Other posts in this series:
Content Marketing à la Carte: Mix and match these three types of online content (Part One: The thought piece)
Content Marketing à la Carte, Part Two: The connective piece
The third and final type of online content we'll be discussing is the core piece. Core pieces are articles or blog posts where you present your concrete and systematic methods for solving the unique needs of your audience. Eventually you can combine these to create a larger "flagship product" that encompasses all of your products and services and reinforces your brand.
Unlike thought pieces, core pieces will always contain actionable, practical suggestions that your reader can apply to their situation. Of course there can also be coaching opportunities for reflection and learning.
Examples of core pieces are:
- "How to" articles that take the reader through a specific set of actions (including lists)
- Question and answer posts (a different format for "how to" material)
- "How NOT to" articles that point out common mistakes or warning signs
- Articles that illustrate a theory or model that your reader will learn to apply
- Assessments that help your reader self-identify as a member of a tribe (YOUR tribe)
Continuing with the tribe metaphor, with a core piece you're taking the role of a tour guide versus an expedition leader, as Cath Duncan differentiates in her thought piece. You're guiding your audience along a path you've carved out of your own experience of using these methods yourself and/or with other clients.
The format is relatively short (500 words or so) and structured, with sub-headings and lists for better readability. There is one main topic that answers the question, "What's the point?" about a targeted topic that your ideal client cares about.
So what's better to write, a thought piece, a connective piece or a core piece? That depends on your stage of business (whether you are a Content Starter, a Content Marketer or a Content Master) and what you've got to say at this point. Your choice will also depend on your writing style and preferences. Some people write a lot of thought pieces.
Until I wrote this series and really sat down to think about these three different types of content, I was usually picturing a core piece when I wrote about article marketing or content marketing. Even though I used and recommended the other types, I wasn't clear about how or when.
Personally, I loved writing this series of thought pieces because I feel like I stepped fully into a realm I haven't always given myself permission to visit.
On the other hand, I also feel newly empowered to NOT write thought pieces if I don't want to, or feel any pressure to always produce mind-blowing or stunningly innovative work. The truth is that much of what we write will combine elements from thought pieces, connective pieces and core pieces.
Since any one of these content types can help you build a relationship with your ideal client, the only important thing is to keep publishing quality content consistently.