A simple content framework for inbound marketing

Marketers often sit atop a mountain of content.

Some of it is very valuable, some not so much.

Which is why it’s a good idea to delineate categories as you develop content marketing to fulfill inbound interest.

Plus, going forward, having a clear idea of the value of different types of content will keep you in a frame of mind that is always content-focused and alert to where content can be sourced within your ecosystem.

This matters because the need for good content never, ever goes away.

First, determine what your top personas really want

Brands often think that consumers want free or discounted product above all other things. There’s evidence that refutes this.

So use research to look deeply at what consumers really want, and it may inform and shape your content marketing in unexpected ways.

Now draw a pyramid

Once you’ve studied your most significant persona groups and what they want, draw a pyramid. Then draw 3 parallel lines horizontally within it.

Congratulations, you’ve created a framework for 4 distinct levels of content.

Now, let’s fill them up.

Level 1: The Penthouse

The top of the pyramid is for platinum content. It represents the highest-value brand experience you can offer a potential or existing stakeholder. Here are some types of platinum content we’ve created in the past.

A sit-down with someone important. It could be the president, dean of admissions, head of product design, or a private wine tasting with a new chef. Remember that access feeds egos, so a backstage pass and a private toast with a featured speaker carries more weight than 1000 special offers in email.

Advisory Council membership. Enabling a consumer to guide the development of the brand or a branded product can be a big deal. We’ve experienced success with enabling uber-consumers to advise on logo development, ad messages, and new product features. It gets people to lean in. And we’re not alone on this.

Experiential upgrades. If you’ve ever been bumped up to 1st class, you understand how memorable upgrades can be. Even modest upgrades (being offered a larger rental car) stay with a consumer for a long time. Remember: Free tickets and live events outrank airlines tickets, because people desire premium experiences.

Level 2. Uptown

Primary Research. Sharing access to proprietary data – market studies, competitive analyses, focus group findings – makes consumers feel in the know because they are in the know. Company Confidential content doesn’t need to be controversial. It just needs to feel exclusive.

Special recognition. Putting consumers front and center makes sense on multiple fronts. It wins loyalty. It spurs advocacy. It lives well on social media. Start singling out your best and brightest consumers and make them part of your content marketing. Don’t believe us? Ask Forbes.

Super-premium SWAG. Not all SWAG is created equal. So don’t skimp on giveaways – even if it’s a hat or t shirt. The quality speaks volumes about the brand. And if you want to see how far this idea can be taken, check out the $100,000 swag bag
that Oscar nominees receive.

Level 3. Midtown

Webinars, White Papers, and whatnot. While not exclusive, deep-dive content tends to produce meaningful engagement at a small-batch level. Our advice: Be careful what you gate – consumers are reluctant to volunteer their email address or other data unless the content value is clearly defined.

One example: For Ritchie Navigation, maker of magnetic boating compasses, we created a guidebook for how to optimize navigation performance. It remains a hit at trade shows.

Level 4. Downtown

The lowest level of content within the pyramid is quantitative. Still useful and relevant, but accessible to all. You know the usual suspects: video, blogs, podcasts, and downloadable materials.

It is at this level that the fundamentals of content strategy – specific persona development, precise journey mapping, clean design – need to go to work. To provide potential home-solar buyers access to the content they require, we created a site that meets them wherever they are in their process with appropriate content.

You may be sitting on a mountain of very good content. The key is to know which buckets you have, and how to keep them full.

Contact us for a content conversation. And a beverage.