I’ve taught the above ‘Content Groups’ model for many years now and feedback has always been positive in that it’s helped marketers, PR people and business owners to clarify their thinking around the content they (want to) produce.
I’ve refined the model over time but its intent has remained steadfast. Today, as content marketing continues to mature, it’s probably more relevant than ever.
Bottom line: The goal is to intentionally mix our content across the four dimensions of ‘Utility’ (useful, helpful, audience-first); ‘Leadership’ (flag-in-the-ground, lead the conversation); ‘Human’ (behind the public face of your business/show the personal side); and ‘Branded’ (company news, promotional etc).
Let’s unpack them a bit more:
* UTILITY – Addresses people’s challenges, needs, pain-points relevant to our expertise; fills information gaps people might have about our products/services.
* LEADERSHIP – Thought-provoking content, bigger picture themes: inspire people, challenge the way they think about a particular topic or issue; move people with your ideas!
* HUMAN – Take people behind the public face of your business or organisation; show more of your personal side (individuals); tell other people’s stories: employees, partners etc.
* BRANDED – ‘Chest-beating’ content (award wins, company news, product launches, new hires) PLUS promotional CTAs (bookings, downloads, registrations, subscriptions).
Many businesses create utility content. This is the mantra of content marketing folks, and for good reason: no-one ever went wrong being useful and helpful!
Unfortunately, a lot of utility content I see these days is very bland and platitudinous (‘ticking the boxes’). But those who do it with depth and transparency will always win the day.
Businesses are also pretty good at created branded content, even if too many tend to over-do it a bit. Old habits die hard!
2 big opportunities for brands and individuals
Using the Content Groups model as a guide, I see there are two areas that business, nonprofit and personal brands can take advantage of today. They are:
First-class LEADERSHIP CONTENT has the power to not only differentiate your brand in the marketplace, but also significantly build visibility, reputation and trust.
This is the content that people share and talk about. Oh, and it’s potentially best developed and created through a PR lens versus a marketing one.
And secondly …
Let’s face it, we do business with people, not logos. HUMAN CONTENT is the missing link in the content armoury of many businesses. This is unfortunate because it can often be the most powerful content we produce!
Active content creators on LinkedIn, for example, will often tell you the personal stories they publish on the platform get the best engagement and reach.
Why? Because we relate to them. Ditto the use of selfies on social media generally. On-the-job photos showing people in situ also work well. Again, because they’re relatable.
Humanising businesses is a thing. It builds trust, and trust is the social currency of today’s connected economy.
Anyhow, I hope you’ve found this little riff somewhat interesting and hopefully it’s changed the way you look at the content you produce 🙂