We all know that it’s important to have a variety of content types — but many marketers stumble when they have to define what a well-rounded content mix looks like. What’s the right content marketing balance between informative and promotional? To answer this question and to develop a balanced approach to content, we use the concept of “food groups” originated by Ann Handley in her book, Content Rules. We think about the types of content as different food groups. The idea is that a healthy content mix is a healthy diet! So, here’s what you need to build a pleasing and nourishing content menu:
Think of your biggest content pieces as your “roasts.” At Marketo, these pieces are our Definitive Guides, comprehensive information on subjects within our core expertise, such as marketing automation, email marketing, or content marketing. Like an actual roast, they are meaty and substantial. These “content roasts” can take a lot of time and research to produce, but they can also be easily divided and repurposed into smaller assets.
Your “Raisin Bran” content is the kind you could eat every day for breakfast: simple, consistent, and easy to consume. You should be able to produce your “Raisin Bran” content quickly and frequently — think cheat sheets, checklists, basic best practices, and blogs.
Spinach is packed with nutrients; likewise, your “spinach” content should be packed with valuable, educational information. This is the kind of content that demonstrates that you know your stuff, and establishes your company as a thought leader in your space. You don’t need to serve spinach every day, but do it often enough to keep your audience healthy.
Water is the foundation of everything we eat, from meat and fish to veggies and sides to the eight glasses we should drink a day. In this analogy, data is the base of every item on your content menu – including the fun desserts. Add a little flavor to water, say, make it into coffee, and it is what adds depth, context, and body to marketing.
What’s life without a little spice? Every once in a while, sprinkle in some content that challenges conventions, asks hard questions, or provokes a big response. Even more conservative brands can use “Tabasco” content to attract attention or stimulate conversations. However, like the hot sauce itself, you don’t want to overdo it.
“Chocolate cake” content is all about indulging — this is your fun, light-hearted, purely entertaining content. It can include infographics, quizzes, or silly videos. Be sparing with this type of content, depending on how seriously you want your audience to take your brand. It should be an occasional treat and not an everyday thing.
Count Your Calories
A healthy diet requires us to be aware of what we’re eating, and, for many of us, that includes tracking our intake and portions. Data about your content is similar to calories: it’s quantifiable information about your content strategy and should help inform your future choices.
To create a healthy content menu, marketers should begin by creating a measurable structure for their content from the beginning, aligning it to metrics that matter to key stakeholders. Establish goals and ROI estimates upfront, and then decide on your metrics, such as reach, engagement, time spent on the website, PR mentions, or revenue.
Measure Your Fitness
Content analytics are like a fitness monitor for your content: they help you determine which assets work best across all your programs. For example, Marketo’s Revenue Cycle Analytics report measures program successes, new names, first-touch opportunities, and multi-touch opportunities.
Like the dashboard on your fitness monitor where you see individual workouts and your progress over time, your content analytics should help you get an overall picture of content performance across all of your marketing. For example, Marketo’s Content Impact Report gives you a sense of what is performing the best overall, as well as what is driving customers to purchase. Click here for a more in-depth explanation on how you can track your program analytics.
Just as a healthy diet varies from person to person, the right content mix varies from organization to organization. But the content food group structure and monitoring will help any organization define and measure its content mix to create the most fulfilling, balanced content.
**Homepage image via Shutterstock.
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