Content Ladders: How To Build Them Into Your Social Media Channels

  • March 22, 2024
  • Jennifer Hatton
  • 5 min read

What is a Content Ladder?

A content ladder is our way of thinking about building expertise around a topic or content theme.  We use them formally and informally with a lot of our clients to take advantage of the repetitive nature of social media and to increase the shelf life of certain types of content. It’s taking that topic and repeatedly sharing around that topic on all your channels. 

If this seems kind of vague, stick with us and we’ll give you an example.

The Elements of a Content Ladder

The content on your channels includes three layers or rungs.  You probably have all these in your current content strategy, but think about these against your own system to see where you land. Content Ladders have three layers.

The Base Layer

This includes evergreen content, mission and purpose messages, employees, brand identification and are rarely time sensitive.  They can be moved around to meet the needs of the other two layers. This layer usually answers the questions of WHO WE ARE as a brand or organization.  

Two Examples of Base Layer Content:

  • Travel: Our Destination is the place for family fun, entertainment and connection. Create your itinerary here: <LINK>
  • Non-Profit: At <NonProfit>, our roots run deep in our commitment to creating positive change. Our mission to [mission summary here] drives everything we do.

The Campaign Layer

The campaign layer is more timely.  It includes events and celebrations, news about the organization, your media clips.  They are generally things that are important and timely but may reflect the longer story of your organization, like a capital campaign or fundraising. This layer usually answers the question of WHAT WE DO as a brand or organization.

Two Examples of Campaign Layer Content:

  • Travel: Ready for Spring Break? Come visit <Destination> for a fun packed weekend.
  • Non-Profit: Donate to our <Non Profit> annual fundraising campaign to continue to further our mission. 

The Live Layer

The live layer features interruptions to regular programming and while they may not all be traditionally live**, they are the concentrated effort to make your audience STOP SCROLLING AND LOOK! They are moments to try and own a celebration, event or harness a news event or campaign.

  • Live can mean same day, same hour or in near “real” time.
  • Live can also be defined as appearing spontaneous or harnessing a trend.
  • We have clients who require extra levels of screening for appropriateness before going live, so we have built a process into our practice for quick turnarounds.

Two Examples of Live Layer Content:

  • Travel: We are here at <Destination’s> Summer Fun Fest. Check out the music and food by following our stories throughout the weekend. 
  • Non-Profit: Today is a volunteer day! Join us as we get involved in the community and find out how you can participate in our next event. 

How Do I Build a Content Ladder?

Before we go into an example of how we built a content ladder, it’s important to note that these are not quick fixes for you if you don’t already have a robust content strategy. This is a way of thinking over time about types of conversations you want to “own” on your channels. Content ladders take time to build, so the example we’ll give next took us more than 6 months to fill out.

Content Ladder Example

Here is an example of how we built a content ladder for Step In Communication, based around our experience in working with influencers and the questions we get about our process for doing that.

The Elements of Our Content Ladder on Working with Influencers

  • Here is a recent post we wrote on working with influencers. See the post.  
  • Then we posted in social media channels to promote the post.
  • We will update the post later this year, giving us additional opportunities to promote.  
  • We used the post in an email newsletter for our clients.
  • The post has been shared with clients to help them understand our process.

Some other things you could do to expand the content ladder further:

  • Create a “How To” checklist on the topic
  • Create quote graphics or testimonials from the blog post
  • Create a lead magnet for building your list or marketing other services  
  • Or add to course materials, seminar or workshop curriculum

How to Get Started Building a Content Ladder for YOUR Business

Don’t be intimidated by the number of items on the list above.  Each item can be used on its own or as part of a longer timeline. We started with our key blog post and we will add to it and promote for months.

We’d love to hear your questions about building content ladders or an example of a content ladder you’re starting for your business. Tell us about it!

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