Before we explain how to create a content pyramid, let’s define the term.
As with any other content marketing term, the exact definition can vary.
After all, content marketing is a relatively new field, so it stands to reason that people might disagree about some of its details.
Heck, even the term “content marketing” means different things to different marketers.
The folks at Content Marketing Institute define it as:
Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.
Neil Patel refines their definition slightly:
It means that content marketing is a long-term strategy that focuses on building a strong relationship with your target audience by giving them high-quality content that is very relevant to them on a consistent basis.
Content marketing is the intersection of advertising and publishing.
To me, this simple definition packs the biggest punch.
Its meaning is easy to grasp, and the simple words carry a lot of weight.
Anyhow, on to the next point – what a content pyramid is
Here’s my somewhat “simple” definition of a content pyramid:
A content pyramid is an inverted marketing funnel.
Maybe that definition needs some clarity.
But it works pretty well.
Let’s take a simple 3-tier funnel, starting at the top:
Ads / Blog Articles / Social Media Posts (Awareness)
Educational or Actionable Resources (Interest and Desire)
Product Demo / Free Trial / Trial Subscription (Action)
Now, let’s turn the funnel on its head:
This is essentially a stripped down content pyramid.
It’s hardly any different from an inverted marketing funnel, as you can see.
The top of the content pyramid ends with conversion … just like the bottom of the marketing funnel.
So, now that we know what a content pyramid is, on to the main point…
How to create a content pyramid
Here’s how I look at it … though there are certainly other ways of looking at it.
Before asking how to create a content pyramid, determine whether your marketing style is bottom-up or top-down.
In short, how “big picture” are you?
- A top-down marketing approach plans in advance, creates in-depth strategies, content arcs, and cornerstone content pieces.
- A bottom-up marketing approach does the opposite – creating content piece by piece, atomically, and then fusing those blocks together later on.
Today’s marketing environment is so fast-paced that even bigger companies are forced to become more agile and bottom-up.
This agility gives corporations the chance to react swiftly to changes in the marketplace, news, trends, and so on.
One drawback of atomically created content is that it’s shallower. Patching together a set of blog articles usually creates a listicle, rather than holistic system, method, or idea.
Once you know your marketing style, you know how to create a content pyramid – from the top down or the bottom up
If your organization takes a top-down approach, you’d plan with larger time frames – monthly, quarterly, or even annually. You’d create cornerstone content pieces – hub content – which you could then split up into blog articles, etc.
If you build content atomically – one article at a time, one email at a time – then you could assemble your hub content from those pieces at a later date.
Conclusion: And the best approach is…?
Some marketers argue that one way is better than the other.
But I’ve seen massive ROI from both approaches.
So choose the one that’s right for you.
Or you could simply take both approaches at the same time, depending on your content output.