The Content Honeycomb is the framework we use here at Colony to ensure we hit the markers of quality content with everything we create. The framework was inspired by and modelled after information architect Peter Moville’s User Experience Honeycomb.
When it comes to creating content for your business, it’s easy to get lost in the possibilities. The Content Honeycomb aims to be the tool to bring discussions back to the core focus of creating quality content and what that encapsulates.
In creating the Content Honeycomb, we sat down and looked at various content success stories and evaluated the boxes they ticked.
The key characteristics we came up with are:
The Content Honeycomb works on the basis that to create quality content, it should possess at least three (if not all) of these key characteristics. It should be engaging, useful, actionable, accessible, consistent and trustworthy.
You can use the Content Honeycomb as a tool to generate ideas, assess which are worth pursuing and how you can further optimise content for success.
As you evaluate content ideas, ask yourself which boxes it ticks off. It may be engaging but is it also consistent with your brand? It’s useful but is it also accessible? If it’s trustworthy, can it also be actionable?
In this aspect, the framework is valuable in helping you be more specific about goals and define what’s missing from a content campaign.
Here we breakdown in further detail what these characteristics mean and how you can incorporate them into the content you create:
In the age of excess, it’s getting harder and harder for content to stand out. To capture your audience’s attention, engage them with fresh and unique content presented in new and exciting formats.
- Consider humour if it’s appropriate for your brand. More than what you say, people will remember how you made them feel. What’s better than a dose of laughter?
- Experiment with different formats. If you’ve only ever communicated with your audience in written content, try using gif, videos or even memes instead. Surprise them every now and then so they have a reason to keep coming back.
- Talk to them. Content doesn’t have to be one sided. Add a human touch by engaging in a conversation via polls, quizzes or chats. Instagram and Facebook have great in-built features that allow you to do this easily.
Your audience isn’t going to take time out of their day to engage with you if you aren’t providing them with anything of value. Attention spans are limited. Hold on to your audience’s attention by creating something that is either useful, informative or entertaining.
- Think about your audience’s pain points and how you could help them. Perhaps you own a restaurant and know that your customers struggle with finding parking close to your establishment. Create a social media post letting them know of the various parking spots and charges. Try getting a special rate for customers if that’s a possibility. Or collate a list of frequently asked questions and address them.
- Make use of shareable infographics to condense information into an easy to consume format. It will give your audience a snapshot of what your content is about and allow them to refer back to it.
- Respect your audience’s time and give them what they are looking for upfront. Be clear and concise in your writing, don’t try to pad out a video with an unnecessarily long introduction. Use headings, title screens and other tools to make content easy to scan and consume.
Many people consume content passively. It’s easy enough to mindlessly scroll through the mass amounts of content targeted at you. Turn that passiveness into engagement by encouraging action.
- Put out a call to action in the content you create. If it’s a YouTube video, encourage them to click on another one of your videos by including end screens. If it’s an article, ask them to comment with their thoughts. If it’s a social media post, ask them to share it. Often times, people need a prompt before they’ll do something.
- Give the audience actionable advice. For example, this article on the Content Honeycomb wouldn’t be much use if I didn’t elaborate and give you concrete and actionable ways for you to apply the framework to your own content.
- Make it easy to share content. Add social sharing buttons where you can or create custom links that make it easy to copy, retweet or repost.
You’ve produced a great content piece, uploaded it to your website but no one is engaging with it. Producing content is one thing but distributing it is another.
- Place your content front and centre on your website. If it’s not possible to get on the homepage, try using pop ups to let your audience know there’s new content to engage with. If you have a newsletter, make sure to include your content in the round up.
- Make your content work for you by distributing it on multiple platforms. If you’ve created something for Facebook, make sure you’re putting it on Instagram and YouTube too. The more platforms your audience can access your content, the better.
- Pay attention to page load times. As audiences move more towards mobile, tolerance for long page load times has decreased. In fact, 53% of mobile site visits leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load. Optimise your web page so you don’t lose your audience needlessly. Google has a great tool called PageSpeed Insights that will analyse your page, tell you how quickly your page is loading and if there are any improvements to be made.
You’ve probably spent a lot of time cultivating your brand story and values – don’t allow bad content to take away from that. Stay true and consistent to your brand in every content piece and build around your brand ethos.
- Your writing style is important as this forms a key component of your brand voice. Even without visual cues, audiences should be able to link content back to your brand when they read it. Whether it’s with humour or vocabulary, develop a brand tone and voice.
- Every brand should have a consistent visual style. Whether it’s colours, photography style, a mood or a feeling, all content you put out there should have your visual mark on it. This is where it’s important not to rely on stock imagery but to have your own suite of photographs you can pull from.
- There is no shortage of good causes to stand behind these days. While it is important to stand for something, decide what you want your brand to stand for and stick to it. Don’t jump on a bandwagon if it doesn’t align with your brand values or story. Audiences are smart and will see through the inauthenticity.
Your business probably has an area it specialises in. Take advantage of that and become a subject matter expert so audiences keep coming back to you as a trustworthy source of information.
- Use credible sources. If you’re linking to an article or quoting someone, make sure you’ve done the background research, assessed their credibility and verified their claims.
- If your business has a team of specialists, tap into that and get them to share their knowledge. Be sure to put their credentials front and centre so your audience knows they can trust them.
- Put out opinion pieces from thought leaders where appropriate. Stand out as an industry leader and detail what your business is doing to improve your industry or how you are advocating for your customer.
Elevate your content and drive more value by keeping the Content Honeycomb in mind while building your content strategy. The stronger your content, the better returns you will see from using it across paid, owned, and earned media.
I’ve included here a downloadable PDF of the Content Honeycomb framework. Share it with your team and bring it with you to brainstorming sessions as one of the tools to add structure and focus to your discussions.