Making the Most of Your Content Plan

Every marketer has been there before. A content piece they’ve toiled over, poured hours into, and wholeheartedly believe in launches… and flops. Or maybe it does okay, but it does okay just once - so “okay” feels like a flop after all. The worst part is, we know in our hearts the piece had more potential than it realized. It’s an inevitability, it’s a right of passage, and it's an event I’ve since learned how to prevent.



17 years into my content marketing career, it’s now my opinion that making a single piece of content that lives exactly once is a missed opportunity every time. Interlocking content pieces that are born from one another and thrive information together is a better strategy by far. And it’s one closer in reach than marketers realize most of the time.


If your deliverable has more than a paragraph of text, it has potential to launch more than once. Let’s review a few strategies you can incorporate in your approach.


Build assets that work together from the start.


It’s easy - once you’re chugging along on an idea - to focus on your singular, first-considered point of delivery. But as you work away on that whitepaper, email blast, or blog, it pays to step back a moment and consider other ways your message might be consumed.


Possible deliverables you can orchestrate to work together might include:

  • A webinar or podcast

  • A whitepaper

  • An article

  • An eBook

  • An infographic

  • A step-by-step guide

  • A single-topic email

  • A blurb in a newsletter

  • A blog entry

  • A social media post

  • A brochure

  • A physical mailer


The full list can be overwhelming, but picking just a few points of delivery can change your whole campaign’s game. An article that’s published once online, promoted in a newsletter, adapted and posted as a blog, and shared across 3 channels of social media, for example, performs far better than one launched all on its own. Keep chugging on that deliverable you thought up first, but consider early on which others you can add to the list. That way, you can write the first batch of copy in a way that lends itself well to the others.


Use pieces from one deliverable to make more.


Looking at the example above might have your palms feeling a bit moist. But take it from this efficiency nut, making 6 interlocking pieces of content is nothing like making 6 pieces that stand alone. The trick is repurposing your pieces.


Starting with the longest, densest deliverable in your content plan makes sense. You can harvest pieces to make smaller deliverables from there. Copying and pasting key portions of the larger asset and massaging them to fit together as something new is a job for a talented content editor. The investment is well worth it - this method of content creation should take far less time than creating something new.


A cascade might have deliverables from categories like this:


Biggest assets (sources):

  • Whitepapers

  • Articles

  • Webinars, recorded interviews, or podcasts


Adapted assets:

  • eBooks

  • Infographics

  • Step-by-step guides

  • Brochures

  • Single-topic emails

  • Blog entries

  • LinkedIn posts


Teasers:

  • Newsletter blurbs

  • Social media posts


Each category has deliverables created from the larger pieces in the categories that come before. While whitepapers and podcasts capture the attention of topic devotees while shorter, punchier versions offer an alternative for folks who aren’t in quite so deep.


The effort pays off in delivery metrics, too. Not only does each piece launch and thrive individually, shorter content pieces should always link to the bigger ones, so that audiences who want to go deeper spend time with more than one piece. Your overall message is stronger than any of the individual pieces would’ve been alone.


Promote repeatedly, without annoying your base.


I hear it over and over again in meetings - business group managers assuming every piece of content the marketing team launches gets seen. But marketers know better than anyone, every move you make is only visible to a small fraction of your intended audience at a time. In fact, according to smart insights, the average open email rate is 25%, and the click rate is just 1.25%. According to Influencer Marketing Hub, social media reach ranges from 4-20%.


Long story short? Not everyone is listening, so it’s okay if you (mindfully) repeat.


Each time you launch a new piece of content - including those created from one another - consider promoting the new piece in every available channel. An eBook launch, for example, is worthy of mention in a newsletter, a LinkedIn post, a Facebook update, and a tweet.


If you want to get really clever about it (and you do), resending emails is a good trick to try. Most email deployment systems can resend the very same content, targeted exclusively to the folks who didn’t open the first time. To leave your efforts even further undetected, update the subject line to something new.


When it comes to content marketing, efficiency is the name of the game. All it takes is a little forethought, some clever content adaptation, and the reassurance that each piece you launch is likely reaching a group that’s distinctly new.


I hope the suggestions here have been helpful. Want to breathe new life into your content marketing approach? Drop us a line. We’d love to help however we can.