By Tom Pisello published July 11, 2011

23 Ways to Leverage a Blog Post for Content Marketing Success

The biggest challenge B2B marketers face is producing engaging content (36%), a Content Marketing Institute survey of 1,100 marketers revealed.  One way to address this challenge is to plan obsolescence in your content marketing strategy, a tactic recently explained by Joe Chernov from Eloqua. Today, I want to share another option with you:  Leveraging your content.

Content leverage

Content leverage is using every  piece of content  in multiple ways to get the highest return on investment from each piece of content. Obviously, content is not valuable unless buyers are aware of it and are engaged with the material.  This requires marketers to deliver the content in new, interactive ways and channels. Borrowing from Newton’s first law, content in motion will tend to stay in motion and be more effective as a result.

Let’s track the life of a single blog article to bring these practices to life and show how a marketer can leverage content to its best use.

Developing content derivatives

An executive writes a compelling blog article based on new research from a survey of customers and prospects. The blog post explains how the research findings uncover an important buyer issue, validates the market need for the vendor’s solution, and highlights that solutions exist to address the issues identified in the research.

A research-focused post helps in the early stages of the buying cycle to inform  buyers that  solutions are available  to  make improvements.  In this scenario, marketers can develop content derivatives such as:

1) Research White Paper: The marketing team develops additional content based on the original blog post to create a white paper. However, keep in mind that research indicates buyers prefer shorter white papers; the recommended length is four to six pages.

2) Infographic: Research and best practices recommend converting content into an infographic to illustrate data that can be  quickly understood and enhance a call to action.  The elements of an infographic can be weaved into the white paper and other materials to make the data “come to life.”

3) PowerPoint: The presentation is an overview of the research findings on the market opportunity, a summary of the white paper and the executive’s best practice recommendations, which can be uploaded on Slideshare.

4) Live and On-Demand Webinar: The executive leverages the PowerPoint to present a live webinar, which is also recorded for on-demand playback.

5) Video and Podcast: The executive is interviewed in Q&A form to create a series of short and compelling videos and podcasts. Creating transcripts of each interview can provide additional content leverage.

To improve the connection and engagement of today’s busy buyers, more marketers are moving beyond traditional options to leverage interactive media such as:

1) Microsites: The marketing team develops and publishes a collection of related research and advice to a best practices microsite, providing buyers with a single resource to facilitate each step through the buyer’s journey.

2) eBook: The team  converts the key white paper content and PowerPoint into a visually compelling eBook, an interactive overview of the research, and key points  that an executive can quickly read  to understand main concepts and recommendations.

3) Mobile Content / Applications: The team converts the research into content optimized for mobile devices and creates a “Solution Finder” application to help users find the right solution  based on which piece of the research matches customers’  specific priorities / pain points.

4) Multi-media White Papers: The team enhances the white paper presentation with embedded video and podcast recordings, helping buyers feel more connected to the executive.

5) Interactive White Papers: Today’s buyers demand content be more relevant and concise. To deliver a personalized white paper, the marketing team should consider assembling and customizing the content for each buyer. This content customization can be developed on pivot points, which matches content to the buyer’s industry, location, size, role in buying cycles and pain points. The content is put into an interactive software application to survey the buyer on his profile. From there, a customized white paper is delivered with content precisely matching the buyer’s profile.

6) Interactive Diagnostic Assessments: Most buyers struggle to understand whether research issues are  relevant or applicable to them and whether addressing the issues should be priority.  The marketing team may consider a diagnostic assessment to gather and benchmark the prospect’s opportunities against industry peers and leaders. This can illustrate to buyers the competitive costs of maintaining the status quo versus the competitive advantages of adopting new solutions that can address priority issues.

7) Benefit Calculator: Without a business case, today’s economic-focused buyers are hard pressed to allocate budget and pull the trigger on an investment. The marketing team can tap the research to create a customized, interactive benefits calculator that will quantify potential benefits for prospects.

Putting the content in motion

The traditional ways to connect and engage buyers with valuable decision-support content is evolving to incorporate more channels and social sharing.

Traditional channels use promotions, excerpts, and links to the content in order to increase awareness and engage buyers.

Some of the traditional channels that the marketing team leverages to promote content include:

1) Website(s): Promote and link to the content from the main company website and microsites, not forgetting to promote the content via portals in support of sales / channel enablement.

2) eNewsletters: Include excerpts and links in regular newsletters as value-added content.

3) Banner Advertising: Use banners to promote the content as a call to action for users.

4) Paid Search: Use targeted keywords and content as a call to action.

5) Traditional Advertising: Place promotions and links from traditional advertising to the online content.

