Because it seems like just about everything has changed over the past two years, it’s oddly comforting when you find something that’s still the same. It’s like discovering a lone flower sprouting out of a scarred battlefield. Just when we thought the pandemic disrupted everything, there’s content marketing still going strong.
In fact, in the latest data from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, most say content marketing was only moderately impacted by the pandemic. And most of those adjustments came in refining messaging and audience targeting. Content marketing remains a dependable strategy for achieving a variety of objectives from brand building to lead generation.
However, this dependence is not without challenges. The same data also tells us that most content marketing teams are small, lack budget, and continue to struggle to create enough content. Marketing Insider Group refers to this cluster of interrelated challenges as “feeding the content marketing beast.”
In my book Get Scrappy, I outlined four hacks that every marketer needs in their content marketing toolbox. Before sharing some new tools, here’s a quick overview of these tips:
- Relentlessly repurpose your content: When you create a piece of content, consider how many other things you can create from it. For example, take that series of blog posts and combine them into an ebook or white paper. You can also break apart long-form content into several shorter articles or social posts.
- Utilize historic content: Dig into your files. Are there old photos you can digitize into relevant throwback content?
- Curate content: Where is great content already being created that you can share with your online community? Can you make this a regular part of your content strategy? With so much content being created today, curation is a great way to become known as a trusted wine taster in your industry.
- Encourage user-generated content: Sometimes the best content is the content your customers create for you. However, to make sure you get user-generated content, you have to ask your customers for it. They’ll only know what to do if you ask them.
(Want to dig deeper on these four hacks first? Check out this article for greater detail.)
As we continue to need more content on a regular basis, the struggle of feeding the content marketing beast continues. To create more engaging content, we need more tools to do the work. And sometimes, the tools we need were there all along. You just have to dig a bit—into your existing content and what other members of your team are up to.
1. Revisit & Reinvent Your Existing Content
Digging deeper into the data, you can see that more marketers are creating more content than ever before. While the emphasis on content marketing is often placed on what’s next, you can also find value in looking back. One of the best assets marketers have is the content they’ve already created.
My first original hack stressed that marketers should relentlessly repurpose content—making as many different things as they can from their initial investment. This covers the new content you create but you can continue this idea in the months—even years—ahead by revisiting and reinventing your content.
For example, blogging is still the most popular content marketing format. Many have scores of posts from years on the job. Take a moment and revisit your archive. Check your Google Analytics and look at what content has been most popular and consider how you might update it. You can also look at content that you liked that maybe didn’t perform as well as you’d hoped. Can you find a new angle or approach to revise and reinvent it?
In both cases, consider updating stats and terminology or optimizing it for new search terms. You can also take a piece you published on your site and revise it for another platform like LinkedIn or Medium.
Content marketing isn’t new anymore. At this writing, I’ve been blogging since 2005 and podcasting since 2013. That’s decades of content! While we can’t rest on our laurels, it’s important to regularly revisit and reinvent existing content for tomorrow’s audiences. For example, I recently updated the art on many of my articles and categorized them based on my current areas of focus (see the categories below and browse around a bit!).
Making this tool work for you: Try building a routine around this. Can you look back quarterly or annually? Whatever you do, don’t forget to look back. There’s value still to be gained from the hard work you put into all of that content.
2. Content Marketing By Walking Around
It’s easy for marketers to feel isolated. Especially today. This makes the challenges of coming up with new content at a faster pace even more daunting. To combat this loneliness and feed the content marketing beast, look to others in your organization for content ideas and inspiration.
For example, my wife works for a local nonprofit organization. Recently, we were talking about a new fundraising project they’d undertaken and she shared that while another co-worker led this initiative, she made it the focus of a blog post she created for the organization. There are all kinds of interesting things that others on your team are working on. How can you use their work as an idea starter for your content marketing?
Making this tool work for you: Tom Peters coined the phrase “management by walking around” for the insights leaders can gain from interacting with their employees. I would encourage you to co-opt this approach by practicing “content marketing by walking around.” And in today’s virtual world of work, it doesn’t even have to be actual walking around. Arrive at the Zoom meeting early or stay late to chat about what others are up to. Can you use their work in your work?
Content marketing isn’t going anywhere. Even a multi-year global pandemic couldn’t slow down its meteoric rise. That said, it’s important to remember that it’s not just about creating more content for the sake of creating more content. It’s about creating more content that helps your audience and serves the needs of your organization.
To ensure that you have the right tools for the job, don’t forget to include these scrappy hacks in your content marketing toolbox.