By Stacey Piper
With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner, I’ve been thinking about margaritas and guacamole more than usual. Mexican five-layer dip is extremely easy to put together in a casserole dish or trifle bowl, or you can buy ready-made variations from three to seven layers at many grocery stores, even Costco. But just like marketing campaigns, the magic is in the ingredients and how you layer them, down to what reaches your taste buds first.
Content layering is another combination of tasty bits and morsels that, when compiled well, can be an effective component of modern marketing strategies for businesses, government, and organizations. In marketing, layering is the distribution of digital content across a variety of channels to engage customers or constituents at different stages in their journey. Today’s mature consumers are looking for information that is relevant, authentic, and personalized wherever they are in the buying journey. Content layering can help you reach the right people at the right time, with the right message.
- Understand your target audience. Start by identifying your ideal customer or constituents, and create a buyer persona that reflects their needs, values, and behaviors. Use this information to develop a content map that outlines the core topics and messaging pillars that will resonate with them at each stage of the journey. For example, a long-time customer doesn’t need to know your company mission while a new prospect won’t be ready to provide contact information and an investment of time to access long-form content, such as a gated white paper. Build the relationship and feed it accordingly every step of the way.
- Diversify your content formats. Different types of content appeal to different types of audiences. Utilize a variety of channels, such as blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, and social media posts, to reach your target audience in a way that suits their preferences.
- Leverage existing content. Repurpose existing content that has proven to be successful in the past. Break down your messaging into different levels of detail, then align to formats—the bite-snack-meal approach. For example, a white paper (meal) can be summarized in a blog post (snack) with an accompanying infographic (snack), plus a ten-second video clip on social media (bite). From nibbles to the full plate, deliver fresh content to your audience based on their appetite in the journey.
- Optimize content type by channels. Ensure that your content is optimized for the channels that your target audience is likely to use. For example, Facebook and Instagram may be better channels for video clips, while LinkedIn is a better forum for highlighting people and thought leadership. Remember that readability and SEO are essential ingredients, not garnishes, and should be well blended into every layer.
- Measure and adjust. Use analytics tools to measure the effectiveness of your content layering efforts. Based on the data you collect, adjust your approach and focus on the channels and content formats that are working best to reach and engage your target audience.
Content layering starts from a large piece of long-format content or research report—a form of tentpole marketing—and repurposes it into smaller, digestible pieces that can be distributed across a variety of channels. Like a tried-and-true recipe, content layering is a powerful marketing strategy to create stronger engagement with prospects and ultimately drive them back to gated tentpole content as the relationship develops. By understanding your target audience, using a variety of content formats and channels, repurposing existing content, optimizing your channels, measuring your results, and refining your strategy as you go along, you can stay ahead of the competition and achieve your business or organizational goals.
When you’re ready to take a seat at the table, savor your success with one of these Mexican layer dip recipes from classic to custom. In both content and dip layering, remember that fresh is best. Just as fresh cilantro has more flavor than dried herbs, content created for the target is more enticing than content developed for other clients, products, or services and simply repurposed. With an appetizing combination of high-quality ingredients, you—and your prospects—will be tempted to skip the chips and dive in with a spoon, turning your snack into a meal.