Use levels of substance

Way back in the early days of the web, my alma mater launched a site called Knowledge@Wharton. Their approach was brilliant , and has resulted in a readership that today has grown to over 2 million professionals around the globe.

I’m going to paraphrase here what they did, which was to create four different levels of substance that readers could explore.

The first was a quick summary of a Wharton research finding or news item. This was a very quick read.

The second was a short article that added a bit of detail but still was an easy read.

Next came a detailed piece, perhaps an interview with a Wharton professor.

Finally, readers who were extremely interested could click through to read an actual research paper.

This is what I mean by “levels of substance.” Make it easy for people to dive deeper into the information you share, but also make it easy for them to get the basic idea in just a few seconds.

For example, I often do this by publishing an article on LinkedIn and embedding a 20-25 page SlideShare at the bottom of the article. Readers who found the article of special interest then have the option to open the SlideShare. I also tweet a few of the main points, to grab the attention of followers who are interested in today’s subject matter.