Content marketing can be quite confusing at times, especially if it’s not something you do innately as part of your job, or in your role as a business owner.
Even those of us who are neck-deep in social media and content marketing can become overwhelmed with all that’s happening in the space.
Which is why I like to keep things as simple as possible – wherever possible – whether I’m delivering a keynote presentation, running a workshop or simply sitting down one-on-one with a client.
I’ve been using the following diagram (below) for a while now and have found it useful in breaking down the various types of content, to make it less overwhelming, because I’ve found that when people understand what constitutes content in a broad sense, they’re a lot more accepting of the whole notion of content marketing.
So let’s briefly go through each of the three types of content (includes my ‘rocks in a jar’ analogy):
ONE-OFF ‘SIGNATURE’ PREMIUM CONTENT
This is your ‘flag in the ground’ content, the one-off stuff that says a lot about you and your brand. As a rule, it’s ‘evergreen’ in nature (i.e. it won’t date quickly) and seeks to provide lots of value for the intended audience.
- downloadable PDF ebook, special report or whitepaper
- professionally produced book (self-published or released by a publishing house)
- package of high value videos (or audio content)
- templates, checklists and cheatsheets
- archived webinars
- online tutorials
Some people in the internet marketing biz refer to this type of valuable content as a ‘lead magnet’. It’s not a term I’m fond of, but basically this is the content you make free of charge in exchange for a person’s email address, with the initial goal of building your opt-in subscriber list (and ultimately, sell your products and services to those subscribers). As a rule, this is a sound strategy when conducted with respect for the audience; unfortunately, you do get those individuals and companies that abuse the privilege).
ROCKS IN JAR ANALOGY: These are the biggest rocks you put in your jar; because of their size, you can’t put too many in but as a rule they’re the ones that stand out the most.
RECURRING SUB-BRANDED CONTENT PROPERTIES
This is content packaged up under its own name (i.e. sub-branded) and produced regularly so it becomes it a standalone content property in its own right.
- podcast via iTunes
- online video show on YouTube
- series of specific articles or blog posts (i.e. The ID Group’s Talking Content Marketing interview series)
More often or not recurring sub-branded content will explore a particular theme, or themes, over a period of time and while it might become synonymous with one, two or more people (show hosts, for example), it’s a good option for companies and organisations because as the sub-brand gets better known, it’s generally easier to switch personnel if required.
ROCKS IN JAR ANALOGY: These properties are represented by smaller pebbles that fit in and around the bigger rocks.
DAY-TO-DAY ‘PRESENCE’ (OR HUB) CONTENT
And finally, we have that content that you could consider to be more ‘day to day’ – from blog posts through to social media content – e.g. news, commentary on trends and issues of the day, how-to articles, quotes, infographics, quick-hit video and live-streams, SlideShare presentations etc, plus the (judicious) sharing of links to other people’s content.
ROCKS IN JAR ANALOGY: Day-to-day hub content is represented by tiny stones (blog articles and guest posts) plus gravel (micro-content such as tweets, Instagram pics, Facebook and LinkedIn updates etc) – these ‘stones’ fill out the jar and often are good for providing ‘the bulk’ required for marketplace presence.
There is no special formula as to what will work for your brand.
All types of content serve a purpose; of course, it will always come down to the quality of what you produce, and the relevance it has to your intended audience (that, plus the work you’ve already put in, in terms of building allies and advocates for your brand).
Personally, I like a spread across the various types of content: Several chunky premium signature content items – a book, ebook, special report etc (if that’s ALL you do, you’re probably still up on your competitors!); I’m a fan of recurring sub-branded properties, especially when they are given time to build and nurture an audience; and of course, for enhancing connection with people and growing visibility in the marketplace, you really do need to be ‘out, loud and proud’ with your more day-to-day content, including what you publish on social media (don’t under-estimate it, there can be gold in the minutiae!).