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Are You Feeding Readers a Healthy Mix of Quality Content?

Content strategist Barry Feldman spins a tale of rock-’n'-roll, tasty food analogies and the components of a balanced content plate.

Content-Food-Chart

Imagine Axl Rose, royalty among rockers, and Ann Handley, the queen of content, made a baby. They name the kid Jason.

And the cradle will rock.

Baby Jason loves getting rocked to sleep. Daddy soothes him with tender renditions of “Sweet Child O’ Mine.” Who knows what kind of jungle juice Axl puts in the boy’s bottle.

When mama puts Jason night-night, she tries to read him “Goodnight Moon,” but oddly, Jason never actually settles into slumber until Ann gets out the special baby blue edition of her book “Content Rules.”

Welcome to the Jason.

Jason grows up with a 4/4 beat pounding in his heart. Dad takes him to all kinds of concerts. He chums with the bands. The kid’s in paradise city.

KISS

Jason excels in school and his essays, though they tend to be about Whitesnake and Black Sabbath, consistently earn A-pluses. Mom admires her son’s heavy metal mentality, but encourages him to develop his journalistic skills. She buys Jason a camera and a computer.

He matures to become a marketing mastermind and goes to work in the music business, of course. He spends a decade with Sony Music developing rock bands and brands. Then he gets downright digital. He manages social media for Zoomerang, moves on to create all kinds of crazy cool content for Marketo, and finally lands at LinkedIn as senior manager of content marketing.

RocknRoll

Jason spends many evenings shooting big—and rising—stars for his blog, RocknRollCocktail.com.

This is the mostly true story of my friend Jason Miller. I apologize to Jason’s real parents as well as Ann Handley for the fictitious parts.

He speaks well too.

I go to a lot of concerts myself. I also go to a fair share of marketing conferences. I’ve never run into Jason at a concert, but first crossed paths with him at a media conference. We sang karaoke back-to-back at the Hornblower party cruise one night during Social Media Marketing World. I did Kid Rock. I’m sure Jason was impressed.

After, we got to talking. Talking bands, of course. I think the Pink Floyd conversation took us past midnight.

Sophisticated

A fun, professional friendship came to be. I’d interview Jason for articles, infographics and SlideShares. He hit me up now and then for the same. I was excited to land in his award-winning eBook, “The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to LinkedIn.”

It was a complete no-brainer inviting Jason to be a guest at my “Rock and Roll Content” webinar where he shared some Jello Biafra (Dead Kennedys) wisdom: “Don’t hate the media. Become the media.

How’s that for the quintessential rock-’n'-roll + content marketing crossroad?

DontHatetheMedia

That’s Jason above, rocking it at one of his many speaking gigs. I never got around to hearing Jason speak until just recently at a fun little gathering in San Francisco, the first ever “FunnyBizz Conference.”

A tasty food analogy for blogging smart.

At the conference, Jason presented a memorable approach to blogging I really want to share with you. He credits a 2009 post by Rick Burnes on the HubSpot blog for the original idea: “5 Types of Posts to Feed Your Business Blog.”

The idea, or my interpretation of it:

  • Just as a variety of different food groups contribute to a healthy diet, a healthy approach to blogging is to publish a smart mix of content.
  • Readers enjoy the blog more because they’re not fed the same thing day after day.
  • Bloggers stay inspired and fresh by pouring it on with some beefy posts while approaching others more lightly.

Specifically, the meal plan breaks down into five approaches.

  • Whole wheat and grains—According to the infographic below developed by Jason and his LinkedIn team, these make for filling servings, but are easy to dish out (like cereal). Blog post types might include how-to’s, third-party posts from influencers, and even old content, repurposed of course.

Twitter-EngagementSS

iAcquire serves its readers a steady diet of how-to posts, including this recent article offering Twitter tips from contributor Kristi Hines.

  • Vegetables—Thought leadership pieces, guest topics and case studies are analogous to veggies because they’re good for you (like ‘em or not).

Awesome

Ann Handley uses her blog, annhandley.com, as an outlet for a variety of post types, but seldom allows too much time to pass before providing her ideas on important topics, such as this post about the importance of highlighting customers.

  • Meat—Here are your proteins—beefy posts that require a good thorough cooking, like a roast. Approaches featuring research and studied points of view are the types your audience will really savor and chew on for some time.

Inhound-Marketing

HubSpot understands the value of regularly delivering meaty posts (bordering on eBooks), such as this mega-post for getting started with inbound marketing.

  • Desserts—These are sweet, obviously. They might be lighter, but they satisfy readers’ desires for good fun. Dessert style posts are often passed around and shared.

Contently-Marketer

A great example from Contently, “How to Be a Marketer, According to Stock Photography,” is a cheeky and hilarious look at the use of ridiculous images.

  • Condiments—While it’s hard to call a condiment a food group or meal, go with it for the sake of the analogy. As Burns pointed out, you might “start fires” with some flaming hot spices or serve something salty to inspire conversation. The idea here is to take a bold stand with a portion of your posts.

douchie

Neil Patel’s blog posts generally come from the other food groups, but he fires up a good conversation now and then with some hot sauce, such as this provocatively titled post.

Serve smart portions.

After introducing the blogging food groups, the infographic below presents a six-day meal plan. Apparently, you rest (or fast) come Sunday. While such a plan might work nicely for your blog, it need not be taken literally. Unless you’re a blogging machine or have assembled a rocking band o’ bloggers, you’ll publish less than daily.

So zoom down and chew on the pie chart beneath the meal plan. Again, no need to be overly literal, but consider the formula there a good example of how to plate a smart variety of post types to offer your readers plenty of flavor and nutrition.

Featured image courtesy LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
Are you feeding your readers a healthy mix of content? More importantly, do you eat dessert first? Hungry for your comments!