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According to the gurus at “The Category Pirates“, there are two types of content: Obvious and Non-Obvious. Each type of content is consumed in different states of mind, which we call “reflexive” and “reflective.”

Reflexive readers want Obvious, immediately understandable information. This is the kind of stuff you read when you’re on your phone at the bus stop or scrolling through your Facebook feed during lunchtime in the park. You’re not really trying to learn anything new – you just want to be entertained.

Reflective readers want Non-Obvious material. This is the kind of stuff you read when you’re at home relaxing with a cup of tea in the weekend, or at work in research mode. You’re looking for information that challenges your existing mental models or expands your worldview by introducing new ideas or perspectives.

If you try feeding Non-Obvious content (that requires reflection and a challenging of one’s own mental models) to someone in an Obvious (reflexive) state, you will fail to get their attention.

Likewise if you share Obvious ideas to someone in a more reflective, intellectually aroused state, they will quickly get bored and switch off.

The key to content success is… understanding the state of mind of your prospects so that you can create the right mix of Obvious / Non Obvious content to capture their imagination.

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