Espresso comes from forcing a small amount of hot water at high pressure through coffee beans. Use less or more water and you get different drinks: less gives you ristretto, an even stronger and more full-bodied version, while more gives you lungo – a less concentrated, bitter variant.
Content isn’t all that different. What’s in that cup our readers sip from depends on what we put into it. And so does how much it perks them up.
Let’s take a quick look at the brewing process and how content can be made to work better for us.
Ristretto comes from the Italian for ‘restricted’, referring to the smaller amount of water used in the brewing. That’s like the succinct, pithy content you put out to people who favor a quick yet enriching read – and the shorter it is, the richer it has to be.
It’s often not what you say but how you say it that really matters. Resist that urge to hop onto the wagon when some novel, buzz-worthy new trend or topic surfaces in the market. First comes alignment. Put your business’s unique selling points to work. Find (or create) points, where they intersect the theme, that will allow you to personalize any content crafted around it.
Then decide if it’s worth long, detailed coverage, or if organizational direction and content strategy would be better served by brevity. This isn’t to say that a six-digit word-count article or ebook is undesirable in a given case. It just serves a different purpose – a blog post of a few thousand carefully chosen words (or even a series of such) may hit harder and be more relevant.
When you ‘restrict’ content, bear in mind you only have so much room to capture your reader. Keep it tight, tie it back – where appropriate – to what you’ve done before, and (especially if you’re serializing it) don’t forget frequency and placement. Because everyone wants their coffee on time.
Lungo, basically a ‘stretched’ espresso, means simply ‘long’ in Italian. The thing about it is, by using more water, you bring out additional flavors and essences from the beans, which is where the lungo’s traditional bitterness comes from.
But just as bitter coffee isn’t for some folks, more content doesn’t resonate with all audiences.
The trouble with lengthy, sprawling content, like white papers and certain videos, is that, though meant for an audience that does have the patience and the interest to take it all in, there’s always a certain hazard of underutilizing or even going off track. Take extra care to keep such pieces relevant to readers.
Long pieces give you a bigger canvas to work with, letting you do more than just mount the soapbox. Use the additional space to bring in dialogue. Sometimes, showing your prospects things they’re interested in isn’t all; incorporating responses to past feedback creates active content that shows people you’re serious about addressing their concerns.
Another use for your lungo, with proper understanding of the target audience and its segments, might be a multi-tiered approach that anticipates concerns and interests at each stage of the buying cycle. Showing potential customers what to expect, as well as reminding existing ones of what they may have never considered before, is a sign that you not only know what lies ahead, but are there for them when they get there – and that can be a potent differentiator.
This ties into what we mentioned before about audiences being so saturated with advertising messaging that they subconsciously tune the stuff out. The same problem afflicts content marketing. Without resonance, and personalization, you’d only be adding to the mix that’s already out there instead of raising your business’s profile.
And of course, the espresso itself. The Italian for ‘express’ can translate to ‘expressly for you’, and that’s how your content should be. Expressly for your audience.
Good content, like good coffee, is meant to be kept at a certain level to taste best to different drinkers. Always consider how each piece fits into your overall puzzle. Unlike an actual barista, you won’t always know what the customer is ordering. So when you cater to different target segments, it pays to have a feel for how much water to use – for what you can do with that much.
That’s why brewing is both an art and a science. What else have you picked up on brewing the right cuppa of content? Share your methods below.