The one issue with these traditional channels is that they are paid advertisements and have a low trust rating.  However, social content placement is often earned and is trusted more than traditional advertising  by today’s skeptical buyers.

Using social media-focused channels, marketers connect and engage with influencers and the buyers’ communities via:

1) Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Posts and Links – Beyond just links to promote the content, marketers post key excerpts of compelling findings and advice. These posts are liked and forwarded by other members.

2) YouTube & Slideshare Posts: Based on the type of content, the marketing team leverages specific social channels for sharing content such as YouTube for videos and Slideshare for PPTs and PDFs.

3) LinkedIn Discussion Groups and Quora: Marketers determine what key questions would be compelling to discussion groups  to attract group members’ comments on the research and findings as well as to  collaborate on additional opportunities, best practices and solutions..

4) Influencer Links: Marketers make influencers aware of the content and findings / advice, prompting several influencers to write about the content and pass along excerpts / links.

5) Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Search engines prioritize links to content that are seen as  timely, relevant and valuable to the community. To optimize SEO, marketers still need to be sure that content is tagged properly and contains important keywords. Additionally, marketers must ensure that content is back-linked,  liked, promoted and linked to/from other independent and influential sites.

6) Article Syndication: Marketers convert the blog post and other content into article form, and get digital and print publishers to feature / promote the article because they feel it will help their readers.

The bottom line

When an author develops a blog article or other  piece of marketing content, it’s key that the marketing team leverage the content in multiple ways by creating derivatives to put the content in motion. This strategy should include creating multiple traditional and new interactive media derivatives that engage buyers with content through traditional and social channels.

This graphic illustration of  a single piece of content from a research oriented blog post can be used to derive multiple pieces of content to connect and engage buyers via multiple channels  and facilitate the buyer’s journey that can help drive content marketing effectiveness.

Have you tried this approach? Anything you would add to the graphic above?

Author: Tom Pisello

Tom Pisello, the ROI guy, has built his 25-year career helping companies to get more business value from their IT and business investments. Tom’s latest endeavor, Alinean (a CMI benefactor), was founded in 2001 to develop SaaS software for changing the way B2B sellers reach frugal buyers with interactive white papers, assessment, ROI and TCO tools. You can read Tom's blog, see related research and best practices or follow him on Twitter @tpisello.

Other posts by Tom Pisello

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    It’s important to publish content in numerous formats.  This helps improve SEO and link building, but it also ensures that a wider audience sees the content.  Some people prefer to read blog posts rather than white papers or prefer to watch a video instead of reading an EBook.  

  • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

    Conversion Scientists call this a “Content Cascade.” The part of the lab that houses this function looks more like a kitchen than a manufacturing floor. Cooks love to cook and the same goes for content. Some ways to narrow down the choices is:

    1. Start with the formats that your team knows how to create
    2. Start with the formats that you have to tools to create (video, webinar, etc.)
    3. Start with the formats for which you have near complete content

    This post will be part of my recommended reading from now on.

    –Brian

  • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

    Conversion Scientists call this a “Content Cascade.” The part of the lab that houses this function looks more like a kitchen than a manufacturing floor. Cooks love to cook and the same goes for content. Some ways to narrow down the choices is:

    1. Start with the formats that your team knows how to create
    2. Start with the formats that you have to tools to create (video, webinar, etc.)
    3. Start with the formats for which you have near complete content

    This post will be part of my recommended reading from now on.

    –Brian

  • http://blog.aprixsolutions.com Daniel Kuperman

    This is great! I guess the only drawback and something marketers need to be aware of, is creating so many derivatives work that the content becomes less interesting… for example, after reading a blog post, seeing the infographic, and watching a video of the same subject I’m not sure I would really want to watch the webinar and read the syndicated article.

    The benefit is the wider reach the message will have with all the different content formats, but beware of making it less relevant by spreading it too wide.

  • http://blog.aprixsolutions.com Daniel Kuperman

    This is great! I guess the only drawback and something marketers need to be aware of, is creating so many derivatives work that the content becomes less interesting… for example, after reading a blog post, seeing the infographic, and watching a video of the same subject I’m not sure I would really want to watch the webinar and read the syndicated article.

    The benefit is the wider reach the message will have with all the different content formats, but beware of making it less relevant by spreading it too wide.

  • http://twitter.com/brencournoyer Brendan Cournoyer

    Ahh, squeezing every last drop of potential content out of a single idea — definitely one of the most “marketing-y” practices in content these days. Not to say it’s invalid, in fact it’s a necessity for most content marketing strategies out there, where the resources to create content around a steady flow of unique ideas often just isn’t there.

