LinkedIn calls it the Big Rock approach. Content Marketing Institute talks about a solar system of content. The idea isn’t new, but it is powerful. And no matter what you call it, building a content strategy around major pieces of content that spin off smaller pieces of content is a great idea.
Before we get into the why, let’s define terms. What LinkedIn and CMI and we are referring to is a system in which you regularly (though not necessarily frequently) create a large piece of content – a lengthy and in-depth report or physical book or training program. That big piece of content would typically be focus on your firm’s broad areas of expertise.
That piece of content would also power smaller pieces of content that dive into the details of one area of your broader expertise. Think eBooks or short videos or 30-minute webinars, for example.
That original piece of content also begets even smaller content pieces – 300-word blog posts, social media updates, case study briefs, and so on.
The reason the “big/little” approach works so well is because it addresses two of our main concerns as content marketers: efficiency and effectiveness. On the efficiency front, working within a framework where you know you are aiming to create big pieces of content that will naturally spin off smaller content items makes it easier to produce the volume of content you need with limited resources. This means you can focus on making sure your content is high-quality content.
Even better, the approach naturally lends itself to staying focused on your big-picture content marketing goals. It’s easy in the day-to-day scrum of getting things done to rely too often on low-hanging fruit or “good-enough” content ideas that may not quite be completely aligned with your larger mission. The Big Content/Little Content approach makes that less likely since you are creating your everyday content based on an existing larger content element. (And presumably, you are not going to create a Big piece of content without a great deal of thought.)
This means you can concentrate on making sure every piece of content fits into your program where it’s needed, allowing you to concentrate on covering all audience segments and all phases of the buying cycle in every area of expertise.
As a quick exercise, have a look at your existing content. You may be surprised to realize that the most effective and efficient areas of content already in place follow this Big Content / Little Content approach. If you expand that to cover all of your content marketing activities, you should see increases in both your efficiency and your effectiveness.