The Periodic Table of Content
Content is made up of pieces. And pieces can be broken down into smaller pieces or combined into larger pieces, just like the elements on the Periodic Table. Thinking about content as particles will give you ideas on how to quickly create new content by “atomizing” your existing content into smaller pieces or combining content into larger compounds.
But before you turn your articles into particles, let’s look at what the content universe is made of. Once we know what’s on the Periodic Table of Content, we’ll be ready to start smashing particles in the content accelerator.
- Elements at the top of the chart are small and tend to have a shorter half-life.
- Elements at the bottom are larger, slower to create and last longer.
- Elements to the left appear everywhere, on billions of sites and various devices.
- Elements on the right are more likely to be on your site.
- The number in the top right indicates the typical length of number of words for that Element.
What follows is a description of each particle and examples of how to break it down or combine it with others. If you don’t want to read them all, just look at the ones you already have and the ones you want to create.
Tweet is a tiny particle, which survives in nature only a short time. Tweets are known for traveling far and in many directions, and they may be comprised of subatomic links, mentions, hashtags and quotes.
- Any content can be atomized into Tweets. Doing so can lead to small chain reactions of shares and clicks. Quotes, stats, captions and headlines can all be made into tweets.
- Tweets can be combined into post. Use three tweets and add your own commentary, or simply list 12 related tweets.
One of the primary building blocks of web content, Posts can be seen as updates on social media sites (Facebook, G+) or in corporate blogs or other streams. They tend to be timely, short-lived and date-stamped. Posts are informal and highly shareable and may include images.
- Since Posts are already small, they can only be broken down into Tweets.
- Posts are strongest in compounds with other elements: Link to posts from Tweets and Newsletters. Link from Posts to Web Pages.
A newsletter is an out-bound particle that lives slightly longer than the Tweet. It has more properties, including subject lines and link tracking, so it requires careful handling.
- Newsletters should always link to Posts and Articles. Their energy is lower unless this bond is created. If a Newsletter gives the full text and doesn’t link to something else, the visitor doesn’t click and no traffic is generated. Never put the full text into a newsletter. Always combine!
- Newsletters should contain smaller particles.
The Podcast is pure, distilled audio and has no visual energy. Podcasts are typically less powerful than Video, but more powerful than text, because of their ability to convey tone. Create them using radio frequency microphone technology.
- Podcasts are easy to create by reading summaries of Articles and Case Studies.
- Podcasts may be by-products of the Presentations creation process. Simply pull the audio track out of a Video or Webinar, or record the presentation using a smart phone and edit later.
No longer just viewed on projectors during speeches, today Presentations can be found across the web, ranking in searches and shared through social media. They are most powerful when charged with visual content, such as charts and images.
- Post to Slideshare and embed into Web Pages, including LinkedIn
- Record the audio track to create a Podcast
- If possible, use social media coverage to live tweet those juicy soundbites during the presentation. Use a predetermined hashtag sub-particle.
Re (Reviews) (aka recommendations, testimonials)
Since the recent explosion of these particles, Reviews can be found everywhere. Find them on your Yelp page, LinkedIn, Google Place Page or free-roaming emails.
- Combine them with your Web Pages through testimonial chemistry, but never create a Web Page of testimonials. Reviews are supportive content that increase the credibility of other Particles. When they stand alone (on a testimonials page) they are weaker, since visitors don’t go to website to read reviews. They go to get information and learn.
- Add reviews to Case Studies, Newsletters and Press Releases.
Cs (Case Study)
Sometimes known as a “success story,” Case Studies increase credibility and are useful when trust is critical and the sales process is long. The problem-solution-result structure is easy to spot. Case Studies are powerful because they can be atomized into almost anything.
- Break them down into outbound Newsletters, less formal Articles and two or three tweets to increase traffic.
- Combine with Reviews (use the Testimonial isotope) and link to Web Pages to increase conversions.
An extremely versatile element, Articles are slightly larger than Posts and more structured. They are less self-serving than Web Pages. Articles are created to inform and entertain, not just market and promote.
