandy

  • Vicki Kunkel

    Love this list!  Thanks. 

    Just one quick question:  What is your source?  Are these types of content that studies (data) have supported as being what we crave most? Or, is this more along the lines of conventional wisdom?  I do know that many psychology reportsand studies support these topics as being most interesting in large-and-small-screen films, but I’m not aware of any scientifically-sound studies on text-based content.  It does make sense, though, that people would gravitate toward content that makes them feel good about themselves, which is what most in this list do.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Hi Vicki. Great question. The idea for this list of 21 types of content came from a realization I had about there being consistent types of content that people crave regardless of the context.

      I then just used my “gut”, observations of content I’ve seen perform well in many settings, and my experience creating content for the last 2 decades to come up with the list.

      And based on the response to this post, people seem to agree. 🙂

      • Vicki Kunkel

        Thanks for the response.  Please understand I wasn’t challenging your content; I was just curious. 🙂 Appreciate the reply! 

        • Scott Aughtmon

          No problem.  I didn’t think you were!  It was a valid and good question.  Take care, Vicki.  🙂

  • Stanley Rao

    great post..thanks for sharing this out..this has been of a great help to me

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome, Stanley!  Glad to hear you found it helpful!

  • Deola Kayode

    love the list! irrespective of what Google decides on with their ever changing updates, content rules and those who understand how to use content marketing will always win

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Deola – Thanks.  Glad you love it.  And I agree.  Good, unique content always wins for Google or for human readers.  

  • Masilela J

    Recommendable article! I would like CMI to forward more of these items, articles and news updates  to my e-mail address on  adaily basis.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Glad you liked it.  Have a great day.

  • Tanya Meyers

    Great list! I printed it out and put it in my office AND in my boss’s office.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks, Tanya.  Hope it proves helpful for you and your boss!

  • Shane Spaulding

    This is a great list, it’ll be especially helpful when helping others, particularly less experienced writer-speakers, when they have to make a presentation.

    I’d also add two related suggestions, “Content that helps us to be more productive, effective and efficient,” and “Content that helps us to save time, money or other valuable resources.”

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks for the suggestions, Shane.  

  • Utkarsh

    Awesome article.It does cover each aspect of a readers need.Great to have this list.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks.  Glad you liked it.

  • Janet Bates

    Fantastic list! I primarily work as a content developer/writer in the Employee Engagement and Sales Incentive field. You have succinctly summed up what could be an editorial calendar for 21 distinct touch points with program participants. I will definitely use this as a guide for making my recommendations to clients. Thanks for sharing and encouraging us to share with others.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks for your kind words, Janet. Glad that it will be helpful for you.

  • Vigaw

    Thanks for this great article Scott.  I am mentoring, coaching and developing my SMM team in Thailand and will make this their daily mantra.  Does anyone have any kind of metrics or analytics to measure the ‘performance’ of content? Does some content work better than others?  

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome, Vigaw.  I’m sure some content works better than others and I bet there is some kind of metrics or analytics on performance of content, but I don’t know of anything in particular that I can point you to.  Sorry.

  • testeza

    Great list! I am printing it out as I already did with your other article. I guess most of your articles will go to my non-digital folder “The best of the marketing world.”

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks so much for your kind words. Take care, Tess.

  • Eugene

    Great Scott!! On behalf of everyone that’s ever hit the ‘Idea Wall’, thanks for sharing this. I just printed mine out. Pure Genius.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re very welcome, Eugene.

  • Erica Kriner

    Hi, Scott! My name is Erica, and my college major is going to be public relations/marketing.
    Right now, I am the chair of a youth-led organization called the Youth Service Fund. This post especially helps, but maybe you could direct me to other articles that could be more geared towards my cause. Naturally, while I always inventory your ideas for later, they aren’t much help to a junior in high school with limited funding. 🙂 Any suggestions about marketing my cause?

    • Scott Aughtmon

      If I was you I would network with other people trying to reach the same audience as you.

  • Ram Babu SEO

    thanks scott for telling us impressive ways how content should be created interestingly !

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome, Ram!

  • john shermer

    Scott….this is freaking brilliant.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Thanks, John. That’s freaking nice of you to say! 🙂

  • Angelique Tonge

    Thanks Scott, Great list to kick start thought. Thanks again

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome, Angelique! Glad you liked it.

  • Lotte

    content that make us angry, wanna fight for a case or talk back

  • Laura Card

    Great article Scott – thank you!! Helped me tremendously to cleanse and perfect my editorial calendar! Shared it with some peers from the training course I’m taking – people are loving it! 🙂

    • Scott Aughtmon

      So glad to hear that, Laura. Thanks for sharing it.

  • CartoonGenius

    Hi Scott, this is brilliant, just what I needed to plan ahead. It’s like finding a gold mine – you feel you should share it but I want to keep all the gems to myself! Thanks a million!

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome. Glad you liked it! Take care.

  • Owen Rampha

    The beauty of this is that its all applicable to Radio Broadcasting as well.. I’ve always believed that great content should be compelling, engaging, memorable. This is achievable by must evoking or touching on any one or more of our primal emotions as people..( joy, sadness, fear, hope, shock/surprise, anger, etc) and feeding our constant thirst for knowledge. I also believe that all this, is the real definition of Entertainment. Thanks Scott.

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome, Owen. Take care.

  • Yummi House Pte Ltd

    nice one. thanks.

  • priyanka pareek

    Hey Scott! 🙂 My name is Priyanka, and I am coming up with a magazine… I didn’t want to be like another Cosmo or a Vogue. I was looking for something realistic and helpful. after going through tons of articles online, I came across this article. And honestly, your article is very helpful and its to the point. Thanks for putting this up! 🙂 Made my work a lot easier! 🙂 Take Care…

    • Scott Aughtmon

      You’re welcome! I am so glad it was helpful to you, Priyanka.

  • Ofuma Agali

    Fantastic summation. I will have this pinned to my work room wall!

    • Scott Aughtmon

      Glad to hear that Ofuma. Take care!

  • CM

    Still relevant as ever!! Definitely integrating this into my workflow. Many thanks for the share Scott :]