    But this really isn’t about leveraging CONTENT, it’s about leveraging an idea/topic into multiple assets. The important point that the post alludes to is that each different content type (article, ebook, infograph, etc.) brings a little something different to the table. It involves more than just the exact same info in different formats, as not all topics are suited for certain content formats.

    The real key is QUALITY. If you are going to go through the trouble of repurposing the same idea over and over again in different ways, you better make damn sure the original idea is compelling and well-thought out in the first place! Quality repetition is one things; a bunch of repetitive junk is quite another.

  • http://www.thoughtleadershipstrategy.net/ Craig Badings

    Tom, great stuff but I think there is a critical component missing – face-to-face engagement.  Using your content, partricularly if it is thought leadership material, to engage directly with your clients or prospects is one of the most powerful ways to leverage that content.

    This can comprise anything from one-on-ones to seminars to presentations, breakfasts, functions, etc.  Depending on the nature of the content it could even include running a series of training seminars at your client’s premises.

    Creating direct, one-on-one engagement around your content is a very compelling tactic.  

  • http://www.compellingmarketingblog.com TracyNeedham

    Great graphic! Of course, some of those would take a lot more work than the original blog post! I’m not saying that’s a bad thing–I’ve had blog posts that grew in to bigger items like white papers and so forth. But it sure would be easier to do it the other way around!

    I know this is so old-fashioned, but I’ve actually printed out a blog post–adding some contact info and elevator speech content–and used it as handouts at networking events and business meetings. It gives them something a little more than the usual business card and drives them to sign up for my newsletter.

  • Vera Arma

    Definitely, I would add PEOPLE. that’s what is all about.

  • http://www.reportcontentwriter.com/ Rachel Agheyisi

    I like the mind map — good visual.
    I’m sure Tom meant it to illustrate distribution options; not as a prescription of how to squeeze “marketing” out of every blog post.  There’s so much one can do with a 400-700 word article. 
     
     Having said that I do agree with Brendon Cournoyer.  The bulk of this article is about how to leverage a (hopefully great) idea into multiple formats — sufficiently differentiated to present the impression of separate assets.  Some good content ninja skills may be required.

  • Jim Pennypacker

    Tom,

    Great article. Only issue I have is that you have the blog at the top of the pyramid, and I think you should have research at the top. It’s really the research that’s going to drive all of the various content options and I think that needs to be emphasized. If the blog post weren’t strongly research-driven, I doubt that you’d have enough information to leverage your ideas effectively.

  • http://twitter.com/RussellJensen Russell Dean Jensen

    If you work for a large company it is easier to find resources for all this content production. The challenge is in your personal blogging/content production. For times sake you are forced to find ONE thing that works and do it repeatedly. Otherwise you are stretched thin.

    • http://conversionscientist.com Brian Massey

      I couldn’t disagree more. The digital tools we have to create and morph content are so incredible that we don’t have to have the resources. They are at our finger tips. In fact the big companies shoot themselves in the foot by not creating fast enough. It does take time and work, but it is critical in almost every business. Go ahead. Stretch.

  • http://twitter.com/ErinE Erin Eschen

    Tom, great post. My company actually recently leveraged a 12 part blog series put together by two of our company’s experts and turned it into a printed booklet that we’ll give out at conferences and to clients and prospects. If you’d like me to mail you a copy, just shoot me a note.

  • http://twitter.com/ErinE Erin Eschen

    Tom, great post. My company actually recently leveraged a 12 part blog series put together by two of our company’s experts and turned it into a printed booklet that we’ll give out at conferences and to clients and prospects. If you’d like me to mail you a copy, just shoot me a note. 

  • Joseph

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    Review of etutorworld.net
     

  • Anonymous

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  • Anonymous

    Personally I think If you want success in
    something, you need to desire it most of all in the world and after that go
    to a target,motivate yourself to be strong. I’ve found interesting topic about that. Here 
    homeworkhelp.com

  • Karim

    If you work for a large company it is easier to find resources for all
    this content production. The challenge is in your personal
    blogging/content production

  • http://www.earncenter.net/ Karim

    Good site.Very nice post.I am happy visit this site.

  • http://twitter.com/saranshgarg Sαяαηѕн gαяg

    Amazed after reading this article.. Lots of learning :)

  • http://www.mightysmith.com Richard Smith

    I love this article, but the chart I would assess as too vertical. Any content type could fit this mold. A webinar could be blog posts, YouTube posts, Facebook posts, etc. all content is repurposable

  • http://workado.com/ Justin McGill @ Workado

    Even though this is an older blog, I just saw this come through growthhackers.com. The image is a handy resource so thanks for including!