Winning The Content War
Content Marketing, Digital Marketing 101

Winning The Content War

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The last week or two I’ve been writing a lot about how companies are messing up digital marketing. I’ve enjoyed the online and offline conversations I’ve had with many of you about this, taking a look at what your brand is doing and seeing some great, creative ideas and also helping steer others away from strategies that amount to simply doing “online selling”.

These conversations frequently moved into discussions of “what’s next?”. Once you create content that gives value to your target audience, how do you rise above the noise? How do you create enough of it to keep your audience engaged with you? Especially if you are a small business, how do you compete with big brands that are getting it right and seem to be content powerhouses?

These are all great questions. You need to have daily, regular content going out through all your digital channels. Consistency is everything when it comes to effectively building your brand’s awareness. There is no alternative if you want to rise above all the noise that is out there and get your brand on the map.

Over the years I’ve found that it’s so easy for a small brand to simply give up before they even start. They sell themselves the idea that they are too small to compete on a level of some of their larger rivals and resign themselves to the idea that maybe one day once they get bigger, they can roll out a killer content marketing strategy, but in the meantime they’ll just need to “fake it until they make it”. This is a terrible excuse and there is no reason any brand, no matter what it’s size can’t start rolling out an aggressive and effective content marketing strategy today.

Creating tons of valuable content you can share out across all your social channels is much easier than you think. The key is to have one main piece of content, to promote that content and then to carve out separate pieces of micro content, derived from that main piece that will serve as additional content on all your other digital channels, eventually driving users back to that main piece of content.

Okay. That sounds great. But what does that mean?

I know that might sound like a lot of words that in theory make sense to you, but in all likelihood you may not be able to envision how to actually utilize that advice in the real world. Rather than simply giving you a list of step by step instructions on how this works, today I want to actually take a piece of content I’ve recently created and show you how this all works, in action.

Defining your main piece of content

The first thing you have to decide is what your main piece of content is going to be. A very popular approach to this that many brands carry out is by starting with a long form piece of audio or video content (podcasts and/or vlogs). While this definitely makes sense, this strategy has never worked for me. It could be the way I’m wired, or simply the fact that I’ve been blogging about all things marketing for nearly 15 years now, but the way I operate best is by first starting out by writing an article.

The best way for me to succinctly flesh out what it is I would like to say to people or how I would like to teach them a new concept or strategy is by writing it all out. I find from there I can create all kinds of related micro-content and also much more easily jump into the audio/video content, getting it done more effectively than if I began my content journey there instead.

So for the purposes of illustration, let’s take this article that I recently wrote about how the creative idea and how it drives everything when it comes to effective digital marketing. This is going to be our main piece of content that we will use to execute a full-scale campaign with multiple pieces of original content connected to it.

Step 1: Distribute Your Main Content

Not surprisingly, the first step of the process is distributing the content that you have just developed. What is super important here is that you need to remember that just because this is your main piece of content and just because you want to get it out to as many people as possible, you cannot take a shotgun approach and fire a link out to every one of your social media properties and expect that to work.

Every platform is different. Each one operates in a different fashion and brings people information in different contexts. Think of it as if you were out on the golf course. Certainly you wouldn’t play your entire round using only your driver. You have a whole bag full of clubs. Each club serves a specific purpose to help you maneuver through the golf course in the most efficient way possible. It isn’t until you master the use of each of your clubs that you are going to be shooting down in the 70’s and beating all your buddies.

When I write a new article as my main piece of content, I start promoting it like this:

First, I, of course, publish it on our website.

Next, I’ll take an excerpt that communicates the key idea behind the article and make a post on LinkedIn.

I take that same excerpt and also create a post on our Facebook Business page as well.

Lastly, I’ll create a mini description of the article. Usually just a sentence or two and post that to our Twitter page.

Step 2: Repurpose your content

This is perhaps the single most important step in your content marketing strategy. Especially if you are a small business and don’t have access to a marketing team or have an agency on retainer to help you with these strategies. You need to repurpose your content.

I, of course, want to squeeze every bit of juice out of this main content I created. Also, taking into account that not everyone may like to read blog articles, or be in a position to take a few minutes to actually sit down and absorb the content, I want to hedge my bet and try and be in as many places my audience may be as possible. This is where the new podcast we recently started comes into play.

So for all those folks that might like to listen to audio while running on the treadmill, or watching YouTube videos when they get home from work in the evening, I took that main piece of content and turned it into a podcast. When I produce this piece of content I actually shoot video of it at the same time. That means with a single effort, I’ve produced two pieces of content. I can upload the video to our YouTube channel and I can also take the audio and upload it to SoundCloud, Stitcher, Google, iTunes and Spotify.

So now we have a single piece of content that has been turned into three.

Step 3: Extract key points and ideas

Turning a single piece of content into 3 pieces of content is great. But why stop there? In that content there are key phrases and moments I can repurpose into sharable images and micro-video clips that I can use to drive people to my main content through targeted digital ads and organic posts.

As you can see in this Instagram post, I took an excerpt from my article and created a graphic. I then took a paragraph from the article and used it as the content for the post. In this case, this is a social post on Instagram, but I also take this same content and run targeted digital ads on Facebook and Instagram as well to broaden reach and engagement.

For each piece of content I develop, I create 3-5 variations of these to help promote it. So now we have moved from a single piece of content to 6-8 pieces of content.

The last thing I do is comb through the video content I recorded and put on Youtube and make one or two mini videos that are no longer than 15 seconds. These videos point directly to a key point in the content, something attention grabbing or something thought provoking.

I publish those posts on Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook.. The idea behind these posts, just like the others is to get people so interested that they will click through to the main content. The difference with the video posts is I’m driving them to the podcast, while the post example above is driving them to the blog. Again, I want to be in front of my audience everywhere they may hang out. Because of this, a multi-platform approach works really well.

So that’s 8-10 pieces of content generated off of a single blog post

So there you have it. In as little as a couple hours or so, you can have 8-10 great pieces of content created and loaded up to market your business. Can you do more? Of course. Depending upon the length of the original content I am using, I could do up to 20 or 30 different pieces of content.

Creating great quality content is hard. It takes time. Hopefully these tips will help you to squeeze more life out of that great content, helping you spread your brand and build your company faster than you thought you could.

Chris Leo

Chris Leo

Chris Leo is a Silicon Valley, CA entrepreneur, complete workaholic, top notch inbound marketer, dad to the coolest kid on the planet, type “A” personality, shameless self-promoter and never ending “connector”.

Even though he is seemingly always working, when he does take breaks, the “work hard, play hard” motto takes on a whole new meaning. Most people talk about "wanting to do things", Chris goes out and actually does them.

2 Comments

  1. […] know when I write about social media platforms, I’ve noted that you have to take into account the contextual framework that each platform works in. So in other words, you have to craft your content differently for each platform to make sure it […]

  2. […] Instead of creating a branded blog or Instagram profile, the guys that are doing this the best repurpose their content and optimize assets for multiple platforms. By doing this, your brand is instantly recognizable, no […]

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