- The need to make content relevant for individual buyers at every stage of the buying process
- The short lifespan of many content resources
- The need to publish content across an increasing number of communication channels
- The need to publish content on a frequent basis
To produce enough content on a timely and consistent basis, you need an approach to content development that will maximize the results you get from your content creation efforts.
An article in the latest issue of Chief Content Officer magazine by Amy Higgins, the senior content marketing manager for Concur's North American SMB division, provides a compelling model for an effective and efficient content development process. Ms. Higgins used an astronomical metaphor for her model, and her framework contains six major components:
- Galaxy - All of a company's content across all topic areas
- Solar System - A high level topic that supports a large library of content
- Sun - A large content asset that exhaustively covers one topic (see below)
- Planets - Larger content assets (white papers, e-books, etc.) that embody a story line about a "solar system" topic
- Moons - Mid-size assets (articles, blog posts, etc.) that support the "planet" assets
- Satellites - Smaller content assets, such as social media posts, etc., that point potential buyers to the other content assets
I would argue that the most important component in Ms. Higgins' framework is what she calls a sun. A sun is a single, very large content asset that includes everything your company has to say about a major, high-level topic, which in most cases will be related to a product or service (or a family of products or services) that your company offers.
The key point is that a sun asset is for internal use only. It is not written for a particular buyer persona or for buyers at any particular stage of the buying process. It's intended to be an all-encompassing statement of the substantive points you need to communicate about one topic.
What makes a sun asset so valuable is that it provides the concepts you need for all of your content relating to a given topic and guides the development of content relating to that topic. So, a sun asset makes it much easier and faster to develop the content assets that Ms. Higgins describes in her article as planets, moons, and satellites.
I'm a strong advocate of this approach to content development. Several months ago, I described a similar approach in a post that drew an analogy between content development and the use of mother sauces in classic French cooking.
Spending a significant amount of time to develop a major content asset that will not be distributed to potential buyers is counterintuitive. But this investment will make the rest of your content development efforts faster and easier.