To establish your brand as a content marketing thought leader, you need to develop an ongoing stream of high-quality materials to engage your audience at every stage of the sales funnel, from new prospects, to qualified leads, to existing customers you don’t want to lose.
Nearly half of buyers consume three to five pieces of content before getting in touch with a sales representative, according to the 2016 Content Preferences Survey from Demand Gen Report, a publication of record for business-to-business (B2B) marketing professionals. The finding emphasizes why content marketing is not a one-and-done proposition.
However, despite the benefits of creating content, businesses struggle to commit to a regular editorial calendar. Why? Because it’s really hard to do.
The need for high quality insights and research creates a conundrum for marketers who want to do great work but simply don’t have the subject matter knowledge to create content that will elevate their brand.
But what if you could generate a dozen pieces of compelling, expert-driven content from one central source? Better yet, you probably already have access to your content motherlode. All you need to do is start mining.
This article outlines six steps for repurposing a single source into a full funnel stream of high quality content.
1. Identify the Content Your Company Produces
Determine the information and content that's accessible to your company. Though you may not be aware of it, your organization likely already has a significant amount of content in its repertoire.
Has your CEO recently given a highly praised keynote speech? Has your IT director participated in an in-depth panel discussion? Did your sales VP moderate a webinar about how to use your software?
Don’t let this important knowledge get lost. This kind of valuable content, which comes straight from your organization’s thought leaders, should be recorded as it happens and then immediately transcribed for future reference.
You may find that a single speech or panel provides a full narrative, or you may need to dig into several sources, such as a speech, a presentation, or a report from your company’s annual board meeting. Of course, these assets aren’t ready for prime time yet, but with a little tweaking, they will be.
2. Segment Content Topics For Different Audience Personas
Once you identify high-value resources that can be used to create content, it’s time to break them down into multiple components.
Think about segmenting the messaging to identify which parts appeal to different types of users.
Review your videos and transcripts to determine the most compelling messages. Then, begin building out a content plan around them.
Let's say, for instance, that you’re a software-as-a-service (SaaS) company with a marketing automation solution. Your chief marketing officer recently gave an in-depth presentation, complete with case studies. The presentation showcases how to set up a multi-stage email drip campaign and touches on the most effective ways to follow up with non-responders. This rich information could be filtered into a content series for prospects at every stage of the funnel, including an ebook, blog, video, and a series of social posts.
How One Presentation Becomes 5 Different Sources of Content
- Develop an ebook for lead generation and thought leadership
- Create a series of blog posts to boost traffic through SEO and social media
- Design an infographic to represent a concept visually
- Create a series of social posts and images to promote blog posts and infographics on social media
- Create a video featuring a subject-matter expert giving a tutorial on a topic covered in the ebook
Your platforms and mediums of choice will vary based on who you’re trying to attract. Therefore, before jumping into content development, identify different content personas and clarify who a particular asset will appeal to most.
By defining your target audience and shaping each piece of content accordingly, you’ll be able to develop compelling work that effortlessly connects with your prospects.
3. Create the Most Substantial Content First
If you tackle the more challenging content first, the other pieces become easier to tackle.
Work on your most comprehensive, in-depth content first, such as a white paper, ebook, or guide – any in-depth resource that your prospects will be eager to download.
While your speech transcripts, presentation materials, and other resources can serve as the backbone of your research, you may need to find additional information to pad your outline. Consider looking up recent survey findings, reading expert interviews, and following up with internal subject matter experts.
Don’t be afraid of length when creating your substantial content asset. It should be as long as necessary to serve as a comprehensive guide. For context, Eucalypt, a Maine-based content marketing agency, has developed white papers as long as 80 pages. Though, in many cases, your asset may be in the 10- to 20-page range.
Long form, comprehensive guides are what's known as cornerstone content: the piece that everything else revolves around.
Cornerstone content should be well-designed, in line with your company’s branding, and visually appealing – include illustrations and charts that highlight the importance of your data. It should refer to relevant external sources to enhance your organization’s credibility, while spotlighting your team’s thought leadership.
4. “Spin Off” Other Content From Your Main Piece
While crafting cornerstone content, look for interesting topics and storylines that you can expand on.
Does the white paper include a brief section on developing buyer personas? This topic may lend itself to a standalone blog post or a pre-designed template for readers to use to practice building their own personas.
In my company’s client work and content marketing, we typically look for opportunities to develop at least three spin-off blog posts for each ebook we produce.
4 Benefits of Creating Multiple Blog Posts from One Content Asset
First, once the long form asset is complete, spinning off is simple. You can develop each blog post with a minimum amount of additional research.
Second, each blog post incorporates related keywords, thus amplifying SEO results around the content campaign.
Third, the blog posts are an appetizer for the main course, concluding with a call to action to download the full ebook for more information.
Fourth, the blog posts can address topics that appeal to different audiences. One may be useful to a marketing manager and another for a sales manager. Each persona benefits from the ebook, but these separate articles offer hyper-relevant information.
Other types of spin-off content may include infographics, SlideShare presentations, guides, and short videos.
5. Spin Off Again Using Social Media
After creating multiple content spin-offs from your comprehensive guide, amplify each piece on platforms that are relevant to your business.
Some effective content amplifying efforts may include the following:
- Syndicating entire blog posts on Medium or the LinkedIn publishing platform
- Creating a social graphic that incorporates a quote from your article and promoting it on Twitter and LinkedIn
- Sharing a short excerpt of an article on LinkedIn with a link to the full article on your site
- Developing a guest post on a niche site that links back to your on-site content
Social media promotion strategies will vary based on your business needs and audience. Overall, the main goal is to build a customized distribution plan that allows you to maximize the impact of every asset you publish.
6. Repurpose Second-Run Content
While you most likely implemented a robust promotion campaign after the launch of your cornerstone content, there’s always another opportunity to repurpose after the initial excitement dies down.
Repurposing existing content can be done in several ways:
- Update an older post with new information or research, and share it through your social channels.
- Create a “round-up” post that includes snippets from previous content and links back to those pieces.
- Develop a sequel to a popular older post, including a prominent introduction that encourages readers to start with the older article first.
Applying these three strategies to repurpose content, even after a piece’s initial release, will ensure that your work remains relevant over time.
Seamless Content Creation Results from Repurposing
Using the six-step method for repurposing content, you easily can create content assets that make use of your organizational leaders’ best insights.
Build a strong narrative from your source material, spin it out in multiple directions, and add new research and data along the way in order to build out a content marketing newsroom filled with compelling, relevant resources for each target user.
Overall, publishing valuable, relevant content enhances your brand’s reputation as an industry thought leader.
About the Author
Kathryn Hawkins is a principal of Eucalypt, a small content marketing agency based in Scarborough, Maine that works globally with enterprise and growth stage B2B SaaS clients, including LinkedIn, Instore, Cyence, and many others. She also is a columnist for Inc.com. Previously, Kathryn worked as a freelance writer for publications including GOOD Magazine and CBS’ BNET.com. Connect with Kathryn on Twitter and LinkedIn.