Thin-Slice to One Idea

Thin-slice your topics to a single idea.

In copywriting, we always start with the premise of One Idea. Too many ideas overwhelm and confuse the reader, who is likely to stop reading.  And you want your article or blog post to be read, right?

Another highly popular term for this concept is microlearning. Breaking a big, complex idea into easily digestible bits. And serving them up one at a time, not all in one document, article or blog post. I call this Thin-Slicing.

Like eating an elephant… one bite at a time. This is why social media is so popular – it’s full of tiny little bits of information that people can absorb quickly and easily.

For example, when I first tried topical CBD, it was based on a conversation with a friend.

“Every time we visit Oregon, I pick up CBD balm. It’s easy to get here and really helps arthritis in my hands.”

“Really? It doesn’t smell bad or have any side-effects?”  With cooler weather, I too had been experiencing pain in finger joints.  

When at work, I recalled a dispensary had opened about two doors down. So I walked over and got a small trial bottle.  It worked, the discomfort disappeared almost immediately.  I was hooked and wanted to know more about CBD.

Start with Google Searches 

When I started doing Google searches, the amount of information was incredible.  But the way it was presented was daunting.  Very technical. Very scientific.  Page after page. 

It was more than I really wanted to know or was ready for. I remember thinking…I wish this was more user/reader-friendly.

First encounters with understanding what CBD is and does is like being presented with that elephant. There is no way to stuff the whole elephant into your mouth, or CBD science into your head. It needs to be broken into bite-size pieces.

As an educator, I developed a reputation for being able to share complex information in a readily understandable way.  I find in my marketing, it works equally effectively. 

Usually, I do a brain dump, to just get out all my thoughts on a subject. Then I go back in and look for ways to make it easy to read and understand. Simple and not too long. 

Most people don’t realize teachers use microlearning daily. You don’t start a child off trying to read War and Peace. Mastering reading requires easy building block increments. Microlearning. Small steps.

Whether it’s learning to play golf, flying an airplane, or sharing information with your target customer…it needs to be achieved in microlearning bites.

To get your marketing message across, it needs to be in easily consumed pieces of information. This builds trust in you and your business as the reader learns, bonds, and gains value. You become their authority, and show your authenticity.

You may want all the details in one lump. Your customer wants Easy.  

Break it down.  

How to Get to Thin Slices

I recommend starting with brainstorming. Then evaluating surveys and demographics. Finally, look for ways to employ further breakdown to make it very client targeted.  While I use CBD as an example in this article, the techniques can be applied to any product or service.

First – Brainstorming.

Start with the idea. When you try to outline it, how many subheadings do you find in your ways/how/techniques?  What are the important issues or concerns that you discovered in forums?

The most effective marketing articles are focused on ONE idea. Each subheading is an idea that allows you to share its specific benefits or concept.  

You may have seen a list-based article like “10 Ways to XYZ.”  That is an overview article. Each of the 10 ways probably has enough information to be a stand-alone article. 

According to surveys, people who buy and use some form of CBD find it helps common problems of stress, pain, and sleep.  

You could start with an overview article on how people are benefiting from CBD that may list topics like I have here.  Then start thin-slicing.  

  • Overview of CBD benefits
  • CBD safety
  • CBD for stress/anxiety
  • CBD for sleeplessness
  • CBD for joint pain
  • CBD for exercise recovery
  • CBD potential for PTSD
  • CBD potential for concussions
  • CBD for nausea caused by chemotherapy
  • Customer CBD success story
  • Tips and tricks for topical use
  • Tips and tricks for helping your pet
  • Tips and tricks for tinctures

And the list goes on.

Second – Organize based on demographic usages

Look at survey demographics – is everyone using it the same way?  As we can see in the graphic below from Consumer Reports study. Millennials and Baby Boomers both use CBD. However, they use it for different reasons. 

Generation groups use CBD differently

Another study I found showed Millennials use CBD for general wellness and anxiety. Gen X and Baby Boomers use it for muscle and joint pain.  What about nerve pain or other forms of pain?

If your product works for different purposes or generational demographics, dividing marketing content by them just makes sense. 

If you have a diversity of products, you may want each category to have its own calendar.  It requires more work, but will greatly increase your sales.

Third – Further breakdown

Did you spot the thin-slice topic in the list of CBD topics that will require further breakdown?  

It’s this – you’ll need a separate article for each of your customer success stories.  

You can use a customer success story as its own article. Or, for each of the common CBD uses, you could add a customer success story.  And a short version of it could be the lead into your “how to use it” article. People love to read other people’s stories, and they are more likely to keep reading if you start with a short bit of social proof.

If you have a product that comes in multiple formulas…there are probably different uses or different customer segments tied into this separation. A good example is skincare products. Someone with oily, problem skin needs different formulas than someone with dry, maturing skin.  Use that as further breakdown and separate articles.

In CBD topicals a soothing balm has a different target client than a recovery balm.

Keep your eye on new research studies.  What useful information can you glean to share with viewers?

Use Thin Slicing to Create Authority and Authenticity

Thin-slicing, or microlearning, focuses on sharing small bits of easy to assimilate information. 

  • Start with brainstorming the idea and then thin-slice it – meaning, break it down into as many separate pieces as you can. 
  • Explore forums and surveys to determine what psychographics or demographics are at play with your target client. Incorporate these into your thin slices to further break them down. Like, How Millennials Use CBD for Pain, and How Baby-Boomers Use CBD for Pain, rather than a more general article on How to Use CBD for Pain.
  • Then evaluate and look for further ways to break the ideas into even smaller bite-sized pieces. The smaller and more specific you can be, the more your articles will be read, and the more you will create a sense of authority and authenticity for your business.

Once you have your idea boiled down, then you can create your article and put it to work. 

If you would like a quick evaluation of your thin-sliced list of ideas, contact me. I’m offering a free 15-minute evaluation.  judith@jculpcreativecopy.com