Vertical Content: Definition, How To Create It, and Examples

Ed Pronley


May 17, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)

desk sprawled with papers. a hand uses a highlighter on the papers

All content marketing campaigns require an understanding of your target audience. After all, you need to know what they like if you’re hoping to entice them to your website or business. But did you know there’s an audience within your audience? This “audience-ception” is the main reason companies create content verticals. It allows them to target a niche group of people inside their general audience to create better leads. In this article, we discuss:

What Is Vertical Content?

Tall tree standing in the middle of a forest

Image via Unsplash by Dave Hoefler

Vertical content is content that’s targeted at a niche audience for your business in a specific demographic or industry. Its main goal is to provide those people with marketing materials in a way they prefer or to answer specific challenges they face outside of your general audience. For example, let’s say your company hosts a technology blog. You might discover that a lot of your audience wants to read news, trends, and information specifically on computers. Knowing that, you might create a content vertical that specifically discusses all things computers to better attract that niche audience.

That niche audience wants to learn more about computers and find resources to help them with computer problems. By creating that vertical, your company has a designated space for that audience to interact with your content. That can help increase their satisfaction and develop a stronger relationship with them. In turn, that can help create quality leads for your business.

What Is Core Content?

Core content is the main type of marketing content you create to attract your general target audience. It’s really the main focus of your business and its content marketing campaign. If your business publishes books, your core content might focus on helping writers find the right publisher, helping writers create their first book, and how to get started in the literary field.

Vertical content expands on core content by creating sub-topics, which attract a very specific group of people within your general audience. Think of a tree with core content as the trunk, and vertical content as the branches. The branches are still a part of the tree, they’re just smaller and more focused. Vertical content is still a part of core content and they both serve the same function: to help your business grow.

Horizontal Content vs. Vertical Content

Horizontal content differs from vertical content in the same way you would picture their physical forms. Horizontal is wide. It covers a large, broad area trying to capture as many people as possible. This often includes your business’s core content. It’s the content you produce to entice a larger audience to your brand. For example, let’s say you work in the clothing industry. Your horizontal content might include current fashion trends, the best shoes for hiking, and the best outfits to wear for the winter.

Vertical content narrows the focus a bit more. Your business might operate in the clothing industry, but you might also have a niche audience that wants to know more about how to purchase clothing online that’s an accurate size. Using that knowledge, you could create a content vertical, which covers that topic. But it doesn’t even have to be that narrow. You might just want to target your audience who’s more interested in purchasing shoes than purchasing shirts. This can help you capture the attention of your audience more effectively and increase sales for that specific demographic.

Why is Vertical Content Important?

Content marketing at its core is about building relationships with your target audience. Content verticals simply add to that. It allows you to take a piece of your target audience and focus on them and their problems. Whether that’s developing blogs and articles that address their challenges or simply creating content they prefer to see. You can show your readers your expertise and your ability to help them.

Honing in on a specific demographic also helps your content to feel more personal and directed. That builds trust and creates more quality leads for your business. After all, it’s much easier to sell to someone who approaches your business with an idea of how you can help them, versus someone who might still be learning about what you do. But it’s also difficult to divide your content marketing resources; especially if you have multiple niche audiences.

Luckily, CopyPress has a team of writers, editors, and quality assurance specialists who have experience in crafting and honing written content for a wide range of people. We’ll work with you to develop blogs, articles, and white papers that fit your brand and contribute to your content marketing, whether vertical or horizontal. Schedule a call with us today to see how we can help you build your marketing campaign and save your business time and resources.

How To Create Content Verticals

Here is a list of steps to help you create content verticals for your marketing campaign:

1. Research Your Target Audience

One of the most important pieces in creating vertical content is understanding your target audience. That includes your general audience, as well as those who make up different, focused demographics. There are several ways to research your target audience and understand them better. Some of those ways include:

  • Surveys: Surveys let you learn more about your target audience by asking them questions about who they are and what they like or dislike about your content. You can send surveys through email marketing campaigns, social media, or through other means, like as a pop-up on your content page.
  • Analytics: Analytics is collected information about your target audience that you can monitor, organize, and use to better understand them. One of the most common forms of data collection that businesses use is Google Analytics. This free program can track your website visitors and collect information about them, which you can analyze and study.

Once you collect the information, take a look and see if you can find any trends. Do you have a lot of readers who flock to certain article topics? Do you notice a trend in people who prefer one topic over another? Discovering the answers to questions like these can help you uncover a niche audience and see if there’s room for a content vertical in your marketing campaign.

It’s also possible to learn more about your target audience through means that might seem unconventional at first, like competitor research. When you better understand your competitors, you can see how they attract your target audience and what they do that’s successful or unsuccessful. You can also use that understanding to find gaps in your own content marketing strategy and develop stronger written content for your readers.

