Your potential customers have questions. They need help solving their problems. And your brand has the expertise that can help overcome their challenges. By using a brand-to-demand approach, you can build trust in your brand and develop a healthy pool of prospects by delivering thought-provoking and highly relevant content. However, successfully building the level of trust to turn followers into customers takes time and involves dozens of interactions with your content.
But the reality is you only have so many hours in a day — and you’ve only got so much budget to create and distribute content. Some brands focus on pumping out lots and lots of new content. However, they quickly find that it’s nearly impossible keep up that kind of pace while preserving quality. All too often, brands either give up on their efforts before seeing results or they wind up churning out low quality content that doesn’t resonate with their audience, and in fact, hurts their brand perception.
At studioID, we know we can deliver the most ROI and impact by taking a step back and using a strategic approach to content planning and distribution. The key lies in utilizing a technique called the “Big Rock” method.
Understanding the Big Rock Method for Content Execution and Distribution
Step One: Establish Your Topic and POV
First things first, you’ll want to uncover a major topic that resonates with your audience and that your brand has the authority to speak on – something that addresses a common problem your audience is up against. And you’ll want to work with your stakeholders to develop your brand’s distinct POV and approach to alleviating that problem.
Step Two: Create Your Big Rock
The next step involves creating a single all-encompassing piece of content on that topic, which we call the “big rock” asset. While brands often immediately think of a whitepaper as a big rock, any format that lends itself to a detailed exploration of the subject will work, including e-books, interactive landing pages, definitive guides, in-depth videos, and many more.
Step Three: Slice into Mid Rocks
Like any good piece of all-encompassing content, your “big rock” should naturally have a host of subtopics within it. After you complete your big rock, suss out the most impactful subtopics within it that can be broken into “mid-rocks” — infographics, SEO-optimized articles that go further in depth on each subtopic, videos, podcast episodes, and the like.
Step Four: Dice Into Microcontent
Lastly, you’ll want to then look through both your big rock and mid rocks to see what impactful pieces can be broken out into microcontent, which often boils down to video clips, graphics, data visualizations, and quotes for use in social media posts, client-facing presentations, emails, advertisements, and beyond.
At the end of this process, you’re left with a fully functioning system of content, wherein all roads lead to your big rock. This system gives you all the fuel you’ll need to blanket the landscape with your thought leadership across every distribution channel while delivering the highest ROI by saving you from wasting precious time and resources. The best part? Your new system of content is cohesive, reconfigurable, and reusable.
The Big Rock Method in Action
To get a better sense of how this approach works, let’s walk through a hypothetical on the more simplistic side of things to illustrate how we might put this strategy into action for a social media tool company:
Step One: Arrive at Your Big Idea.
After going through a number of exercises with key stakeholders, we’ve determined this brand should help their audience and get their brand value across by diving deep into a conversation around best practices for content creation on Twitter.
Step Two: Create a Big Rock Asset.
We decide an in-depth e-book will be the most effective format to convey this concept, and create one that goes through the steps of crafting the highest quality social media posts for Twitter. Sections of the e-book include: understanding your audience, understanding the nuances of Twitter as a platform, writing copy, creating a call to action, selecting/developing your imagery, and measurement/optimizing for success. Throughout the book, we include many examples of dos and don’ts and feature custom illustrations and data visualizations to convey concepts across core sections.
Step Three: Develop Mid Rock Content.
We then go through the e-book and come up with 5 blog post topics, 2 new infographics, and round up the company’s stakeholders to create a talking-head style video. We rely on SEO research to create optimized blog posts geared toward commonly searched terms that break down the larger concepts in the e-book, like “5 Keys to Selecting + Creating Hashtags,” “10 Reasons No One is Retweeting Your Tweets,” “This Year’s Top Graphic Design Trends for Twitter,” “The Nuances of Twitter, Explained,” “Understanding Twitter Analytics and Top Tips for Optimization,” and “5 Twitter CTAs to Test Out This Week.” The infographics are a two-part series – anatomy of a great tweet and anatomy of top-performing images on Twitter. The talking-head video is chaptered into logical sections.
Step Four: Develop Microcontent.
Lastly, we’d then go back through our big rock and mid rocks to shake out microcontent for social and beyond. We clip the “Best Times to Post on Twitter” chart from the big rock and turn it into a dedicated graphic; we turn a few quotes and stats from the blog articles into standalone graphics; we cut the talking head video at its chapters to create a suite of standalone clips; we take a few of the custom illustrations from the big rock and repurpose them into ad creatives. We ensure a CTA card encouraging users to download the big rock is placed across all other relevant blog articles and at the end of our video clips.
✅ [Related Resource: studioID’s Checklist for Distributing Big Rock Content]
A Closer Look at the Benefits of the “Big Rock” Strategy
Brands that use the “Big Rock” strategy see many benefits to using this approach, such as:
- Extends the reach of your assets – Because this process requires you to focus on creating an all-encompassing big rock, the asset is likely to be substantial, highly informative, and of the highest quality. You can reach more potential customers with less money and resources by using this strategy, giving you the best ROI.
- Provides consistent messaging in copy and design – With assets on many different topics, readers may become confused about your brand’s point of view and area of expertise. By going deep on a single topic, you effectively create a manuscript (in terms of both copy and design) to pull all of your other assets from, allowing you to deliver a cohesive experience that furthers your expertise and builds trust on the topic.
- More efficiently drive traffic to your “big rock” asset – You can weave CTAs throughout your mid rocks and microcontent to visit your big rock. Because you’re focusing your efforts on promoting a single concept/asset via a number of other assets, you’re more likely to gain more leads from the gated asset. The mid rocks and microcontent also give you meaningful ways to more discretely promote the big rock instead of exhausting your audience by repeatedly creating social media posts promoting the big rock.
- Simplifies distribution – By using this strategy, you create a wealth of fuel to feed all of your distribution channels. By sparing yourself from having to think of unique ways to deliver and promote a ton of totally unrelated assets, you can focus your energy on the actual mechanics of distribution (targeting, testing copy/graphic variants, etc.).
- Allows content to be created in less time, with less resources – After creating the big rock asset, your copywriter and graphic designer already have the core content design. They can then much more quickly create blog posts, infographics, and all your microcontent because the they effectively have a completed template to pull from. Many brands find this approach a great way to stretch limited resources and marketing budgets.
Creating content requires a balance of speed and volume. But you want to make sure that you are creating the content that your audience needs. By using the big rock method, we’ve successfully helped companies establish themselves as thought leaders and make the most of their investment by creating and delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time in a short timespan.