I was at the wrap-up meeting for a white paper we had just finished for a client.
The way the project had gone, and the paper itself, got the client more excited about content marketing.
The client said they wanted to kick their company’s content marketing into “high gear” by having our team go back to the drawing board to come up with new topics that could cornerstone a four-month blogging program.
“We don’t even need to go back to the drawing board,” our senior strategist said.
Our client joked in a friendly manner, “You guys are going to pull the topics out of your ass?”
“No,” our strategist responded with a chuckle, “but we spent a good chunk of time on this white paper between all the interviews and the writing process. That investment can be maximized. We can create enough content for briefs and blogs for about six months. It will also help us start forming a properly integrated content strategy.”
“We haven’t thought too deeply about formalizing our content strategy lately,” the client said, sounding discouraged.
“No worries,” I piped in. “I just read a study that said only about 30% of organizations had an actual documented marketing strategy.¹ You’re not alone!”
“Tell me about how this white paper can give us the content we need,” the client asked — sounding more encouraged.
Our strategist gave me a nod, and I went on to explain the gist of it.
In an effective content marketing strategy, the usefulness of a piece of content is not confined to the four corners of the space it occupies. So, the content creation process should not be confined to a brainstorm, write, publish, and then move on to the next piece of the content process.
Each piece of content in a content marketing strategy, whether it be white papers, product or service briefs, infographics, or anything else, should not be written by separate authors working on separate topics to address separate value points — essentially, reinventing the wheel every time. This approach disintegrates your content and prevents you from maximizing your investment into content creation and content marketing.
An integrated content marketing process will allow you to optimize your time and cost investment, and provide your audience with content that will be useful to them.
Choose a Topic That Has Legs
Effective content marketing should do more than simply call attention to something. It should increase brand awareness and deliver messages that help your audience understand the value of your product, service, or solution.
When a specific topic is identified as useful to your buyers as you take them on the content marketing journey, consider how it can be covered in different ways and from different angles.
Create the “Richest” Piece of Content First
Should you produce a white paper? Should it be a brief? Maybe just water it down to a blog?
Do it all. But structure the development process.
Don’t try to take a new topic and condense it into a “Top 5” blog post immediately. Aim for the richest piece of content first. In some cases, this may be a white paper. Find the value that your vision or product brings to customers, define the context for that value, then develop the long-form story that will serve as the foundation for the shorter content pieces you can leverage in your content marketing strategy.
Slice and Dice the Rich Content
As you produce a rich piece of content, you’ll naturally hit on a variety of value points, great catchphrases, and nicely done sections — ample fodder for smaller pieces of content.
From a white paper, a brief or e-book can be easily created.
And you can get smaller, easy-to-consume content like an infographic and one or two insight pieces/blogs from the larger pieces.
Consider the Content in Context
Producing a set of content in this way maximizes your content investment. Not only can you justify spending a good chunk of time producing an extremely rich document, like a white paper, you’re also getting value from the time spent on that document beyond its four corners.
Then, it’s much easier to write the shorter pieces of content.