Inbound Marketing Content Types You Should Be Creating in 2024

A deeper look into White Papers, PDFs, and Interactive Content

There’s a wealth of information out there on how to write compelling white papers. It’s somewhat harder to find information on how best to integrate them into your sales and inbound marketing efforts.

When used properly, a white paper can be a powerful addition to your inbound marketing strategy, helping to draw potential customers through your funnel. But modern marketers aren’t always clear on how to do this. Where exactly does the white paper fit in?

Prospects need different types of content at various stages. Some forms of content are best suited to attract visitors, while others are more appropriate for nurturing leads. Still, other types are perfect for nudging them over that last hump before making a purchase.

When potential buyers have identified their problem and are now shopping around for the best solution, they’re most likely to appreciate the deep dive — authoritative, educational, non-promotional content that helps them figure out what to do next.

There is no better content asset than the white paper to meet that need.

How to use white papers in your inbound marketing funnel

How white papers can fill your inbound marketing funnel

White papers remain one of the most valued content assets for your buyers. More than three-fourths of survey respondents said they are willing to exchange information about themselves for white papers — more than for eBooks, case studies, analyst reports, podcasts, or infographics.

Not only does offering a high-quality white paper bolster your lead generation, but it can also directly influence your sales. More than half of the Eccolo Media B2B Technology Content Survey respondents reported reading a white paper before making a buying decision.

This data suggests that white papers provide immense opportunities. Thorough, engaging white papers serve to both lure more people into the decision stage of your buyer’s journey and to encourage readers to make a purchase.

White papers are invaluable to your inbound marketing content strategy.

Needless to say, the effectiveness of your white papers and their ability to drive conversions will largely depend on their quality. With so much on the line, you cannot afford to cut corners with text-heavy, static PDFs. A better option is to go interactive.

Time to break up with PDFs and create interactive content

Time to break up with PDFs and create interactive content

Despite their continued widespread use, PDF is quickly becoming a legacy format. As more users engage with your site via their phones, mobile-first design becomes increasingly important. While web developers have adapted to this trend, producers of gated content assets (like white papers) generally have not.

A PDF’s inability to accommodate responsive design makes it virtually useless to an increasingly large segment of your visitors.

Frankly, it’s astonishing that so many inbound marketers still offer downloadable PDFs considering they’re so difficult to consume on mobile devices. But the reality is that many businesses are unaware of PDF alternatives.

Another glaring limitation of PDFs is that they cannot be measured or tracked. Once a user has downloaded a PDF, you cannot see how (or whether) they engaged with it, and thus gain no useful insights for improving your content and inbound marketing strategy.

Interactive, digital white papers overcome both of these limitations — they display perfectly on any device and can be used together with measurement tools like Google Analytics.

In addition, they offer a wealth of other features to help you capture and maximize the return on your investment, some of which we’ll introduce below.

Personalize your Inbound Marketing Content

inbound marketing content personalization

Personalizing your inbound marketing content for your readers and their specific interests makes it more relevant and engaging.

If you’ve gated your content, readers already share their information with you to access your white paper, either by filling out a form or using social login. You can then use the information they provide to enrich your content.

With interactive white papers, not only can you address readers by name, but you can also show or hide particular sections of your white paper based on each reader’s industry or job title as listed on LinkedIn. Increasing relevance on a per-reader basis with hyper-personalization can drastically improve the effectiveness of your white paper in generating sales.

Multimedia improves the prospect’s experience

As attention spans continue to dwindle, modern content consumers prefer to interact with visuals more than with text. Some studies have even demonstrated that the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. This has big implications regarding how you present key information in your marketing assets.

In an analysis of 650,000 articles, software company Sumo found that the average consumer reads only about 25% of an article’s text. According to BuzzSumo, visual content is more likely than any other type of content to drive engagement, get shared, and result in action.

With more people simply skimming over pages and scanning for salient information, it’s essential that you communicate your value proposition as quickly as possible — and the best way to do this is with visual content.

Interactive white papers allow you to incorporate many more types of media than were possible with PDFs, including videos and animations. Embedding relevant photography, video, and other creative content into your white papers helps retain readers’ attention and allows you to communicate your key messages more effectively.

Great white papers spark social sharing

Great white papers spark social sharing

A common reason for not achieving success with a piece of content — whether it be a white paper, a blog post, or something else — is that marketers fail to strike the right balance between production and promotion. Often, most of the work is put into producing the content, and then too little attention is paid to executing a successful distribution strategy.

This is unfortunate. After all, what good is your white paper if no one sees it? As it turns out, the most important step in content creation isn’t the creation itself but the distribution.

For effective distribution to happen, you need to mobilize every reader with whom you forge a connection. There’s only so much distribution you can do yourself.

Two factors determine the extent to which your audience will participate — and both are within your control. First, your white paper needs to be exceptional. It needs to be something that’s worth sharing. Second, you need to make it extremely easy for your readers to share.

PDFs are neither exceptional nor are they easy to share. They can be sent via email (in which case you lose track of distribution), but they are not designed for social media.