- Atomize Articles into Posts and Tweets
- Transform into Web Pages (add product/service information) or into Case Studies (restructure, add example).
- Combine 5 articles into an eBook or 20 articles into a Book.
Pr (Press Release)
This targeted, highly-charged particle travels quickly. Although it was once directed specifically at media, today it can be found ranking in search engines and reaching a wider spectrum.
- Press Releases are easy to convert into Web Pages and Articles, but be careful. Rewrite the Press Release before posting it on your site to avoid the duplicate content penalty. Each Web Page particle on your site should be original and unique on the web.
Although the content and messaging may overlap with surrounding particles, the format stands alone as one of the most compelling and powerful formats for content.
- Most content can be atomized into Video in any properly equipped lab.
- Video becomes more powerful when bonded to a Web Page (a process known as “embedding”) improving the conversion rate (visitors into leads) of the Web Page.
Similar to a Presentation, but always with audio and sometimes with video.
When viewed in real time and given a hashtag, Webinars often generate Tweets.
- Create Video or Podcast particles through recording technology.
- If the Webinar requires registration, be sure to atomize some aspects and make them viewable as Articles (transcripts).
Pdf (PDF files)
These are supportive particle that should never stand alone. Any valuable content that is currently within a PDF but not on a Web Page should be atomized immediately, since they are not as search friendly and lack Analytics.
- Best when bonded to Web Pages as an alternate (print-friendly, downloadable) versions of Articles, White Papers, Press Releases, etc.
- There are only a few, specific environments where PDFs can stand alone and still have value: Scribt and Slideshare.
Wt (White Paper)
Also referred to as a Research Report, Technical Brief, or Guide,
White Papers tend to be formal, text heavy and a bit boring. Historically common, many White Papers still exist in legacy content and sometimes they are relevant for years. These are prime candidates for atomization.
- One White Paper can often be broken down into three or more Article or Posts.
- If the White Paper is available only as a PDF, make it into a set of Web Pages.
- Post on Scribt
- If there is an Executive Summary, this may be broken off into a Case Study or Web Page.
- Subatomic quotes and stats can become Tweets.
Wp (Web Page)
A stable particle that’s clear, direct and easy to control. Their effectiveness is also easy to measure. Web Pages are powerful in both search engine marketing and at converting visitors into leads and customers. However on their own, they are not frequently shared.
- Case Studies, Articles and White Papers should all be atomized into Web Pages.
- Marketing PDFs should always be converted into web pages.
- Reviews should not be combined into a Web Page since “testimonial” pages generate disproportionately low visits. Reviews should be added to various pre-existing web pages.
Offline particle with a history of endurance. No particle is older except the ancient Scroll (Sc) and Slab (Sl).
- Books can be created by combining many Article particles through editing fusion. This process releases large amounts of credibility.
- Books can be atomized into Articles and White Papers
Similar to the Book but shorter. Similar to the White Paper, but less formal and text-heavy. eBooks typically feature more design elements (charts and images) and can be created easily using presentation software such as Powerpoint or Keynote.
- Convert White Papers into eBooks
- Combine Articles with a similar theme into an eBook
Atom Smashing Examples (good and bad)
- Multiplying Video (good): Brad Farris of EnMast made a one hour webinar interview of three experts. Later, he atomized the video into three shorter videos, each was of an expert answering a specific question.
- Atomic Meltdown (bad): A biomedical company hired a PR firm which then used their home Web Page as a Press Release, submitting it to online news wires. The explosion in duplicate content caused Google to blacklist the domain. The company no longer ranked, even for it’s own name. Hazmat suits and a Reconsideration Request were needed to clean up.
Content marketing is exactly like high energy physics. Well, not really. But you can accelerate your publishing if you look at the content around you and think about combining things and breaking things down….a webinar becomes a podcast…the podcast becomes a blog post…combine the blog post with a newsletter…etc.
Be a web marketing scientist, find something to atomize, and make your marketing go boom.