Bloggers, social media practitioners, and journalists, turn your ears! I just like the imperative call to action, “turn your ears” – how does one “turn their ears to wisdom?” I suppose by turning their heads? I digress! This blog has nothing to do with your ears, and everything to do with your content strategy. How can you create content that is balanced, and meets the needs of your audience? This question can be answered in many ways (and has been, really), but I would propose a metaphor for an answer.
Well-balanced content is like a well-balanced meal.
A content strategy should have diverse elements that all relate to the topic or theme, but engage your reader or viewer in unique ways. Food is pretty much the same. What if you gave someone rice for the appetizer, rice for the main course, and rice for dessert? Well, unless they REALLY like rice…
So here are some ideas of how to put together a delicious combination of content to fully please the palate of your niche community.
- Gotta have the meat!
Meat, as a metaphor, generally describes rich, substantial content that is important.
“They’re finally getting to the meat of the subject.”
“There was a whole lot of meat in that lecture.”
So what is the meat in your content strategy? Well, it is what I like to call your “core value producing content.” What do people come to you for? What problems do you solve? What voice do you represent?
What content do you create that adds value to your community?
This is your meat, and is generally what you should spend the most time working on, as this is what establishes you as an expert in your little corner of the webiverse (your niche).
- Veggies (or as we call them in our house for our two-year-old: Ninja Turtle food.)
Veggies are the part of the meal that you don’t necessarily want to eat, but really should. My little guy is two, and it must be genetic or something, but he won’t touch anything that is green…unless we label it ninja turtle food. So perhaps get creative with it, but the content equivalent of veggies is stuff that doesn’t have much splash, but is important to your niche in some way.
When I worked as a journalist, this was often the city council report. Not always exciting, but the community needed to know the information from the meeting. Every niche can have this type of content – and it is valuable. It creates a change of pace for your blog, and generally fulfills the need to inform your readers and viewers about important facts.
Hopefully they are cheesy garlic potatoes or something like that…I’m getting hungry writing this! Potatoes are the pieces of content that also add value to your niche, but are in a different format than your core “meat” content.
If you have a traditional, text-based blog, potatoes could be a video. Or if you are a video blogger, this could be a text blog (with photos, of course!). This is when you just change it up. Listicles (lists), reviews, slideshows, etc. are also great ways to change it up a little while still adding valuable content to your community.
We’ve all been waiting for it! The best part of the meal, right? While I came up with “dessert” for this idea (as far as I know), I’m not sure who came up with the acronym B.O.P., but the dessert is your Bold, Outrageous and or Provocative content that relates to your subject. This could be memes, could include humor, etc.
There are some sites that make their living on just B.O.P. content, and I liken these to a Baskin Robbins – dessert shops. For most niche blogs, however, B.O.P. content is just like dessert – it can add a bit of flair to a great meal, be something valued that you look forward to, but would make you sick if you ate/published too much of it.
When you clog up your feed with too much dessert, you enter the “click-bait” danger zone. When people perceive that you are just posting click-bait, it devalues your core content. So while the dessert is valuable (sometimes as click-bait really – just to get new eyes on your awesome blog – sometimes just to entertain, etc.), your niche topic will determine the correct balance of B.O.P. to the rest of your proverbial meal.
Every niche is different, so it is up to you, the blogger/enthusiast/expert, to determine how to create a balanced content strategy for your blog. Hopefully this metaphor will help you along the way. Now I’m going to go get some food! Thanks for reading!
Dr. Michael Finch works as a professor and student media adviser at Lee University. He writes about digital media, journalism and the intersection of media and faith. All rights reserved. about.me/michael.finch