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EPISODE 14: Core Content vs. Supporting Content

by Dec 29, 2020Content Strategy, Podcast

In this episode we will cover:

  • The 5 levels of the marketing funnel
  • What core content is + why you need it
  • What supporting content is + why you need it
  • How to use both core + supporting content to move your audience through the marketing funnel

Are you trapped in an endless cycle of write-post-repeat? Do you ever feel like you’ve run out of things to say, or that you’re saying SO much it’s just disappearing into the void?

If you’re struggling to find the right thing to say, you should take a step back to consider how you approach core and supporting content.


In this episode, we’ll discuss:

  • What core content is + why you need it
  • What supporting content is + why you need it
  • How to use both types of content to move your audience through the marketing funnel {that means more sales!}
  • How to streamline your content, keeping it from getting repetitive while actually giving you MORE to talk about

Remember, your content builds a relationship with your audience, getting them to know, like, and trust your brand. And you’re allowed to repeat yourself! Just because you’ve talked about something once doesn’t mean you can never talk about it again. 

After you’ve listened to the episode, tag us on Instagram @northstarmessaging to tell us how you’re streamlining your content!



Welcome to the Brand Your Voice Podcast, where we’re digging into how you can create personality-driven content that connects and converts. I’m Jessi…

…and I’m Marie. We’re the co-founders of North Star Messaging + Strategy, where we support business owners in outsourcing content without sacrificing authenticity.

Every brand has a unique voice that sets it apart. We're digging into how to capture the way your brand communicates, from the words you use to the stories you tell. So you can create more compelling content that strategically helps you meet your business goals.

If you choose to outsource that content, you'll be able to do so with confidence, knowing your brand voice is in good hands and you can reclaim your time. We're so glad you're here and hope you enjoy this episode.
All right, welcome to another episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. Today, we're going to be talking all about core content versus supporting content. What that means, how you can implement and get way more strategic with the content you're creating.
Before we dive in, we just want to say that the context around this is a marketing funnel. We're not necessarily talking about active campaign, landing pages. We're just talking about sort of that journey that a customer goes down and the way your content guides them to through that process.

Yeah, absolutely. I know some people sort of they hear the word funnel they're like, "Oh God, no. Not a funnel. It's sleazy sales [inaudible]." We want them to be sure that you're not thinking of it in that way. We're huge proponents of relationship marketing and making sure that we are building relationships and having genuine conversations with our audience throughout the entire journey. The context of a marketing funnel is really valuable when it comes to setting content goals. We're going to use that as our framework.
For a quick overview of the different phases of the marketing funnel that we use when deciding things like core and supporting content, there are five different phases.
We have the attract phase, which is someone's getting to know your brand for the very first time. We have the nurture phase, where someone has said, "Hey, I want to learn more about this brand," and they've maybe opted into your email list for example. So they're getting more content. Maybe they followed you on Instagram and now they're seeing your posts in their feed more often.
There is the convert phase, where they are buying something from you. The deliver phase, where you are delivering the thing that they bought and the retain phase, where you're getting them to stick around even more after they have been delivered that product or service.
You have attract, nurture, convert, deliver, and retain. Those are the five different phases of the marketing funnel that we are going to be talking about today.

Right and I think it's important to mention too that those don't always have to happen in exactly that order. For instance, if you're maybe running an ad straight to a low cost paid offer, you're going from attract straight to convert. Then maybe after someone said, "Okay, sure, I'll pay you 19 bucks for that." Then they're actually going to get nurtured for a little while as you're delivering that content and they're digging into it.
I think nurture is one of those things that's constantly happening, but typically it starts right after the attract phase, but it's never going to go away.

Yeah, absolutely. We want to constantly be nurturing those relationships. We don't want to be like, "Hi, you know who I am and now I'm going to run away."

Exactly. Now that we have the context of marketing funnels in mind for core and supporting content, let's dive into definitions for both of those things.
Core content, there's two things going on here. One is simply put, just the main piece of content that you want to be focusing on to help you get closer to that goal of converting, delivering, and retaining for them.
Maybe for you, that's a very specific blog post or series. Maybe it's a video series. Maybe it's a podcast episode. It could be anything really, but if there's something that's really driving people towards that and it tends to be kind of robust and explains the benefits of all that good stuff, debunk some myths, and really helps them get in the right head space to gain the right knowledge, to gain the right context. That's your core piece of content, but there's another thing that it actually does and function. You want to talk about that Jessi?

