“How important is it to create different types of content for marketing campaigns? Do I need to create video content, SlideShare presentations and blogs, along with everything else I do?”
That’s the question a marketing colleague recently posed to me, which led to a discussion about the importance of repurposing content for various channels. Having multiple forms of content allows marketers to significantly expand the reach of your brand. Search engines play favorites for content—especially video—that resides outside the walls of your site. The more social references to your content, the wider your exposure to future search visitors. The end result? Higher consumption and more leads.
But how to think of this in terms of content distribution? Here are three steps I encourage you to take:
1) Determine how your audience prefers to absorb content.
Before we talk about taking the time to create content for every possible platform, whether it’s writing blog posts, creating YouTube videos, or crafting the perfect tweet, it’s important to start by thinking about your customers and prospects. How do they prefer to absorb information? Some people learn by watching, some by doing, some by reading … the list goes on.
If you don’t know their preferences, then now is the time to ask. Include this question in your next customer survey, and the answer may surprise you. You could easily discover that a large portion of your audience prefers to print out product tutorials and make notes in the margins, and here you thought video instruction was the way to go. Armed with this information, you can now tailor your website to easily print your guides in a format that includes margins for notes.
While that example might not work for your business, the primary point is that as marketers, we cannot decide which content formats are best based solely on assumptions. Take the time to reach out and ask. For prospects, include this question on opt-in forms and start to build a record of it in your database. Additionally, it will help to take the time to do an analysis of what formats were most popular in the past year. Again, the results may surprise you.
2) Establish simple ways to replicate your content for another channel.
After determining the formats your audience prefers, the next step is to find ways to easily replicate your content for another channel. Creating meaningful content can be time-consuming, but if you establish a standard process, it will get easier every time. A great baby step might include a goal to pull two to three tweets from every blog that gets posted, or take the time to put your already-created PowerPoint presentations on SlideShare.
My colleague Loren McDonald shares a fascinating story about how after speaking to a group of 150 marketers, he posted his presentation on SlideShare and tweeted it to his network. Within two weeks he had nearly 1,500 downloads on SlideShare. That content went from an audience of 100 to 1,600 with only a few extra minutes of effort. Take a look at Ann Handley and C.C Chapman's book Content Rules for more detailed information on this strategy.
3) Define the path for content consumption.
Once you’ve discovered your audience’s preferred content types, and started developing habits to repurpose your content, it’s time to define a clear path that you want your customers and prospects to take should they continue to engage with your brand.
This could mean providing free non-gated content that clearly advertises a link to what the visitor should consume next. Something like, "Enjoyed these 10 tips to better project management? Check out the recorded Webinar - 'Creating Value Through the PMO.'"
This allows you to create a path through the sales funnel, all the way to conversion. Look for a series from me in the summer months detailing more about designing an effective content path.
For more information on developing your content strategy, check out these links below:
1) Blog: "Assessing Content Needs"
2) Slideshare: "Getting Personal: “Humanising” Content to Connect with Customers"
3) Blog: "Feeding the Content Beast"