“Traditional” written content is effective, but only when it makes sense for the message you want to send to your audience. It is important to have a good mix of content media as you develop a content library but it is equally important, if not more, to approach medium choice with purpose.
The “best” content medium will vary, from piece to piece and audience to audience.
Technical, Sophisticated, Advanced Topics
If you are teaching high-level topics that involve complex concepts like physics, healthcare or the crisis in the Middle East, you need to create content that allows you to cover all of the nuances and sub-topics involved.
The best mediums for complex subject matters are:
- Articles – Dive deep into a subject matter through the classic medium.
- Infographics – Use these to supplement your subject with facts and figures, or break down complex topics that rely heavily on data.
- Videos – A series of short videos can cover the topic end-to-end in an engaging way.
How-To, Hands-On Topics
What’s the best way to demonstrate how to do something? Demonstrating how to do it! Showing, rather than telling, is critical when developing a new skill. If you teach people how to cook, build something, exercise safely or install transistors, your audience will learn best if they can see the process in action and work alongside you from home.
Ideal content mediums for demonstrable topics are:
- Videos – When you can’t be there to demonstrate, video is the next best thing. Often, it’s even better, because the viewer can rewind and watch over and over to grasp the concept.
- Scenario-based learning – Once you’ve taught someone how to do something, scenarios test their ability to put what the audience has learned into action.
- Articles – How-to topics that are extremely simple or really don’t benefit from a visual approach, like how to conduct employee evaluations, can be covered in a process article, as well.
Simple, Straightforward Ideas And Concepts
Do you need to define key terms for your audience? Are you looking to reinforce a basic concept? Do you want to make a point quickly, by showing facts, figures and statistics?
If you are closing small knowledge gaps, establishing building blocks or explaining a very straightforward concept, choose mediums like:
- Videos – Ideal when the concept is visual or conversational.
- Infographics – State your case quickly, and support it with facts and figures in an easy-to-consume, visually pleasing way.
- Articles – Short form articles can be useful when a visual representation isn’t quite ideal for a simple subject.
Interior designers who want to show the ideal flow of a room, chefs who want to teach the best setup for a kitchen, mechanics who want to teach the components of an engine, designers who wish to showcase the ideal layout of a website can rely on visual content to show design in action.
The ideal medium for topics like these are hotspots that lay out the design of the area you want to discuss, and allow the user to see pop-up explanations of the where and the why behind the placement or layout.
When You Want To Talk About You…
The purpose of your content is to teach, not sell, but sometimes a success story can be extremely valuable in educating prospects or other customers. This is especially true when a success is extremely dramatic, or when your audience could actually benefit and learn from the path another client chose.
When you want to showcase a success, choose a case study. These can be formatted as articles, videos, or infographics, or any combination thereof.
This list is not complete, since there are an endless number of concepts to teach an audience, but it lays the foundation for choosing the right medium for each message. The key to success is to be clear about the knowledge you want to share and the goal you have for that piece of content. From there, you can match it to a format that makes sense and will connect with the audience.