10 Types Of Stories That Add Value to Your Content Marketing
Let’s face it, coming up with unique new content ideas can sometimes be hard, especially if you’ve already created a lot of content before. That’s why we love the new book by Melanie Deziel, The Content Fuel Framework. If you’re a marketing manager or content creator, it’s definitely worth a read!
The book gives you tons of ideas and tips to help you quickly and easily come up with lots of content ideas. One of the most interesting things about it, and it’s what we’ll explore in this article, is that it’s all about coming up with the focus of your content – the story itself – before you even begin to think of how you’ll tell that story, i.e. whether it will be a blog post, a video, a podcast, etc.
The Content Marketing Framework
The Content Fuel Framework inspired me to create our own framework, using Melanie’s book and expanding on her thoughts with our own ideas, tips, and recommendations. We’ve also created a webinar you can watch any time.
Focusing on your content
It’s difficult to start on anything if all you have is a blank page. These content focuses will help guide you as you brainstorm new ideas for telling stories that matter to your customers:
- The basics
- The details
- Product or service
You can use each of these topics to help you focus on what stories you could tell for each, what your customers want to know about, and what message you want to convey. Let’s have a look at each of these focus topics in turn.
Content focus #1: History – a look into the past
This type of content provides relevant information from the past about a person, event, product, industry, organization, technology or trend, etc. It naturally has a long shelf-life and can provide value to new audiences over time, as the story itself cannot change. If it does develop further, you can always expand on your content when there’s more to say.
If you’re looking at telling a story that explores the history of your brand or product, it’s important to consider whether the topic actually does have a rich history that your customers will find interesting. You might need to find people who can give first-hand input, and you’ll need to figure out how far back your story should go.
Examples of content focusing on history
- The History of Botox
- The Evolution Of Logo Design
- Solar power: How We Got To Now
Content focus #2: Data – looking at figures, facts, stats, and research
Data-focused content tells a story using numbers, data, trends, statistics or facts and figures. You’ll need to analyze and condense any data you have in order to create content that’s easy to understand, insightful, and perhaps a little less dry and overwhelming than raw data.
It’s great if you have your own data for creating this type of content as it means you’ll be producing something truly original and unique – hopefully, it will mean that other people are more likely to reference and link to it. But if you don’t have this type of data, that’s fine too. You can use publicly owned data that you collect and research. It could even be a combination of the two approaches.
The most important thing to think about is whether there’s an interesting way to tell your story using data. If not, it’s unlikely anyone will be engaged in it. You’ll also need to be completely certain of the quality and the source of your data.
Examples of content focusing on data
- New Study Finds That Burning Candles Helps You Live Longer
- We’re Doing SEO Wrong, According To New Research
- What Science Tells Us About Emotional Strength
- Here’s What The Data Says About Change Management For Growth
Content focus #3: People – shine a light on individuals or organizations
Stories focusing on people can be very successful – people like hearing about other people. But that’s only the case if your story is newsworthy or has a hook. It might be a story about someone’s experiences, achievements or participation in newsworthy events, for example.
Think about who your story could be about. It could be your CEO, employees, customers, clients or up-and-coming stars. As long as there’s a reason your audience might be interested in them or a unique perspective that hasn’t been told before, you can create a really engaging piece of people-focused content. You can also include interviews, quotes, and input from people who know them.
- How Neil Patel Is Changing The Way We Think About Marketing
- Meet The Inspiration Behind Tik-Tok
- “My Future Was Crime & Drugs”: How [Student Name] Turned Her Life Around With Support From The American Youth Soccer Association
Content focus #4: The basics – providing introductory information
Getting back to basics means creating 101 content that provides a general overview, background information and definitions. It’s foundational content that you can then build more detailed content off of (see below). Creating basic content means you have to assume that your audience has limited knowledge of the topic. It’s top-of-funnel content that aims to educate potential new customers.
Because it’s aimed at people who have little or no subject knowledge, it’s important to be clear, concise, and keep things simple. When you’re coming up with ideas for basic content, think about what your audience needs to know more about, or if you were giving this content to someone for the first time, what they might need to know. Try and answer questions your customers might have.
- How To Find A Scholarship Fund For Students Who Need One Most
- What You Need To Know Before Getting A Chemical Peel
- 3 Things You Need To Know About Google’s Latest Update
Related content: Read our 2020 content marketing guide
Content focus #5: The details – advanced or in-depth information
Detailed content builds on basic content. For example, you could take one section of your basic content and really go into detail just on that. Detailed content means taking a comprehensive, in-depth, thorough look at a subject. You have to assume your audience already has a basic level of understanding.
