Modular content. Yes, it sounds complicated. But it is, in fact, one of the ways that content strategists and creators can make their lives simpler. It’s the answer to big questions like ‘how can I keep up with increasing demand for more and more content?’, and ‘how do I make my content relevant for the needs of every prospect?’
Modular content is on the verge of becoming the latest trend in marketing, and we think it’s going to be the next big thing by the end of the year. It’s probably a good idea to get clued up on it now before you’re frantically googling it in a meeting in a few months…
“employing or involving a module or modules as the basis of design or construction.”
In architecture, modular design refers to creating a building from individual parts – or modules – which are built off-site and shipped on-site to be assembled. The result is a complete building, made from lots of distinct and separate parts, like this one:
In a similar way, modular content is made up of distinct, separate chunks of writing. Much like constructing a building, these chunks can be assembled to make a longer piece of content or left as shorter pieces by themselves. Content creators can combine various chunks together in different ways, resulting in new pieces of content from the modules. The important part is that a huge amount of content can be created from the same modules – making one set of information stretch as far as possible.
You’ve created a long-form article on the marketing-finance rift and published it on your blog. This one piece of content is going to attract readers who want an in-depth guide, and who have the time to invest in reading longer content. But this isn’t going to cut it for readers who are short on time or just looking for a quick overview.
Using the process of modular content creation, you can break down the article into the main informative sections: ‘Improve transparency with better data tracking’, ‘Involve finance in strategic decision-making’, and ‘less emotions, more behavioral economics’. These, shorter pieces, can then be targeted at subsets of your audience. Say you’re putting together a resource for the sales team for a client who is particularly interested in decision making, then a shorter chapter ‘Involve finance in strategic decision-making’ would be far more appealing than the longer article, as it is directly relevant to their particular needs.
Next, imagine that you want to create some posts for social. The smaller units of these individual chapters will be sections that can be used for social posts. Smaller modules of these can be used for Twitter posts or pulled through as quotes for wider sales collateral.
What does it take to put together a modular content strategy? It means approaching your writing very differently during the creation process. One of the first questions you have to ask yourself is ‘what exactly does a module of content look like?’ A module should be something which is large enough to exist by itself, but small enough to be applicable to a variety of channels, audiences, and contexts.
Once you have a definition of what a module is for your particular strategy, you can begin to either write content by building it up from smaller modules, or by dividing existing content down into parts. For example, here are two ways of writing a white paper on ESG:
Think about what each of your target personas would want to know about ESG. Someone who works in the finance industry might want to know about the recent financial institutions who have ramped up their ESG focus. Someone with a marketing background might want to know the impact ESG has on brand identity and perception. Each of these topics could form ‘modules’ of a longer overview, and be split off into their parts when targeting a specific persona.
Completed a long-form piece of content on ESG and feel like it’s not working as hard as it could be for you? Break the content down into parts to different parts of the funnel. A broad overview might suit prospects at the top of the funnel, and be appropriate on a blog. Towards the bottom of the funnel, a piece talking about how your product is ESG compliant, and the profitability to gain from this, might be more appropriate.
Modular content is a super-efficient way of generating a lot of content, which can be tailored for individual use cases, audiences, and channels. We’re all familiar with the increasing demand for marketing to prove ROI while producing personalized content, under tight time constraints. Modular content creation is a time-saving strategy.
Modular content has particular applications for sales teams. Think about how much better it would be to present a prospect with the parts of the content that they actually want to read, based on their profession, particular use case, and interests. Modular content means more personalized content, that sales teams can assemble themselves, without extra time needed from marketing.
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