50 shades of content

50 shades of grey

Pushing the boundaries and coming up with new content that continues to surprise, intrigue and delight your audience can tie you in knots. So here, with apologies to a certain series of best sellers, are our 50 shades of content.  All guaranteed to get your inner gods and goddesses cartwheeling with joy.

Content to teach

Potential clients come to your website to learn new things. Make it easy for them by creating (1) short bite sized blogs of some of your most commonly asked questions, (2) ‘how to’ videos that take viewers through a complex process in straightforward steps, (3) podcast of expert discussion, (4) an infographic that makes a complex issue easy to understand, (5) an e-book that summarises key points.

Content to provoke thought

Creating content that makes people think shows you are one to watch: (6) original research that demonstrates authority and a willingness to ask difficult questions, (7) visuals that turn conventional thinking upside down, (8) blogs that explode myths, (9) or that use smart analogies, (10) podcasts that balance both sides of an argument.


Content to engage

The right content can start relationships. Here are some ways of using it to make the first move. (11) Interesting surveys – ask the question on everyone’s lips, (12) blogs that tackle the emotional side of an issue, (13) humour – blogs that make people smile, (14) short fun videos, (15) quick quizzes that offer an interesting reward – Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Is your business social media savvy?

Content to be shared

Some types of content spread quicker than others. Here are some ideas for fast movers. (16)Topical blogs – be quick with your take on a current dilemma, (17) high quality discussion paper that tackles key industry issue, (18) video that makes a serious point with humour, (19) brilliant visuals with a strong message, (20) pictures of cats on pianos/wearing clothes (okay, maybe not that one.)

Content to get maximum exposure

If you want content that makes headlines then try one of these ideas: (21) original research with a column inch grabbing premise, (22) blogs with controversial themes and headlines, (23) the best discussion paper anyone has ever created in your niche, (24) video of expert discussion – pull in names your clients will have heard of, (25) keynote speech that shows your ownership of your niche.

Content to lead

Far better to lead than follow. Show your leadership colours with (26) blogs that demonstrate your domination of the bigger picture, as well as your control over the details, (27) white papers that tackle questions you know people want answers to, but don’t know where to turn to find them, (28) case studies that demonstrate leadership qualities, (29) video that breaks the rules – ditch conventional talking heads and try something new, (30) a book – still the king of content.

Content to experiment with

Innovative companies embrace new ideas. Show your creativity of thought by investing in some content that breaks the mould. (31) Different video styles – can you say it with a cartoon, a film spoof, a music video? (32) Animate it (33), rap it (34), change your usual style – if you usually write 300 word blogs, try creating something more in depth. If you like to write reams, aim for tweet length instead. (35) Doodle it.

Content to reassure

Sometimes you need to show that you’re a safe pair of hands. Make sure your content mix contains some of the following: (36) a good selection of up-to-date case studies, (37) blog articles that hit the keywords potential clients will be using, (38) testimonials – video and/or written (39), longer form content that demonstrates depth of expertise, (40) social media profile that shows good communication skills.

Content to entertain

One of the main reasons we use the web is to be entertained.  Of course, overall your content mix needs to demonstrate depth of expertise and experience, but that doesn’t mean it all has to be serious. Try (41) videos that use graphics with wit and style, (42) beautiful visuals that explain it creatively, (43) brilliant story telling that pulls readers in, (44) clever animation, (45) blogs that make people laugh as well as think.

Content to sell

You are running a business. Be sure to have examples of the following in your library: (46) blogs that get right to the heart of how you help, (47) FAQs demonstrate that you understand your clients’ concerns, (48) client stories to demonstrate your listening skills, (49) ‘how to’ product videos and guides, (50) social media feed that shows you talking easily to a range of happy clients and managing successful partnerships.

And, last but not least, think of variety. Like the book which we are shamelessly plundering, your content needs to cover a wide range of experiences. Don’t stick to the vanilla variety – break the rules for a richer and more fulfilling relationship with your content, and watch your marketing fly.

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  1. Ryan James

    BRILLIANT blog… very well executed, and needless to say – packed full of loads of valuable content!

    Going through an interesting process these next couple of months, and with it, gearing up both my current blog/website and a new project.

    Valuable content is the key to both… up to this point I feel like I’ve been scratching the surface. Would be great to catch up with one or both of you again soon. Cheers, RJ

  2. Sonja Jefferson

    Thanks Ryan.

    The article has a certain pattern to it, and that makes us happy! Very glad you liked it. Hope you will forgive us for the shameless link to popular fiction.

    Good luck with the blogging, website and project. Intriguing. Would love to catch up soon.


  3. Neil Fletcher

    Wow, fabulous list of bite-sized chunks to chew on. However, I am slightly alarmed by the thought of middle-aged white geezers (no one particularly in mind, 😉 ) rapping about the virtues of their product or whatever. It could set the cause back a few years!

    As always, I stand in awe of the quality of your work.

  4. Sharon Tanton

    Thanks Neil. Yes, that is a rather scary image, and I wouldn’t recommend you try it yourself….Some of the ideas are a bit tongue-in-cheek, but I’m sure getting creative with your content in all sorts of ways will pay off. Having said that, I might have to write the VC rap now, starring MC SJ…..watch this space!

  5. David Shaw

    Really great piece of evergreen! I have bookmarked this to come back to and i no doubt will time and time again!

  6. Simon Ryan

    That is cracking. I’m so glad you dusted it off and shared it again.

  7. Sonja Jefferson

    Cheers Simon! I think this is one of Sharon’s best posts – perfectly patterned and a little bit cheeky, bit like her really! Very glad you like it.


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