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 woven 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. E-book: The team  converts the key white paper content and PowerPoint into a visually compelling e-book, 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. Multimedia 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 match 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 a 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. E-newsletters: 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, 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