Doing More with Less in Your Content Marketing
Say you have a content plan that is tightly aligned with organizational objectives as well as industry trends and top keywords. Take a minute to sit down and take a few breaths. You have a good chunk of your foundation planning out of the way, and getting organized is half the battle.
But after you have your plan together, where do you start?
Even if you come from a large company where you have a large marketing budget and content marketing has been proven, you can always learn new ways to stretch your dollars and increase your return on investment. By being smart, thrifty, and understanding how your audience consumes content, you can quickly create a content marketing empire to be reckoned with!
Create a content library
The first step to creating a robust content library (ideally 20 or more pages) that maps to each content arc. This is your big kahuna — the fire that ignites many of your lead generation campaigns.
Your content library piece fulfills the following goals:
Showcases your thought leadership around your arc
Shows off creative writing and design prowess
Is dynamic enough to be the basis for other content pieces (more on that later in this chapter)
Contains best practices, tips, and actionable insights
Your content library is the basis for many additional content pieces such as ebooks, videos, webinars, and so on, so make sure that you keep this in mind during your planning phase, and think creatively about what to include in the piece to bring additional value.
Don't be afraid to make your content library big. Remember, you want to be recognized as a publisher, so the more value you add, the more your audience views you as a true authority. Be authentic, and people will notice.
Follow this ten-step plan to organize your big rock content piece creation process:
Meet with stakeholders.
Assuming that your content library aligns with business priorities and drives many lead generation campaigns, meet with internal stakeholders such as your CMO, VP of marketing, director of demand generation, your customer team, and so on, to get a sense of messaging, and to align timing and scheduling.
Create and send a messaging document.
This messaging drives both the core content for your ebook and your lead generation campaign messaging.
Create an outline.
A solid outline helps you flesh out details and align with stakeholders.
Write your first draft.
This draft might go through multiple reviews with many people. Make sure it is viewed by as many eyes as possible.
Write your second draft.
Incorporate the feedback and create your second draft.
Send to design.
Require that your team send you back two to three design options to choose from and make sure they understand ebook layout concepts.
Look over the first design draft.
Make sure you edit it for copy, consistency, and design. You might also want to send this version off to stakeholders for additional input.
Look over the final design draft.
Make sure to go over the final draft with a fine-toothed comb.
You are at the finish line — of the content creation process, at least. Now you want to get promoting and start collecting those leads.
Slice and dice your content library
From that one effort of creating a big content library, you can create many smaller valuable pieces. Some examples of the types on content you can derive from your content library include:
Repurpose your content
The ideas above are economical and efficient, but what if you just don't have the resources available to do either, or you need something done in a short period of time? Repurposing is a fantastic alternative if you are a small team or do not yet have the budget you need to create a robust content marketing plan. Repurposing is also an attractive content creation strategy for everyone else because even if you have a large marketing team, you can always learn new techniques.
The concept of repurposing is taking something you created and putting a new spin on it. The content you need already exists. Just think creatively about where to find it.
Here are a few examples:
Blogs: Take a blog post you wrote and create an ebook out of it. Stretch the content as far as you can by having your design team provide engaging visuals throughout. You might be surprised to learn you can easily take a 500-word blog post and turn it into a five- to six-page ebook!
Webinars and presentations: Many businesses are starting to include webinars as a regular part of the lead generation mix. When you produce a webinar, make sure to have a writer on hand to create a transcript of what the speaker says in his presentation. From there, take the transcript, reorganize it if needed, and create an ebook or report from it.
Reports/ebooks: Take a report or an ebook you create and turn it into an infographic or a visual slide deck using the same content. Reports lend themselves well to visual content because they tend to have a lot of great data points. Ebooks should tell a story, so take that story and craft a visual slide deck.
Rewriting and redesigning
Maybe you have some old content that you created a few years ago and aren't sure whether to toss or save it. You know it looks old and dated, but the information in there is still good.
What can you do to bring it up to date? Here are some simple steps you can follow:
Do a content inventory.
Look through what you already have and create a list or a spreadsheet listing content types, subjects, and dates published.
Do a read-through on older content.
As long as your industry isn't rapidly changing (like the tech industry), can you read through each content piece that is more than a year old.
Ask yourself key questions.
After you read through the content, ask yourself what you would need to do in order to get it updated. Is the content still relevant? Do your leads and customers still talk about this subject? Are the stats included in the piece up-to-date?
Decide whether to keep or toss.
Based on your read-through, you can determine whether you should keep or toss each piece. If your content piece is about an event in the past or reports on the previous year, toss it.
Rewrite as needed.
Go through each asset and update copy related to industry trends, making sure you update all of the outdated stats and your company boiler (the About Us content, for example).
Consider a redesign
One of the best ways for a content piece to look fresh enough to perform well in lead generation campaigns is for it to look modern. A simple redesign works wonders.
If you do decide to retire a content place and scrap it, check to see whether it is active in any paid programs, and always set up a redirect to route readers to a current page. After something is posted on the Internet, there are most likely live links out there, and you want to make sure everything gets redirected. You don't want a lead who clicks on an old ebook to get an error page.