Are You Following the Content Hierarchy?

The whole reason your brand creates content is to attract, engage, and maintain customers. Whether that content entertains, educates, or anything in between, it has to first be of interest to the audience. What’s the trick? By following the content hierarchy, you can ensure your brand content is always of interest to your audience!

The Content Hierarchy

Most content can be broken down into five levels, from the most prevalent and accessible to the insightful and perceptive: data, information, analysis, knowledge, and wisdom.

a multicolored depiction of a funnelAt the bottom of the content hierarchy are data and information. Since the majority of the world has Google at its fingertips at any given time, neither data nor information is scarce. Anyone can look up a statistic or figure, and there’s no inherent wisdom to be gleaned from raw data or information. 

Analysis, on the other hand, takes data and information a step further. In layman’s terms, it gives a reason to care about the data or information presented. Even further up the hierarchy is knowledge, or conclusions from the analysis. Finally, at the very top of the content hierarchy is the prized wisdom–subject matter expertise. 

Anyone with a computer and the internet has access to data and information. What separates your brand from the competition is giving your audience a reason to consume your content. Strive to impart your wisdom and knowledge through perceptive, insightful content that answers questions, solves problems, and adds value. 

Content Pillars

So how do you go about sharing your knowledge and wisdom? It all comes down to your content pillars. Think of content pillars as the areas of expertise for your brand. You should have 3-5 areas in which you profess to be a subject matter expert, and each piece of content is built around a pillar. 

Each pillar, or topic, should both relate to your audience and reflect your personal brand. Importantly, if done right, each piece of content should signal to your audience your area of expertise and indirectly, a reason to have a relationship with your brand. 

Once you come up with the major topics of interest to your customers, build off them. Think of each content pillar as a major topic with nearly infinite subtopics built around them. What can you add to an idea to illuminate another concept? 

How to Create Effective Content Using the Content Hierarchy

a magnet attracting customersSadly, there’s no trick to creating effective content. It requires a mixture of subject matter expertise, understanding of your audience, and creative integration of the aforementioned concepts. However, if you can nail the pillars your audience is interested in, you’ll be well on your way to keeping your audience engaged. 

What’s’ more, creating consistently engaging, visible, insightful content is a tall order–even for the most advanced SMEs. Don’t be afraid to requisition other content, add to existing content, or take advantage of user-generated content. For instance, take a blog or video published a few years ago, republish it, and ask for your audience’s thoughts on what changed!

Remember to take advantage of all the tools at your disposal. If you’re stumped on content topics, take a look at public sources like search engines and social media. What are people talking about? What are they searching for on Google? Leverage these ideas and concepts to get people talking about things they’re already interested in–only with the added spin of your brand!

Effective Content Starts With Creation

Ultimately, you can’t create effective content until you start creating content. Your customers might be distrustful of advertisements, but they crave valuable content. Strive to actively publish as much valuable content in your niche as possible. Not only will your audience find your communications more credible, but you’ll be well on your way to establishing your position as a subject matter expert.

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