How Many Cuts of Content Are You Serving?

By David Burda  |  August 5, 2015

Cooked and cut steak on a wood cutting board

Anyone who knows me—or who has seen my photo—knows I like to eat. I’m not particularly choosey about the type of cuisine. At the top and bottom of my food pyramid is meat. When a restaurant server brings out the tray of different cuts of steak, I have a tough time picking because they all look great.

Interestingly, when that happens, each person at our table selects not only a different cut of steak but also a different way of having it cooked—from rare to well done. It’s all steak. It’s all good. But each person at the table consumes it differently.

Content is a lot like steak. It’s all good (well, it can be if prepared appropriately). But each user consumes it differently. That means organizations and corporations need to think like the finest steakhouses when they create and publish content. They should serve up that same piece of content in as many ways as possible in order to satisfy the wide range of appetites they’re trying to reach.

Some content marketers use words like “packaging,” “ecosystems” and “snackable” to describe this approach to creating content for users. To me, it’s just “formats.” It’s taking the same information and putting it into as many different formats as possible to distribute to an audience.

There are a handful of healthcare organizations that do this effectively. One is the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics. Known as IMS Health, the Danbury, Conn.-based firm provides performance analytics and market research to all kinds of healthcare companies. On a regular basis, the company publicly releases major healthcare research reports whose data and information become accepted fact in the industry.

In April, IMS Health released its latest annual report on medication trends in the U.S. You can request a download of the complete, 53-page report. You can download the three major infographics from the report individually or as a chart pack. You can read a summary of the report online. You can read the key findings from the report online. You can watch six video interviews summarizing the key results individually or in sequence. You can read external media coverage of the report.

Another organization that uses different formats to distribute the same piece of content is the Health Research Institute of PricewaterhouseCoopers, the global accounting and consulting firm. The institute creates a separate website section for each of its reports where users can find a format to their liking. In June, the institute released its annual medical cost trend report. On the dedicated website section, you can download the complete, 30-page report. You can read the executive summary and key findings. You can download a 15-page chart pack. And you could have participated in a Twitter Chat when PwC released the report.

Each of the 13 infographics in the medical cost trend chart pack also resides on the website section as separate content assets with its own social sharing tools. That’s 13 opportunities for users to share an infographic with friends, followers and connections.

That’s also the distribution and amplification logic behind having so many cuts of the same content available to users. Not only are you appealing to the many different tastes in content consumption, you’re creating multiple opportunities to share content based on users’ social preferences.

(Not mentioned in the IMS Health and PwC Health Research Institute examples are the multitude of other formats organizations and corporations can use to distribute the same piece of content, including webinars, polls, transcripts, blog posts, events, speaker presentations, slides, podcasts and more.)

Now, think about the white paper on your website. It’s a great white paper. It’s got a great title and great content and great infographics and great typography and your CEO likes it. But who is going to download it? More than likely, the only downloaders will be the segment of your audience who likes white papers. You can do a lot more with that white paper to appeal to other audience segments.

Steak can be served a variety of ways. So can content.

Talk to us about the many ways we can create and distribute your company’s content. 

Read next: Content Marketing vs. Advertising: What’s the Difference, Again?

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