3 clever content plans to triple your output
Let’s face it: writing content is hard work and takes a lot of time. That’s true for beginner and veteran marketers alike. So anything you can do to increase your output would really help.
What if I told you that you could triple the amount of content you publish, with only a fraction of extra work?
Content time and effort
Think about how you might write a blog post or other fairly meaty piece for publication. What takes all the time and effort?
- You have to think of a topic and compare that topic to the interests (personas) in your target market to make sure there’s a match.
2. You need to choose and research a keyword or phrase that will be the focus of your article. This will help your content get found in searches by your target audience.
3. You’ve got to write a catchy title that uses your keyword. This takes a lot of brainstorming, variations, creative writing and thought.
4. With a winning title in hand, you need to create an outline of your piece.
5. Research comes next. You need to find facts and stories that help you build credibility and make your article come alive.
6. Then you write. And write. And rewrite until you have something that’s thorough, interesting, true and compelling.
7. At this point you look for graphics that will illustrate your work.
8. Finally, you publish using WordPress or another platform.
Although your own content writing process might vary a bit, there’s no questioning the amount of time and effort it takes to get from a blank page to a published piece.
The secret shortcut to more content
If you’re a sole proprietor, entrepreneur, small business owner or freelancer you probably don’t have a large bench of writers to help you increase your output.
You’re it. So you need a shortcut.
But sorry, the secret isn’t to skip any of the steps above when you create original content; they’re all important.
The secret is to skip steps when you multiply your original article in both form and placement.
Steps one through seven are where the hard work lies. Thinking. Research. Writing.
So if you could create additional content by skipping steps one through seven, and only do step eight (publishing) you’d have something, right?
Here are three ways to do that.
Content plan #1: Reformat and republish
Once your post is written it’s fairly easy to republish it in another form.
One easy way to do this in the B2B world is to publish your post as a LinkedIn Pulse article. You might want to tweak the headline a bit, add a short bio and include a link back to the original article.
You could also reformat the written post into a slideshow and share it on LinkedIn’s SlideShare channel. To do this, summarize the main points as bullets and use your slide application’s graphics tools to tell the same story visually.
A slideshow can also be useful when you present your message in person or on a webinar.
Add motion, sound and images
With a bit more effort you could convert your content into a video or audio script and record yourself with your smart phone. Voila: instant video, YouTube upload or podcast.
If you’re graphically gifted (or know someone who is) you can even create an info-graphic highlighting the core concepts in your article.
Do all of these, and one post morphs into five or more additional pieces of content!
Content plan #2: Syndicate and share
Once you’ve written a few posts to establish your credibility, try to syndicate your work on channels other than your own website.
The Web is full of magazines, newsletters, round-ups, communities and other outlets that are hungry for content, too. Their model is often to publish or republish the work of many authors – and you could become one of those authors.
For example, after two months of writing the blog at Content Marketing Startup I applied to become a contributor at Business2Community – and was accepted. (Watch for my first syndicated article there soon.)
Syndicate existing articles
Most syndicated sites will accept articles you’ve already published so you don’t need to write original posts for them unless you want to.
Watch for syndication sites in targeted searches, Google alerts, and content shared by others on your social channels. Research your chosen topic and you’re bound to find a number of relevant multi-author sites.
Start syndicating on just two sites other than your own, and you’ve tripled your content output!
Content plan #3: Derive and drive
This last multiplier is best used with very large pieces of content such as e-books, online learning courses and the like.
A large project like an e-book can easily take 100 hours or more to build, and may require a financial payout as well for additional research, graphics and design.
That’s a lot of investment. But e-books and their close relatives are at the top of the food chain in content marketing. Their value and depth make them very effective as lead-generators and even revenue sources, so they can be worth the investment.
To get a return on that investment, smart marketers often plan coordinated campaigns centered on each large piece of content they create.
Derivative content: Growing the tree
I call these “derive and drive” campaigns because they derive pieces of content from a main publication and use those derivatives to drive an audience back toward the main publication itself.
Imagine this process as a tree. The main publication is at the root of the tree. Each chapter or section of that publication could be re-purposed as a blog post – the branches. And each of the main points in each blog post could be repurposed as a Tweet or social share – the leaves.
(Some content marketing pundits use a pyramid or pillar image for this same concept. But I like the connected, organic nature of a tree to show this process better.)
Driving back to the root
The smallest derivatives – the many social shares or “leaves” – point readers back to the blog post from which they were derived. The larger derivatives – the blog posts or “branches” – point readers back to the main publication. The main publication – the root – is hopefully valuable enough to generate a lead or a sale.
This content plan multiplies your output many-fold. But it does more than that. It also gives you a publishing map that can help you fill weeks or even months of your calendar. And it creates a coordinated campaign that leverages the value of your highest-cost content at every point.
Do you want a deeper dive?
Which of these three content plans intrigues you most?
Which do you think you could use to kick-start your own marketing efforts?
Are there specific tactics (SlideShare, video production, content trees?) that you’d like to learn more about?
Share your ideas and interests and I’ll use those to tailor my future posts.
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