The Content Radar: A Model To Help You Clarify The “Added Value” Of Content

If there is one core element that defines content marketing that we can all agree upon, it is the idea that it has to be useful, entertaining or educational. It has to add value. Every good piece of content has to add value in a certain context.

Personally, I have always been frustrated with that fuzzy concept of “adding value”. Sure, that sounds nice, but what does it actually mean? How can dig deeper?

A few years back I came accross the content radar model, developed by our VP of content strategy Mirko Lange, inspired by an HBR article on brand management (in German).

I was instantly very interested and later convinced, that this model helps to clarify how you can dig deeper into how you want to address specific topics, stories to derive a coherent content mix.

The content radar

The content radar has two main axes that will help in differentiating different dimensions:

  1. A functional / emotional dimension (i.e. “for the brain” and “for the heart”) aims at clarifying, how we want to get a message across with our content. Does the user learn something that he can put to use later on? Do we want to educate him / her on this specific topic? Or do we want to transport emotions, values or meaning?
  2. And a superficial / in depth dimension (i.e. “snackable” and “for the big appetite”) that helps to clarify essentially how intensively the user will be dealing with the content. THat obviously depends on how interested he / she is in that topic but also e.g. where he / she is in the buying process and the persona you are targeting.

If you combine those axes, you get four dimensions of the aforementioned “added value” or just simply perceived benefits you want to provide your content consumers with:

  • “News / Information” where you provide users with short information, updates or anything that informs quickly.
  • “Knowledge / Enabling” aims at educating the audience on complex topics, provide guidance, detailed how-tos etc.
  • “Relationship / Meaning” will help connect users with you brand (via content) on a deeper level, building relationships through a commone sense of purpose, values they relate to etc.
  • “Entertainment / Fun” content pieces are short and entertaining aiming at generating engagement and “keeping in touch”.

For each of those categories, you can associate certain channels and content formats to make it more concrete:

… and for each of those, you’ll find different critical success factors:

Where it becomes interesting is when you use this model on your personas, their customer journey and the topics you address, you can align these elements and apply to your content operations.

Using this model in your content operations

Use this model as a framework, not a checklist: helps to clarify and think more in detail about different ways you can provide a valuable / meaningful content experience to your audience.

You can do the exercise by combining the customer journey of personas and the topic areas and topics that you focus on and align these dimensions. Each time you are planning a campaign or particular initiative (e.g. in the editorial meeting) ask yourself how this fits into the broader framework and aligns with the dimensions of “added value”.

The following visualization of our planning tool will help you to grasp the concept. In this example, we want to address our persona with News / Information content and Knowledge / Enabling (in blue). This aligns well with the objectives of the campaign (in orange), but the customer journey (in purple) reminds us, that there’s a strategic recommendation that we don’t align with.

Ideally you’ll want to use a tagging system to keep track of your content mix, so that you can track the performance in relation to your goals in those dimensions. If you attribute each content initiative with those, you can analyze entire timeframes and adjust accordingly.

Maël is Rock Content’s Content Strategy Consultant.

Maël Roth is a ½ French, ½ German content strategy & content operations consultant at Rock Content, helping organizations to develop and implement content strategies.




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