By Joe Pulizzi published February 4, 2011

The Angry Birds Formula to Content Marketing

Yes, Angry Birds has hit the Pulizzi household.  We love all the birds…red ones, yellow ones and even the blue ones that split into three birds.

As you move through the game levels, the key is to understand that each bird has a particular role.  For example, the light blue one that splits into three birds is perfect for breaking glass.  The yellow one?  It takes out wood.  The bloated red one tears through just about anything.

Angry Birds Content Marketing

What does this have to do with content marketing? Everything.

Besides Angry Birds being one awesome example of content marketing as a business, the birds can tell us a lot about online content.

One Content Tactic Is Not Enough

I had a few email/twitter conversations with some of the attendee’s from yesterday’s Blogging Success Summit presentation about expanding outside the blog. Most of the bloggers made it to a certain point in their online strategy and plateaued, never moving beyond the blog post.

You see, for online content marketing to work, it’s hard to succeed with just one type of content. You could be throwing up red birds every day for months, but what you really need to do is mix in some yellow and blue birds.

Let’s be more concrete by using blogging as an example.

A consistent blog is a great first step to content marketing.  Solid blogs can be the centerpiece of an entire content strategy. But to truly be effective, blogs aren’t enough.

I like to use Russell Sparkman’s publishing calendar as a good example of how to mix and match content types.

  • 1 = Daily = Blogs/Tweets work (red bird)
  • 7 = Weekly = eNewsletter is a strong possibility (blue bird)
  • 30 = Monthly = Podcasts or videos? (yellow bird)
  • 4 = Quarterly = White Paper or eBook (white bird)
  • 2 = Bi-Annually = Webinar or In-Person Event (black bird)
  • 1 = Annually = Industry Research Project (over-sized red bird)

Of course, this is just an example of how you can mix and match content.  Each tactic/channel serves a different goal.  eNewsletters are great for continuous opt-in engagement. eBooks are excellent for social media sharing.  White papers are best for lead generation. The point is, one tactic (bird) alone usually can’t cut through the clutter and solve all your content marketing challenges.

So the next time you develop your editorial calendar, scope it out with multiple tactics in mind to solve multiple goals.

Jonathan Kranz and I put together this Content Marketing Playbook for just this reason to help you decide which tactic makes the most sense.  Use it wisely.

Author: Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi considers himself the poster boy for content marketing. Founder of the Content Marketing Institute, Joe evangelizes content marketing around the world through keynotes, articles, tweets and his books, Managing Content Marketing and Get Content Get Customers. Joe's latest book is Epic Content Marketing (McGraw-Hill). If you want to get on his good side, send him something orange. For more on Joe, check out his personal site or follow him on Twitter @JoePulizzi.

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  • Tracy

    Great points Joe! I took a pass at connecting social media marketing and angry birds a while back here on Social Media Today. Hubspot’s also got a post about online content and angry birds. Love reading all these different metaphors about angry birds and marketing, as each writer has had something new to bring to the table.

    Good luck ripping yourself away from Angry Birds to get work done! It’s a struggle.

    • Joe Pulizzi

      I know Tracy…it’s an addicting game. Marketers can learn a lot from those pesky birds.

  • Sarah Skerik

    Good post, Joe. I was making similar points in my post today about the importance of communicating relevant content to your audience. Continued hurling of the Red Bird isn’t just ineffective. Ultimately, I think it’s flat out disrespectful of and insulting to the audience – and they’ll pick up on that.

  • Derek Cromwell

    Hi Joe,

    Great post, I love the comparison here and I’m a huge supporter of the content/editorial calendar to lay out different types of content to develop and refine the content strategy.

    I’m a big fan of eBooks as well as articles (either outside distribution or within an internal article/resource directory) to help build thought leadership.

    One of the things I bring up frequently to my clients is that the blog – while a robust platform for engaging our audience – doesn’t give you the full reach. Many times I encounter business execs and marketers that have adopted a “this or that” mentality toward content, specifically where they believe they have a blog so they don’t need or vice versa.

    I always emphasize that one form of content is never really a replacement for another but instead having a broad range of content across different mediums provides the most “social oomph” in terms of credibility, thought leadership, lead generation, conversion candy and overall branding.

  • Sara Broderick

    Joe, great post!

    It is extremely crucial to provide content across a variety of mediums and channels.

    I agree with Derek that one good way to plan for this, and stay on strategy, is to outline all content on an editorial calendar. This allows you to indicate what medium you will use, as well as how that content will be distributed, whether it is through e-mail, your website or blog, or through social media.

    Another good practice, as you mention above, is to always consider the most appropriate medium and channel for the type of content you are producing and the goal you have in mind. Does it make sense to put those top 10 tips you want to share in a blog post or a podcast? Should you take photos at an event or film video?

    • Joe Pulizzi

      Great points Sara. I think creating an editorial calendar with a mixture of media based on what resonates with your customers is the way to go. You are right on.

  • Stacey Acevero

    Neat post Joe–I love the analogy to Angry Birds. Do you agree with the “content is king” mantra? Or one of its many variations?
    Just dropping a line to say I admire your writing and looking forward to reading more of your blogs!
    Warm regards,
    –Stacey Acevero
    Social Media Manager @PRWeb

  • MayinAusten

    The blue angry blue bird , scattershot bird is your second bird that is slightly smaller
    than it’s red brother. Tapping the screen whilst this bird is en route
    splits it into three allowing you to attack different areas of the setup.