By Stephanie Tilton published November 17, 2010

The Mathematics of Content Marketing

When it comes to content marketing, producing enough content to engage prospects throughout the buying cycle ranks high on the list of challenges. But content development doesn’t have to be an onerous process. By applying some basic mathematical concepts, you can simplify development – and get far more value out of just about every asset.

Before rolling up your sleeves to perform these calculations, make sure you understand the information needs and content preferences of your prospects at every stage of the buying cycle.

  • A good place to start is with buyer personas and content mapping.
  • With this information in hand, you should review your existing content. A content audit is a great way to identify the content you have at your disposal.
  • And don’t forget to reference your editorial calendar for soon-to-be-published assets that might be suitable to your purposes.

Now you’re ready to make use of those mathematical formulas you learned in school.

Sum it up

If your organization writes blog posts or articles, you’ve got the building blocks for an extended content asset. Collect all items that fall under a single theme and see what story they tell as a whole. You’ll likely find overlap and identify some gaps you’ll need to fill, but with any luck, your short copy can be combined to create an eBook, white paper, report or how-to guide.

Don’t forget about audio and video content. Perhaps your organization has recorded a bunch of three-minute customer testimonials. Or maybe it has produced a series of podcasts. Explore ways you can package these into an extended video or audio.

For example, you could produce a video highlighting the successes of multiple customers in a single industry. Or you could create an extended podcast by stringing together the biggest ideas shared by your executives during their keynotes at conferences.

Divide and multiply

Many B2B organizations have developed a library of white papers, and often use them as a jumping off point for webinars. But white papers can also be dissected to create multiple one-off pieces.

Let’s assume your business-focused white papers follow best practices by covering industry trends, common challenges, potential ways to solve the issue at hand and a checklist or guide of what to seek in a solution. By extracting these discrete sections and crafting new openings and summaries, you can quickly publish blog posts or articles such as “10 Things to Consider Before Signing a Services Contract.” Not only do you get more mileage from the effort you put into developing your white paper, but you can also use these stand-alone pieces as teasers for the full paper.

Apply the ideal ratio

Speaking of maximizing mileage, content repurposing isn’t the only way to extract full value from your investment. Promoting and sharing are key to increasing the probability of your content getting into your prospects’ hands. Here are some points to consider for every content asset you produce:

  • Include relevant keywords
  • Create landing pages
  • Embed social-sharing options so readers can easily pass your content along to others
  • Publish press releases as you make new content available
  • Post your content where your prospects spend time online
  • Syndicate your content across networks such as those run by IT Business Edge, NetLine and TechTarget

Expand Your Dimensions

As Amanda Maksymiw shared in a recent post, content curation – the act of gathering, organizing and sharing information – is a fairly simple way to stay top of mind with your audience. Instead of creating content from scratch, you share relevant content produced by third parties. Content curation lies at the heart of the Huffington Post model, and is how IBM creates its Smarter Planet site. A client of mine, HiveFire, offers software that helps ease the process of identifying, aggregating, and distributing third-party content.


What’s your formula for getting more from your content?

Author: Stephanie Tilton

Stephanie Tilton is a content-marketing consultant who helps B2B companies craft content that engages prospects and customers, nurtures leads, and advances the buying cycle. You can follow her on Twitter @StephanieTilton or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B Marketing.

Other posts by Stephanie Tilton

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  • Tim Meinhardt

    Great article… right on

  • Katie McCaskey

    Great stuff, Stephanie. I think a lot of people miss the fact that “old” content is an asset… particularly if you can package it into useful parcels.

  • Stephanie Tilton

    Katie and Tim – glad you liked the article! I completely agree, Katie — marketers seem to think they always have to be churning out new content. But, as you say, with the right packaging, what’s old can become new.