Many organizations put tremendous effort into creating well-written, cleverly designed content. Often this content is developed for specific target audiences and distribution channels. And while producing that resonant blog post, article, brochure, infographic, podcast, campaign site, or slidedeck can be a fantastic way of connecting with audiences, we sometimes simultaneously undervalue the content by planning and creating for a single use.
To make content work harder (yes, and smarter), we need a focus on strategy rather than just tactic by examining business objectives, target audiences and the customer touchpoints that matter most. Given today’s customers’ one-web experience (PC/smartphone/tablet), we can give content a new lease on life by considering multiple distributions and formats from the beginning. This entails a strategic content view, which considers all the different paths and formats possible. After an initial strategy is in place, we can consider the ways in which we can create multi-purposed adaptive content.
The ideal, is content is created with the intent of adaptability for different use all managed within a web content management system that renders this content for multiple devices and channels. (Karen McGrane has some interesting views on this. She calls this move towards modular content the ‘battle between the chunks and the blobs’.)
Take it apart. That lengthy whitepaper, presentation or brochure could get a new lease of life if you break it down into smaller chunks: a series of articles or posts may well engage audiences who have limited time and wouldn’t otherwise commit to your carefully crafted 10-page tome. You can also breathe new life into a corporate-branded piece by adding opinions, recent developments and multiple perspectives (e.g. a blog, article or even post on a discussion board). This allows you to build more than just text, but to create a story that benefits from your perspective over time as well as interaction with your community.
Remix it. Let’s say you’ve created a content that includes a series of opinion pieces by major influencers, some product content, a video and a few position pieces. Consider how you can do a remix: would this same content make for a fantastic deck for SlideShare, a new article that brings together the best, brightest and most successful elements or even an email campaign.
Put it together. Sometimes a summary of your core ideas can have great impact. Microsites, ebooks, slides or blog summaries with links to individual pieces of content can pull great content together. This lets you take advantage of the different pieces of your content and ensure that your ‘big idea’ — the essence of your brand messaging — still comes out loud and clear.Add value. Have you come across some engaging related content from an influencer? Bring their perspective into the conversation and give them credit. This not only reinforces your content value, it also adds timely relevance to your content and maybe even opens the door for you to directly interact with them. (Who knows, it could even change your perspective and offer some fresh viewpoints.)
Make some eye candy. Your investments in graphic design and visuals can get a new lease on life. See how you can bring together different media through montage that pairs with your articles or videos (“Top Ten” or “New Trends”). It could also be that the time your spent creating a fantastic rough draft overview can result in some really impressive supportive graphics or infographic. That seed of brilliance that steered your original content may well translate into an impactful visual too.
Promote it. You can extend marking outreach to the communities you participate in (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter etc.) by repurposing your content. This gives you greater opportunities for engagement and interaction while reinforcing your consistent marketing message.
“(B)rands need to have a fully integrated approach to their content marketing, which covers all the channels they operate in, and ensures their story is told not only in an interactive way, but also a consistent way. The most important to remember here is that only once an overall content strategy has been created – which will be very much determined by your business objectives – can you focus on individual platforms and look at distributing your content across all channels.” Julia Hutchinson, ” 10 big content marketing trends to look out for 2013
“(W)hile 90% believe content marketing will become more important over the next 12 months, only 38% of companies have a content marketing strategy in place.” Econsultancy, Content Marketing Survey Report”
Karen (McGrane) offers 5 elements of adaptive content:
- Reusable content — multiple versions of the same content for different contexts
- Structured content — more and smaller chunks of contentPresentation-independent content — raw content without formatting
- Meaningful metadata — that describes the content for easy querying
- Usable CMS interfaces — a system that allows us to do all of the above”
-From The Five Elements Of Modular And Adaptive Content by Steven Bradley