3 colours of content

3 colours of content

Frankly, a pompous post

Any content strategy requires a structure. Only from that can brilliant ideas and fabulous writing be organised, linked, signposted and filtered. That helps readers find your material and return time and time again.

There are plenty of ways of doing this, but I find this to be a useful approach.

It won’t suit everyone and everything, but it’s a great start.

There are three dimensions and three sub-groups in each dimension, so you could see it as a Rubik’s Cube. On the other, had you may not wish to be that literal and hurt your head. Because this is quite complicated, I’ve put a joke at the end of each section. The jokes aren’t especially clever.

Story type

Which of these you story falls under determines how you write, its length and how quickly you need to get it done.

Evergreen. Could well stay on the site for several years. It may need updating and it can always be dusted off as a backgrounder for a news story. Generally long and chunked.

Medium term. With less longevity, possibly a few months. Could be based on a forthcoming event.

Fast turn-around news. Could be written from an event or headline within hours. Ideally a system should be set up to allow instant approval and publication. Articles are generally short and possibly lists.

A horse walks into a bar. Barman says: “Why the long face?”

Level of product mention

No mention of product or company. The classic ‘write what your audience is interested in’. For a pension provider that could be as high level as a story about fitness in later life or winter holidays.

Some mention. Quoting client experts along with others. Following this example, a pensions subject but looking at it in a general sense. No products are mentioned.

Entirely product based. Quoting only the client’s pensions experts and mentioning a particular product or service.

Bob Monkhouse: "When I said I was going to become a comedian, they all laughed. Well, they're not laughing now, are they?"

Brand pillars

This is harder to define without talking about a particular client, but it’s here to demonstrate a closer relationship to sales. What are we doing for the client’s purpose and values? Again, it should be broken three ways. Following the above example, it might be:

Investment funds. Vehicles you could put your money into for drawdown.

Pension investment platforms. A service that lets you invest in funds and monitor those holdings.

Advice. Where you can get the guidance you need to make investment decisions.

Woody Allen: “Death is a wonderful way to cut down on your expenses.”

And beyond…

We could also talk about story treatment, but it depends on how long you’ve got. So is it serious, funny, a list, a Q&A, a quiz, a video, a graphic, animation, audio? Is it short, is it long? That’s probably an adventure for another day.

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