Content marketing has become one of the most powerful forms of digital marketing today. A well thought out content marketing strategy is a crucial element of the modern marketing campaign.
However, before you embark on writing, filming, recording your content, you need to consider several things – target audience, relevant platforms, and what type of content will be most effective.
When it comes to the type of content, most content marketing practitioners intuitively think that the choices are blog posts, newsletters, videos, infographics, podcasts, etc. However, the often overlooked, yet incredibly vital and high-level, angle to consider is this – should your content be deep, wide, or both?
What is the difference between wide and deep content marketing?
Wide content marketing typically covers a broad topic on a surface/entry level (or explores several related topics), aiming to appeal to a very wide audience. It is usually designed to be both entertaining and informative, with memorable anecdotes and fascinating facts sprinkled throughout it.
Deep content marketing typically focuses on a narrow topic, digging into the nitty-gritty details of a specific subject (or multiple very closely related subjects), aiming to appeal to a very niche audience. It is usually long, well-detailed, thoroughly researched, and backed by plenty of hard data.
For example, say the topic is about choosing a new CRM for a Sales team to use. A piece of wide content about this topic could be a 10-chapter eBook about the top ten CRM systems available for B2B sales professionals, with a moderate amount of information on each. This content would apply to just about anyone who is trying to choose the best possible CRM for their sales team to use.
On the other hand, a piece of deep content might be a report based on interviewing 83 mid-sized Australian firms in the B2B tech sector, with statistics on which CRM systems they use and for which capabilities. This would only apply to people in a certain geography and industry, with a business of a certain level of scale – and would add a lot more value to them than a more generic ‘wide’ piece of content.
Wide content is usually in the form of eBooks, quizzes, assessments, infographics, listicles, and series of short videos, while deep content is usually in the form of white papers, research reports, documentary videos, podcasts, and other long written content which focuses on one topic in detail.
Why businesses, brands, and content marketers need both wide and deep content for successful content marketing
Both wide and deep content marketing offer their own set of unique advantages. Below we explore the top three benefits that each one of the two presents to any content marketing campaign.
Benefits of Wide Content
1. It is very easy to create and consume
When it comes to wide content, the available topic choices in any niche/industry are more or else unlimited. Also, since the topics are typically broad in nature, and the angles are usually simple (top tips, quick facts, light summaries, etc.), wide content typically requires less research and effort.
Furthermore, wide content is highly consumable since it is not meant to engage the audience’s deep thinking processes. It is designed to be as snackable, memorable, and enjoyable as possible.
2. It appeals to a very large audience
Wide content reaches and reels in a very large net audience with various interests and objectives. The naturally generic nature (and hence, low barrier to consumption) of wide content removes most limitations that a business, brand, or content marketer may face in funneling their audience.
This is why it is perfect for targeting high funnel customers who are usually curious about the basics. They are often just starting to explore your industry, so they just need a broad understanding of it.
3. It is great for branding
Wide content makes a huge impact when it comes to branding. Although not every content consumer will necessarily be interested in what your business has to offer, wide content is a very powerful way to build brand visibility/awareness and share your brand’s story, beliefs, and values.
Furthermore, because wide content is usually entertaining, it is perfect for expressing your brand’s personality through touching/funny anecdotes, games, quizzes, and other curated pieces of content.
Benefits of Deep Content
1. It builds authority and establishes thought leadership
Deep content is a great way to build trust and authority with your target audience because you get to share nitty-gritty details that people did not know (or had never come across in such an organized way).
Deep content allows you to show that you are a reliable source of useful, well-detailed information, and this makes people more likely to believe (or at least consider) your opinion on that topic (and other related ones) – which is how you establish thought leadership in your niche.
Furthermore, when you create a well-detailed piece of content around a very specific topic, other websites are more likely to link to it when exploring said topic (and other related ones), turning it onto an authoritative content asset. Such organic link building is extremely powerful for improving your SEO.
2. It attracts and converts high-quality targeted traffic
Building on the SEO angle from the previous point, it’s also worth noting that the extremely topic-specific nature of deep content marketing naturally makes you use, and optimize for, long-tail keywords. The advantage this offers is that it’s easier to land on the front page of organic search engine results for long-tail keywords because the intended audience is narrow.
Such targeted traffic translates into higher conversion rates because the people that type long-tail keywords into search engines are usually actively seeking out exactly what you have to offer and are ready to spend on it. This is why deep content should always have a very specific call-to-action weaved into it.
Deep content is particularly useful for targeting influencers (people with specialized knowledge of a specific subject and a trusting, loyal following behind them). They crave fresh industry insights, product reviews, research reports, and analytical pieces such as whitepapers to keep their followings informed.
3. There is far less competition to deal with
On top of being extremely topic-specific, deep content marketing also puts a heavy research/effort requirement on the content creator. This means that a piece of deep content is more likely to be the only one of its kind, increasing your chances of visibility due to the decreased competition.
This is why sites that focus on deep content tend to enjoy more audience loyalty than those that focus on wide content. The audience usually does not have many competitors to turn to for that crucial info.
Key questions to consider about wide and deep content marketing
There are five key questions to consider when choosing between wide and deep content marketing:
- Who is your target audience?
- What is your conversion goal?
- What is the best content format for this goal?
- What type of topic will bring eyes to your call-to-action?
- How much competition are you facing (or willing to face)?
Most businesses use a healthy mix of wide and deep content, perfectly customized for their unique circumstances. For example, if you’re in a relatively new niche, or are the only one doing content marketing in a long-existing niche, wide content can work just fine. However, if you’re in an established niche where content marketing competition is abundant, deep content is what you should focus on.
All in all, if you’re just starting a content marketing campaign, it is generally recommended to start with deep content so that you can build a core, loyal audience with little competition. Once you find your footing, you can create more wide content to reach a wider, general audience and take on the big dogs.