Interactive white papers, on the other hand, can incorporate built-in sharing options that allow readers to post your content directly to social platforms. Visitors that come via these links are then confronted with the same access control, meaning you can continue to capture lead information.

Benchmark and optimize your white paper

The biggest mistake content marketers make is using the “spray and pray” method, failing to set measurable goals. With interactive white papers, you can get more granular information about engagement and reader behavior than ever. Make sure to take advantage of that opportunity.

As you gather data about how users engage with your white paper, you gain the insights you need to make it more effective in driving leads further through your sales funnel.

Some great examples of measurable goals are what percentage of your readers you expect to make it through your entire white paper, the average time you expect them to spend on each page, and what links or calls-to-action they click within the white paper.

After setting these goals and distributing your content, measure your performance using Google Analytics and update your content based on the insights you’ve gathered. This process of collecting data and continually optimizing is what leads to higher and higher ROI — something that was never possible with PDFs.


With the abundance of online content continuing to grow at a rapid pace, today’s internet users are extremely selective about where they invest their attention. Acquiring visitors and successfully drawing them through your funnel requires remarkable content and a proper inbound marketing strategy.

As a marketer, interactive white papers give you the opportunity to impress, persuade, and convert right when prospects are closest to making a purchasing decision.


What are the most effective types of content for inbound marketing?
Effective content types include blog posts, infographics, eBooks, videos, podcasts, whitepapers, case studies, webinars, and social media posts.

How do blog posts contribute to inbound marketing?
Blog posts drive organic traffic through SEO, establish brand authority, and provide valuable information to the audience, encouraging engagement and lead generation.

What role do infographics play in inbound marketing?
Infographics present information in a visually engaging format, making complex data easily digestible and shareable, which is effective for attracting and retaining audience attention.

Why are eBooks important in inbound marketing?
eBooks offer in-depth content on specific topics, which can be used as lead magnets to gather contact information in exchange for valuable insights.

How do videos enhance inbound marketing strategies?
Videos can increase engagement and retention rates by presenting content in an easily consumable and entertaining format, making them highly effective for storytelling and demonstrations.

What is the significance of case studies in inbound marketing?
Case studies showcase real-life examples of a business solving problems for clients, building credibility and illustrating the practical benefits of products or services.

How do webinars fit into an inbound marketing content strategy?
Webinars provide real-time, interactive content that can deepen audience engagement, establish thought leadership, and generate qualified leads through registrations.

What makes social media posts effective for inbound marketing?
Social media posts can drive traffic, boost content visibility, and foster community engagement, serving as a platform for sharing content and interacting with the audience.

Why are whitepapers valuable in inbound marketing?
Whitepapers offer detailed, authoritative content that can position a brand as an industry leader and are useful for targeting decision-makers in B2B marketing.

How can podcasts be integrated into an inbound marketing strategy?
Podcasts can reach audiences preferring audio content, offering an intimate way to share expertise, industry insights, and company culture, which can build brand loyalty and audience engagement.

What are the benefits of using interactive content in inbound marketing?
Interactive content like quizzes, polls, and calculators engages users more deeply, encourages participation, and can provide valuable insights into customer preferences and behaviors.

How does user-generated content enhance inbound marketing?
User-generated content such as reviews, testimonials, and social media posts adds authenticity, fosters community engagement, and enhances trust in the brand.

Why are newsletters effective in an inbound marketing strategy?
Newsletters keep the audience informed and engaged with regular updates, special offers, and valuable content, nurturing leads and maintaining a connection with existing customers.

How do landing pages support inbound marketing efforts?
Landing pages are tailored to specific audience segments or campaigns, focusing on a single call-to-action (CTA) and eliminating distractions, which increases conversion rates.

What role do how-to guides play in inbound marketing?
How-to guides provide practical value to the audience, helping to solve specific problems or needs, and can establish a brand as a helpful and knowledgeable authority in its field.

How can FAQs be utilized in an inbound marketing content strategy?
FAQs address common customer questions and concerns, improving user experience by providing immediate answers and can improve SEO by targeting long-tail keywords.

Why are customer success stories important in inbound marketing?
Customer success stories demonstrate the real-world value of a product or service, creating relatable content that resonates with potential customers and builds credibility.

What is the importance of thought leadership articles in inbound marketing?
Thought leadership articles showcase a brand’s expertise and insights, building authority in the industry and trust among the audience, and often attracting high-quality leads.

Can checklists and templates be effective content types for inbound marketing?
Checklists and templates are practical tools that provide immediate value to users, encouraging downloads or sign-ups and facilitating lead generation.

How do animation and motion graphics fit into inbound marketing?
Animation and motion graphics can explain complex concepts in an engaging and easy-to-understand way, increasing the appeal and shareability of the content.

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Author bio

Ritesh SheombarRitesh is a digital marketing manager with years of experience in driving growth. He’s currently the director of inbound marketing at Foleon. You can find more about him on his LinkedIn profile.

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