But when it comes to competitor research, it can be difficult to find exactly what you’re looking for. Sometimes it’s hard just knowing where to start. CopyPress currently offers a free content marketing analysis tool that compares your website and content against your top three competitors. Request your analysis today to see how your competitors are targeting the same audience and how you can improve your marketing efforts.

“CopyPress gives us the ability to work with more dealership groups. We are able to provide unique and fresh content for an ever growing customer base. We know that when we need an influx of content to keep our clients ahead of the game in the automotive landscape, CopyPress can handle these requests with ease.”

Kevin Doory

Director of SEO at Auto Revo

2. Create Target Customer or Client Profiles

Once you understand more about your niche audience, the next step is to create a profile on them. This helps you understand them a little better and create content that’s more targeted and focused on turning them into leads. These profiles, also known as personas, are fictional representations of your target audience that list information about them. That information can include things like their age, occupation, interests, and location.

Though some of this information may be very general, it helps to paint a picture of what your audience might enjoy reading. That includes the tone of the content, as well as the type of content. For instance, let’s say you know your audience lives a busier lifestyle. They might not have time for longer pieces of content, so it might be more efficient to create short blog posts to better engage with them.

Related: What Is a Persona?

3. Reshape Your Content Creation

It’s possible that you might not need to change the style of your content, but that’s not always the case. Though you’re targeting the same general audience, it’s possible that the niche audience for your content vertical differs. If that’s the case, it’s important to reshape your content and ensure it’s as effective as possible. That might include the tone of your content and the type of content you create. That’s why it’s crucial to take a look at what content your audience likes to consume and how you can best engage with them.

Two great places to start are by looking at the content marketing pyramid and your brand’s style guide. The content marketing pyramid is a fancy term for understanding how different pieces of content work together and when and where to use those varied pieces of content for the best engagement. A style guide is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a document that talks about everything you want to include or avoid in your blogs, articles, infographics, and more. It helps to set the tone of your brand so it stays consistent for your audience.

CopyPress currently offers two eBooks on these subjects that can help you learn more about them and how to apply them to your content marketing strategies. Download our free eBooks on Why Should You Have a Style Guide and the Content Marketing Pyramid today to learn more about reshaping your marketing for content verticals.

4. Come Up With a Content Strategy

Once you have a strong idea of the content you need to make, it’s helpful to create a strategy and schedule to make sure you’re giving the right amount of attention to your vertical. Though your niche audience might follow your core content as well, it’s possible this is all they’ll see of your business or brand. Because of that, you want to make sure that they feel you’re consistently responding to their needs and helping them solve challenges.

This can be especially difficult if you have multiple verticals that stem from your core content. For example, let’s say your main industry is board game development. You might have one vertical that talks about creating strategy games, one that deals with cooperative board games, and another that talks about creating your first game. If your audience for cooperative board games sees that you put a lot of effort into the content for strategy games, but less into theirs, they might feel slighted or ignored.

It’s helpful to develop consistent, high-quality content for each of your verticals to boost the satisfaction of each of your niche audiences. This can help you create more leads and ensure your marketing strategies are effective.

Examples of Vertical Content

Here are some examples of vertical content and how businesses use them effectively:

Example One

Let’s say a business had success creating a blog that targeted the entertainment industry. Its core content might include things like movies, TV series, and video games. But after looking at the data, the company discovers that it has a small niche audience interested in YouTubers and video game streamers. At this point, the business could create more core content directed at that audience. But that might turn away some of their general audience or readers for other topics, like film and TV.

Instead, the business decides to create a content vertical in the form of an alternate blog. This blog has resources totally dedicated to the topics of video game streamers, YouTubers, and other online celebrities. Not only does this allow them to develop stronger relationships with that niche audience, but it might provide them with an opportunity to grow their brand in a market with little competition.

Example Two

A business-to-business (B2B) company that offers project management services decides to start a new content marketing campaign. This campaign uses video testimonials to discuss the company’s services and how it can benefit other businesses. Soon after starting the campaign, the company discovers that a decent part of its target audience might prefer written content, like white papers, over videos.

It decides to develop a content vertical that develops white papers for its niche audience. These white papers focus on how companies can improve their efficiency and save money through effective project management. Now, this niche audience has thorough research it can reference and read on its own time, which it prefers over watching a video. This increases the niche audience’s satisfaction while still attracting the business’s general audience through video.

Whether you’re hoping to target a niche industry or a segment of your audience that prefers one form of content over another, content verticals can help. Start by learning more about your target audience. Then focus on creating high-quality content that captures their attention and converts them into quality leads.

Author Image - Ed Pronley
Ed Pronley

CopyPress writer

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