Thinking Right (and Left) about Content Marketing

I write about strategies to turn fans into customers and customers into fans. I also share ways to use real-time strategies to spread ideas, influence minds, and build business.

Thought Leadership  |  Best Practices

Right brain left brainAs I evaluate Web marketing such as blogs and websites, one thing I look for is evidence of both left-brain and right-brain thinking in the creation of the content. This obsession might seem trivial, but I guess my right-brain outlook on life causes me to take a holistic view of content.

The right-/left-brain concept is widely credited to have developed from the thinking of American psychobiologist Roger Sperry in the late 1960s. Sperry's Nobel Prize-winning work opened whole fields of psychological and philosophical debate including the idea that there are two different sides of the brain, each controlling a "mode" of thinking.

What kind of thinker is your buyer?

Left-brain thinkers focus on the logical, rational, sequential, and analytical while right-brainers prefer more random, holistic, and free-associated approaches.

Psychologists say that left-brainers focus on words and numbers while right-brain people focus on visual images and patterns.

In our world of creating content for marketing purposes, one might say that left-brain people make logical deductions from information while right-brain thinkers prefer to make lateral associations from information.

What right brain / left brain means for content marketing

The best websites, blogs, and social pages (Facebook and G+ for example) include a combination of text content, images, video and charts. Your goal is to create a mix so that people who are visual have an infographic or photo and those who are analytical might have text and numerical charts.

But there are two problems.

1) Most ad agencies and design agencies are populated with people who are great at creating visual content but less good at writing and other left-brain content creation. This means that while sites offer visual cues and easy-to-access lateral information few deliver words and numbers in logical ways.

2) At the same time, left-brainers dominate the top ranks of many companies. Often the top marketing person is a left-brained MBA-type. Need proof? Just count the times "MBA required" is listed on the job description of marketing people at companies. How many liberal arts graduates do you see? Some, but they are greatly outnumbered.

One organization that does an excellent job delivering content for all types of people is Amazon. There are multiple ways to find content including search, by topic, and through "best of" lists. There are videos and images and graphics.

As marketers we need to include both right-brain and left-brain people in our content creation efforts.

Finally, a note to HR executives and headhunters: Please remove the""MBA required" label from marketing jobs—you'll have a better candidate pool if you don't exclude right-brain individuals.

Image: Shutterstock / Carla Castagno