I hear it over and over again: "Who has time to do all this stuff?!"
By stuff, marketing professionals are referring to the production and distribution of the variety of content that flows from strategies that are built to engage audiences, improve search rank, and yield better bottom line business results. As I discussed in the first two posts of this extended series on effective content marketing strategies (post one here and post two here), marketing practice is evolving to meet the changing behaviors of audiences as they interact with multiple screens, maintain multiple communities, and rely on guidance for purchasing decisions from a whole variety of sources/
But where do all those videos, photos, blog posts, podcasts and tweets come from, and how -- particularly in environments with limited resources - do you make it all happen?
I have a mantra I share with my clients that's obvious but all too easily forgotten: produce once / repurpose many. I find stating the obvious is important because marketing folks get caught up in one of two bad habits: (1) they never really get started, believing executing a good marketing content strategy is too hard or labor-intensive, or (2) they execute content production tasks in silos and find in the final analysis that they've been inefficient, driving up costs in the process.
By adopting efficient content production tactics that enable you to create multiple forms of content from a single effort, and deploying that content through a variety of channels, most people I work with find they're not only able to embrace a content marketing strategy, but they can show real ROI on the effort as a result.
A few years ago I was inspired by an interview I had with a Bloomberg reporter who asked if he could capture our conversation using the equivalent of a Flip HD video camera (being Bloomberg, I think they used a fancier version of the now ubiquitous -- and recently discontinued -- camera). He explained that by conducting the interview on video, he could edit it for their video channel; use the transcript to write his story; extract the audio for his podcast series; and grab stills for associated photos. I still remember being thunderstruck by the simplicity of this multichannel content production strategy.
First, I was blown away by the nonchalance with which he made the statement, as if to say: "Doesn't everyone work this way?" And second, I realized I had all the tools to work exactly like this enterprising reporter, so why not apply it to my content marketing strategy?
For smaller organizations, adopting this simple tactic for creating original content that aligns with your keyword strategies creates efficiencies and lower overall costs of production and ownership. For larger organizations, it's a terrific way to reorganize your resources so that everyone, no matter what silo they may work in within the larger marketing department, is producing content that can be repurposed in any other silo.
For instance, a PR team member can capture an interview that includes a product director's discussion of a coming release of a new product on video. That video can be used in your company's YouTube channel at launch and featured on a website. The transcript forms the basis of a press release and blog post, both of which are repurposed into newsletters, or maybe form the basis of a white paper. You can pull out the audio and publish it to a podcast channel. And you can grab stills for use in blog posts, press releases, newsletters and a Flickr channel, among other places.
All of this, of course, drives audience engagement, links in third-party blog posts and media coverage, and social sharing in places like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. And that activity improves SEO, drives traffic to Web sites, improves demand-gen and lead-gen, and leads to increases in sales.
Marketing content strategy is essential to the success of marketing efforts today. It needn't be expensive or time-consuming in order to be highly effective. I'm sure there are other tips and strategies you use to ensure content marketing is highly effective and efficient -- share your thoughts and suggestions below.
A couple of weeks ago, a commenter recommended this blog post for tips for creating valuable branded content by Tamsin Hemingray over at iCrossing, with contributions from my fellow columnist Rob Garner - it's relevant to this column and a great post. (And thanks to all those who've commented on the first two posts - all good stuff.)
The next few posts in this series will focus on specific content types and how to get the most out of each. Next week: what journalists can teach us about writing good content -- and why journalism majors make good marketers.