Yeah. The really powerful thing that core content is able to achieve is that it really moves your audience from one phase of the marketing funnel to another. Let's say it moves them from attract to nurture. It's a piece of content that actually gets them to take that step of going ahead and signing up for your email list, or it moves them from convert to deliver. It makes them actually decide, "Oh, I'm going to invest in this product or this service."
A really common convert core piece of content for example, is a sales page. It's the big, robust piece of content that allows people to go and actually convert and turn into now they're in the deliver phase of the funnel.
Now, I said that the sales page is big. The core piece of content doesn't always have to be long. It doesn't have to be this big giant thing. Another example would be an opt-in. That's getting someone to go from attract and saying, "Hey, I want to hear more from you." They opt into your list. Maybe when they do that, you're providing them with a checklist. It's short and to the point, but it's value packed and that's why it's a core piece of content.
Core content at its soul helps to pull people along that marketing funnel in a way that is really full of value and in a way where the content itself can be talked about a lot in a lot of different ways, which leads us to supporting content.

Exactly. Supporting content is a few different things too. It could be repurposed content based on that core content. You're taking sort of salient points from within that sales page or whatever it is, and just repurposing it so that people can get a little bite-sized nugget of information.
Then for more information, can then go to the core piece of content, which brings me to the second thing that a supporting piece of content could be, content that drives people to the core content, whether it's repurposed or not.
It's something that can help prepare them, give them the knowledge. Maybe they need just one base definition, or maybe they just need a little bit more information about a success story, or who you are, or whatever it is before they're actually going to go take the time to engage with that core piece of content because again, it does tend to be a bit more robust, although it doesn't have to be 17 miles long.
Something that just gets them there. It piques their curiosity, whatever it is. It kind of could leverage a hook or something like that to just get someone to take that leap. Then finally, it's something that does build on that know, like, and trust factor.
Especially if you're in the early part of those phases, if you're in the very attract phase, this is your first time ever hanging out with this person, never seen your content before. They don't really know anything about you. They're like, "I don't know who this person is. I don't know if I can trust them." You're supporting content can help build up that trust.

Yeah, absolutely. From a sort of bird's eye view, this is really helpful when you're creating a content plan. If you feel like either you're burning out on content creation, you constantly feel like, "Oh, I got to create a new thing. I got to create a new thing," and you're running out of ideas. On the flip side, maybe you have a lot of ideas and you don't know where to focus them. By looking at it in terms of supporting and core content, it allows you to take a step back and say, "Okay, what are my goals as a brand? Is my main goal right now to get people to buy something or is my main goal right now to build brand awareness and attract more people to my brand?"
Then once you know your goal, you can say, "Okay, well, what main primary piece of content will support that, achieving that goal? Then what supporting content can help get people to consume the main piece of content?" What we always recommend is try not to focus on too many things at once.
This helps you narrow it down a little bit. You don't necessarily want to be putting out 10 new super robust pieces of content in a week because your audience may not have the time or the energy to consume it. Every piece of content that you put out that's super robust and value packed, there are a lot of things you can talk about buried within that content. There are tons of other pieces of content. We talked in a previous episode about content re-purposing. Where you want to make sure you're getting as much mileage as possible out of that core content.

Yeah, I think the other thing about this framework that is helpful, is a lot of times business owners will think, "Oh my gosh, I have like five funnels. I'm very overwhelmed by them." In actuality, you might not. You might actually have to kind of work backwards. What is the goal? Okay, maybe you're selling a coaching package and that's the big thing that you want people to do and they have an opportunity to re-up with you. Okay there's you're delivering retain, that's where you want people to get to eventually.
Convert, you may have some pitches within your funnel in various ways, but it's probably usually on the attract and nurture end of things, where if that's sort of the arm, these are the fingers and there might be several different opt-ins, several different sequences, several different ways to get to know you. You've got your Instagram, you've got all these different places where people can be attracted to you and be nurtured on the front end.
If you think of it as supporting content for that core piece of content, which is maybe that convert piece of content, it can kind of streamline things and also help you see where maybe you don't need some of that stuff. Maybe where some of it's maybe repetitive.

