The periodic table of content

February 16, 2012

Content is made up of pieces. – and these pieces can be broken down into smaller pieces or combined into larger pieces, just like the elements on the Periodic Table. Orbit Media Studios has created a depiction of just that.

  • 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.

Content marketing is just 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…

Have a look through the list below for more info… It’s a long list, so feel free to just scan for the ones you’re interested in!

Tw (Tweet) A tweet is a tiny particle, which survives only a short time. They’re known for traveling far and in many directions. Any content can be made into tweets and lead to small chain reactions of shares and links.

P (Post) One of the primary building blocks of web content, posts are updates on social media sites or in corporate blogs or other streams. They tend to be timely, short-lived and date-stamped. Posts are informal, highly ‘shareable’ and may include images. Posts can be broken down into tweets.

Ne (Newsletter) A newsletter is out-bound and lives slightly longer than those above. A newsletter has more properties, including subject lines and links smaller (p)articles.

Pc (Podcast) The Podcast is pure, distilled audio with no visual. They’re typically less powerful than video, but more powerful than text, because of their ability to convey tone. They can be created by pulling from a video, or by reading summaries of articles, case studies or seminar key points.

Pp (Presentation) 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.

Re (Reviews) (aka recommendations, testimonials) Reviews can be found everywhere – via search, social networking or in emails. Combine them with your web content, but never create a page of just testimonials. Reviews are supportive content that increase the credibility of other content. When they stand alone they are weaker, since visitors don’t go to website to read reviews. Add them 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 common and works well. Use them for outbound newsletters and less formal articles and combine them with reviews for a client perspective.

At (Article) An extremely versatile element, articles are created to inform and entertain, not just market and promote. They can be broken down into posts and tweets and added to web pages or combined in an eBook.

Pr (Press Release) Although once directed specifically at media, today they can be found ranking in search engines and reaching a wider spectrum. Press releases are easy to convert into web pages and articles, but make sure you rewrite it for originality.

Vi (Video) Although the content and messaging may overlap, this format stands alone as one of the most compelling and powerful formats for content.

Wb (Webinar) Similar to a presentation, but with audio and sometimes with video.

Pdf (PDF files) These are supportive particle to other content and shouldn’t standalone. They’re not search-friendly so make sure any content is also on a main web page.

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. They can often be broken down into more articles or posts and executive summaries may make good case study content. Quotes and stats can become tweets.

Wp (Web Page) A stable piece of content that is clear, direct and easy to control and measure. Web pages are powerful in search engine marketing but are not frequently shared on their own. Case studies, articles, PDF’s and white papers should be converted to web pages and reviews should be spread across.

Bk (Book) Offline content with a history of endurance. They can be created through combining many articles or be broken down into articles and white papers.

Eb (eBook) Similar to the Book but shorter and 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 from white papers or articles that all have a similar theme.