If your content marketing efforts are foundering because of a lack of material, pay a visit to your local supermarket and pick up a copy of Cosmopolitan, Redbook or Woman’s Day. The editors of those magazines face the same problem that you do each month and consistently find solutions that keep readers coming back.
Their challenge should be familiar to any marketer in a niche industry. There’s a limited palette of topics to work with (for women’s magazines, it’s basically food, fashion, sex, entertainment, family and relationships) and a requirement to find new angles that attract the attention of shoppers in a checkout line. How do they do it? Creative reuse.
B-to-b marketers can learn from them. A survey by the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs last year found that generating a sufficient quantity of content was the No. 1 problem facing content marketers. In many cases, the solution is to get more mileage out of the stuff you’ve already got.
Start with varying your approach. Think of a topic for a white paper and try to come up with 15 different headlines, each targeted at a different audience. If the topic is “10 steps to success,” try the inverse: “10 common mistakes.” Tackle the same topic from two different stages of the buying funnel. Often all that’s needed is a small shift in angle.
Experiment with different media. In the hands of a skilled graphic artist, a text-heavy white paper can become a colorful e-book. Similarly, a few facts plucked from a research paper can be molded into an infographic. Going out to interview a customer for a case study? Pack a video camera for a short testimonial and post a Q&A as a podcast. Take some environmental photos and put them on Facebook and Flickr. Repackage the case study as a SlideShare presentation. Write up two versions of the same customer story, one focusing on the business problem and the other looking at the buying process.
Take a look through your archives and see what can be freshened. Don’t deceive, but also don’t sell your content short. With a few updated references and some minor wording changes, it’s OK to put this year’s date on last year’s how-to guide. What matters is value and reaching the audience where they want to be reached. New buyers care little about the age of your content as long as it has value to them.
Professional publishers have known this for decades.
So take a cue from them. Remember that all successful diets are basically a form of portion control. That doesn’t stop Redbook from coming up with a dozen variations on that same theme every year.