You’re ready to kick off a year of fantastic content marketing in 2017… only the thought of the sheer number of blog posts, ebooks, and whitepapers you’re planning to create is making your eyes cross. Personally, I’m a fan of letting my content work for me rather than the other way around, which is why I love this content marketing strategy:
Take a single blog post and leverage it to create multiple pieces of content.
It’s that simple. You were expecting some sort of sleight of hand or magic? Sorry to disappoint. But if you apply this strategy to your content, you’ll waste less brainpower trying to come up with new things to write about, and you’ll get really good at writing about the subjects you know well.
Start With What Your Audience Loves
If you’ve been creating content on your business blog for a while, you’ve got rich data at your fingertips in your blog’s analytics. With this information, you can discover which of your blog posts resonated with the most people. Which posts got the most views? Which ones did people share heavily on social media? These are excellent topics to use as a launchpad for other content.
Let’s say you do marketing for a university. Looking at your analytics, you see your most popular blog post in the past several years was one called “10 Things Incoming Freshmen Need to Know About Going to College.”
Knowing this is a popular piece of content gives you a few pieces of information:
- Many of your blog readers are incoming freshmen
- They’re looking for information on what to expect at college
Armed with this information, you can start planning out other pieces of content to help you with your marketing to this demographic.
Decide What Other Kinds of Content You Need
First of all, understand that content is designed for many purposes: to entertain, educate, persuade, and/or convert. Not every piece of content will do all four. But for this university example, let’s assume that you want to educate potential students, persuade them to check out your university, and ultimately convert them to apply to attend. It’s hard to do all of that in a single blog post. But that’s where having a diverse content marketing strategy comes in handy: by creating a variety of highly-targeted pieces of content, you can nudge your leads (in this case, potential students) down your pipeline toward closing the deal.
Always keep your marketing goal in mind when creating content. If you have an overarching strategy for all marketing efforts, any piece of new content should fall in line with your bigger-picture objectives.
There are a ton of different types of content you could create. Infographics, ebooks, whitepapers, videos, social media updates, podcasts, press releases…the list goes on and on. If you know your audience, you’ll know which types of content they’re most likely to respond to. Since we’re looking at an audience of 17-20 year-olds (and their parents), let’s say that videos and ebooks are the best way to reach them. We’ll focus on repurposing that initial blog post into two new pieces of content that will help you market to this audience.
Expand the Value
So in the blog post, you came up with 10 items that incoming freshmen should know. How can you expand that information? You could increase the number of “things” they need to know to 50. Or 1,000. Or you could create separate content for each item on the list.
Let’s say you create a video series where your uber-cool student spokesperson presents a hip and entertaining point of view on each of those 10 points. The first video might talk about the Freshmen 15, while the next gives the advice of not scheduling classes first thing on a Monday morning. Distributed through the appropriate channels (social media is big with this audience), you can reach potential freshmen where they’re spending time online.
Additionally, you could create an ebook that offers 100 things that freshmen need to know. In order to download it, visitors to your university’s site must give their email address. Once they do that, you’ve got them in your email marketing funnel and can send them appropriate emails to continue to educate them and persuade them of your university’s value.
You could offer teaser emails with some of the items on the list to get people to subscribe to the videos. Or share a weekly tip from an actual freshman (a great strategy because that freshman will be likely to share her five minutes of fame with her own network, essentially doing your marketing for you).
When repurposing content, the key is delivering new value across different channels. One potential student might follow your university on Snapchat and YouTube, as well as subscribe to your email list. If she sees the same content across channels, she’s not going to find value in connecting with your university online. On the other hand, if you customize the content for the channel, and provide a slightly different twist for each, she’ll seek you out on each channel to get maximum value.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
We started this process with a single blog post that we knew was successful. From there, we expanded on that initial idea to capitalize on the fact that we knew it was a topic that resonated with our audience. Now all you have to do is repeat this same process with other topics that your audience loves.
Pay attention to results. Your website analytics will continue to be your bellwether on how well your content marketing campaign is going. If at any point it derails from expected results, assess the reason. It could be that the particular type of content you created (an infographic, for example) didn’t resonate as well as others. Go back to the drawing board and try another type of content.
Rather than reinventing the wheel and trying to come up with brand new topics for your content marketing each quarter, you’re being smart by leveraging what’s already proven itself to be valuable to your audience. By being creative with how you tackle a single topic, you can create an entire marketing campaign… that started with one little ole blog post.