Yeah, absolutely. I think to sort of give a real life example of how this content can be really powerful. One of the ways in which Marie and I have used this strategy is we ran a workshop. This I think was a couple of years ago actually. We ran a workshop about creating a content strategy. It was about this topic core and supporting content.
We did the workshop live and it was the core content. It was a two hour workshop where we sat down with people. We talked about these concepts and we helped them create content. That in it of itself was really, really valuable and once we walked away and finished that workshop, we didn't want to just leave that content to fall into our recordings and never be seen again. We did a couple of things for supporting content.
On the front end, before the workshop, we had supporting content that was driving people to attend that workshop. We were talking about it on social media. We were talking about it to our email list. After the workshop, we took that video, that two hour training, and we broke it up into a followup video series. We broke it up into followup emails. Additional supporting content that could go out to people who didn't attend live, but who would be able to get snippets of valuable information from it and then be invited to go back and watch the recording. So that, that one piece of core content actually managed to serve us and serve our business for a full three to six months.
It was a really valuable piece of content and it also meant that after the training, we didn't have to sit down and go, "Oh man, what content do we create now? We already talked about core and supporting content. Now we can never talk about it again," which isn't true of course. We just needed to repurpose what we had already designed.

Yeah. It's I think something that's going to become a tagline of this, embrace being the broken record.


You're going to say it a little differently every time. That means it's going to reach someone a different way each time. Also let's be real, none of us are that important and nobody's hanging onto our every single word. It may be the first time somebody's heard me say this. Even though it's the 400th time you've said it.

Yeah, absolutely. A couple of quick caveats on this. Obviously not every single brand is going to use this exact process. This is really, really helpful for those brands who first of all, really want and feel the need to narrow their focus. They feel scattered all over the place, their content isn't showing the results that they really want to see from it. Often that's because the content is trying to do too many things at once.
If that's an experience that you're having, where you feel like you're putting content out all the time, but it doesn't feel like it's doing anything for your brand, this is a really good strategy to think about. To think about the marketing funnel and then to think about how core and supporting content helps that marketing funnel actually exist and move and function.
It also is helpful for those of you who are really starting to build a content library and are wondering where to start? What to start talking about? This is where you can look at your content pillars, which we also talked about in a previous episode and figure out, okay, can I create maybe a piece of core content around each content pillar and then create some supporting content based on that.

Perfect. You know that we will leave you with homework. Here we go. Okay, we want you to consider one piece of content, a piece of core content, that you can create to get closer to your goal. Then once you have that in mind, think about what's the supporting content that you could create to drive people to that core piece of content.
Of course, one of our favorite ideas is starting with the end in mind, start with the goal in mind. Work backwards from there. See, if I could just move someone one step along that funnel process, attract, nurture, convert, deliver, retain, which step do I want to work on?
Maybe I want to go for that low-hanging fruit from deliver to retain. This is somebody who's already invested in me and I think that if I can just get them to re-up that, that's going to be a lot easier because we already have a great rapport and they already have a lot of trust in me. Maybe that's where I'm going to focus.
So I'm going to create a piece of content around that. For them, honestly, it may just be a quick email. When we say core piece of content, we're not necessarily talking about a 3000 word blog post. We're just here to talk about what is the piece of content that's going to help someone move a little bit further on their journey?

Yep, absolutely. This is also a really good chance for you to see where you might have a hole in your marketing funnel. Where maybe you have attract content. You're always posting on social media, and people are engaged, and it's going well. Maybe you have convert content. You have something to sell people into, but you're not actually spending a lot of time nurturing them. It might be a good opportunity for you to say, "Oh, okay, I'm missing that piece of the funnel. What core content can I create to fill that gap?"

Exactly. Okay, so happy homeworking, happy content creating. We hope that this model is useful for you.
Thanks for joining us for this episode of the Brand Your Voice Podcast. Make sure to visit our website northstarmessaging.com. Where you can subscribe to the show on iTunes, Spotify, and more.

If you've found value in this episode, we'd love for you to leave us a review on iTunes and share it with your friends. Thank you and happy content creating.

For additional content strategy and branding tips, check out northstarmessaging.com/blog. Also, please tag us on Instagram and let us know you’re out there! @northstarmessaging 

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