Layers of Content
Writing on a blog is only one piece of the puzzle in creating content for people to consume. There are other publishing platforms available that can add more value to your blog/website that are not used in this way. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, etc. are all other places to publish original content that is not found on your main blog. By doing this, you are creating layers of content for people to take in.
Having layers of content available to your readers is important if you want to develop a deeper relationship with your audience. The more people invest time into consuming a work of content (a movie, a book, a long article), a journey (a vacation, long hike, running a marathon), or creating (a novel, sculpture, designing their own website), the greater the sense of accomplishment is at the end. After people have climbed the mountain and reached that peak, so to speak, they will share that experience with others and want to share what they experienced with the people who provided the content in the first place. People consider their investment of time as something special because they are unlikely to invest that time again. For example, we will tell stories about our travels through a foreign country and not a trip to a mall, because we invested more time and money into that trip.
By having multiple layers of content available, you are taking your reader on a journey, and each stop will make them want to continue further. With each stop, their respect for you will only grow further, as well, and you will become a teacher instead of a writer to them. How long that journey lasts is determined by the amount of regular, interesting content you offer.
The Primary and Secondary Layer
The Primary Layer is normally your main website or blog. There are many posts or blogs dedicated to writing good content for this layer, so I will not regurgitate that information here. The Secondary Layer is a compliment to the Primary Layer that does not need much more effort on your part or the reader. You want to build upon the engagement you have created already through your Primary Layer without overwhelming your main audience. The easiest way to do this is through Twitter or Facebook.
Currently, most people use Twitter and Facebook to duplicate the content they offer on their blog or have links to their blog. Most people will follow your site through a RSS feed, so this Secondary Layer needs to offer a little more reason to exist. You could use Twitter/Facebook to publish a thought for the day, a link to another blog post that adds to a recent post, or even pull an archived blog post that is still relevant. The key is to not to over-do it. It is a light brush stroke over your canvas that people should see quickly and respond to. The aim is to keep them interested in the content you give.
The Third or Shared Layer
While Twitter and Facebook are used to share content from other sources, it can quickly become bogged down with everyone else’s content and not yours. If people want to learn more about what interests you have and how you spend your time online, there needs to be an added commitment to follow a Third or Shared Layer. With this Layer, I would share links of other bloggers I follow regularly, quotes, pictures that I have taken or others, or products (books, movies, tools, technology) you enjoy using. This Layer is not meant to add more value to your Primary Layer, but to provide the reader with some context on what drives your thought processes. It devolops a deeper connection to you. This is done through sites like Digg, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, or another blog.
The Fourth or Summit Layer
The Secondary Layer adds a little more value to your Primary Layer, and the Third Layer creates some context. The Fourth or Summit Layer ties everything together by connecting the dots. The content in this Layer can be more personal since people will already have a sound understanding of your thoughts and how you developed them. The commitment for people on this Layer will be more than the other ones, and it will also need a larger commitment by you, as well.
The content within the Primary Layer can easily be skimmed through or discovered by chance. You are trying to capture your audience’s attention and compete with the rest of the blogs out there. With the Fourth Layer, you already have their attention, because they committed more energy to your blog. They are seeking the WOW factor. They have climbed the mountain and want to be enlightened by you personally.
The main way to do this is through an email subscription with original content, but you could also develop your own forum on your site. Some examples of bloggers who do this are Ramit Sethi (who wrote a 4,000+ word email to his followers), Steve Pavlina (regularly provides content not available on his website, including advance offers on products or services), or Mark Sisson (sends out newsletters with personal messages to inspire people through the day/week).
Reaching the Summit
Getting your readers to follow you on this progression will take time, but will be worth it in the end for everyone. Start by creating some original content for Twitter or Facebook using a tool like SocialOomph to schedule the posts, and take it from there. Do not become like most bloggers who merely announce new blog posts or send spam emails with short write-ups about their latest affiliates they wish to promote. By creating the varying layers of content, you will set yourself apart from those writers and become something much grander.
How many layers of content do you create for your readers?