Take a look at the basic content you already have – is there anything in there that you could expand upon? Make sure it’s something that your more advanced audience would want to know more about, and that they already have the necessary knowledge to understand things in a little more detail.
- An Expert’s Guide To Woodwork
- How To Optimize Your Blog Posts Like A Pro
- Everything You Need To Know About Getting Your Children Vaccinated
Content focus #6: Opinion – let’s get personal
A lot of businesses shy away from opinion pieces – sometimes understandably, especially if you’re talking about a controversial topic. But having a view, a belief or a different perspective doesn’t need to be controversial. It’s just a subjective rather than objective content piece. You might be able to give your audience a point of view they hadn’t considered or help them understand different options open to them. It can even be as simple as a review or rankings.
When you’re coming up with opinion-based content ideas, consider whether you’re creating the content from one person’s point of view or from the point of view of your business. Think about any risks you’d be taking in sharing this opinion, and make sure your content is informed, fair, and balanced. You could even address opposite opinions to paint a fuller picture.
- What I’ve Learned From Using Hubspot With My Clients
- The 6 Best Books Students Should Read About Work/Life Balance
- Why We’re Asking All Employees To Wear Company Branded Clothing
- Our Favorite Marketing Podcasts
Content focus #7: Processes – a set of steps or instructions
Process-driven content helps your target audience understand how something happens. It could even be a step-by-step guide that informs them how to complete a process themselves. It is inherently instructional, helpful, and educational content. You could also create behind-the-scenes content that takes a look into something your audience might not usually see.
Firstly, think about the processes your customers might need advice or guidance on. It may be that there’s already lots of content out there that covers your topic, so how would you make yours different? Consider how detailed you need to be as well. If it’s a basic set of instructions, don’t overwhelm people.
- How To Write Buyer Personas
- How Dunkin’ Donuts Donuts Are Made
- Behind The Scenes On A Photography Shoot
- Constructing A Swing-Set, Step-by-Step
Content focus #8: Curation – collect related items or information
Curated content is a collection of things that meet specific criteria, have similar characteristics or pre-identified data points. This type of content can be practical (4 films to watch if you’re learning to dive) or subjective (our favorite iced teas, things we think are perfect for beach holidays).
Think about what will be on your list – and how many items you’ll include. Make sure you have clear selection criteria and consider if you want to set your list out in a certain order.
- 7 Books To Read For Technical SEO Tips
- Owners Of Top Accountancy Firms Share Tips For New Accountants
- Try These Hacks To Make Your Running Shoes Last Longer
- Most Popular Tom Hanks Films, Ranked
- Our 5 Most Popular Blog Posts Of The Year
Content focus #9: Product – including services and other offerings
Product content is more mid-funnel content that provides support for a product or service that your audience probably already knows about. It includes things like website product pages, landing pages, sales pages, how to use the product, reviews, testimonials, webinars, FAQs, etc.
It’s important to consider what questions your audience has about your product or service, and how you’ll answer those questions. Taking it a step further, you’ll also want to dispel doubts they may have about making a purchase and correct any misconceptions. Call to action is really important here, ideally, you want the audience to make a purchase from reading this type of content.
- We Tried SEMrush, Here’s What You Need To Know
- Review: The New HVR Headset That Delivers On Its Promise
- About Giant Floating Candles
- Unboxing The New LEGO Star Wars Set
- Receiving & Fitting Your New Washing Machine
Content focus #10: Examples – case studies that exemplify a wider story
This is a really interesting piece of content to create. It takes a person, organization, product or service and uses that to illustrate a wider trend. It’s almost a two-part story, the first part being the example and the second part being the broader story.
It’s important that the example you select truly reflects a common trend or experience that will be familiar to your audience.
- What One Beginner’s Experience Can Tell Us About The Benefits Of Jump Rope
- How This Children’s Medical Center Became A Shining Example Of Providing Affordable Healthcare For All
- How Local Artisan Businesses Are Affected By Amazon
- How Getting A Scholarship Changed This Student’s Life Forever (> the wider benefits of scholarships)
- How We Grew Our Client’s Organic Website Traffic By 200% In Six Months (> benefits of SEO with statistics on its importance)
Want to find out more about the content framework?
Need support for your content marketing? Let’s chat.