Mmmm, cake. You spent hours researching the recipe, shopping for ingredients, buttering the pan, sifting the flour, separating the dry from the wet ingredients, mixing until your arm nearly falls off, and painstakingly decorating that delicious confection. So, are you just going to gobble up one piece and throw the rest away? No way. After you take a few snaps for the ’gram, you will relish a slice or five, share it with your family, take some to your bestie, eat some for breakfast with coffee, and bring anything left for your colleagues to enjoy on Monday. There’s a lot you can do with that cake.
Looking at it that way, cake is a lot like content. At KMB, we hear all too often about companies or brands that have spent gobs of time and/or money painstakingly crafting a perfect piece of content, only to blast it on social media once, park it on their website, and passively hope that people will discover it. We hate to see cake in the trash — and that’s basically what’s happening out there. So sad!
We believe there is so much more to be done with that hard-earned content. You can slice it and dice it to eek every ounce of satisfaction out of it, and all in a way that doesn’t tire your audience. For argument’s sake, let’s follow a piece of content through the gauntlet of maximization to illustrate just how clever you can get with your content repurposing. In fact, there is so much you can do with content that we will only have space to cover half — we’ll get to the second half next issue.
To start, let’s use the ever-popular case study. You write a beautiful case study about your business (or hire someone to do the same) and it’s everything you possibly could desire. It presents a solution to a common problem in a market that you are trying to tap into, complete with glowing quotes, amazing images, and erudite brand storytelling — all tied up in a bow by a talented graphic artist. So, what do you do with it? Get your knives out, it’s time to slice and dice.
Drive Traffic to Your Website
First, there’s the obvious. You need to put the case study — which should be optimized for search — on your website. If you put it as a PDF download, you won’t get all that good SEO richness that draws people to your website in the first place. PDFs can be crawled as though they are web pages by search engines. In most cases, however, they lack tags found on standard web pages — like Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Image Alt Attributes — that cue search engines use to index the page. What PDFs are great for is using a form to capture leads before anyone can download the content.
Contrarily, if you put it as text on your website, not only do you lose all that neat and tidy graphic design work we mentioned before, but you lost the dangling carrot of the content download.
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The solution? Do both! Put the full case study as free or “ungated” content on your website, but also create a PDF download page that describes the case study and requires people who wants to read it to enter some minimal information, such as their name and email address.
Boom! You have got SEO-rich web copy and a content download that generates leads. You also have destination URLs that allow you to point to this content in your marketing.
For the most part, social media is ephemeral. Think of the way a Tweet is pushed down your feed super-fast as the day goes by. Schedule your organic social media posts for the case study over time instead of one and done! For example, you can use social media software to repeatedly schedule the same post once a day for a week (good for event marketing) or once a month for a year (good for thought leadership content). Set it and forget it to get more miles out of the content. Just remember to revisit your scheduler and feed often to see how the cadence you’ve selected feels. Some platforms (Twitter) can take frequent reposting more palatable than others (Instagram). Adjust as needed.
One thing that helps with promulgating your content via social is to mix up the images and text you use. For example, think of creative ways to link to the same case study. You can create a series of graphics using different images from the case study or even supplementary images that didn’t quite make the cut. Try creating testimonial graphics for social media using quotes from the case study. You can also do a series of posts that show the PDF front cover as a download. Link to the case study on third-party sites such as publications to show credibility.
All are fair game and keep your social feeds from looking stale while still drawing attention to your content asset. And that’s just organic! Paid social is a whole different ballgame and will get your content eyes that may not have seen it otherwise. You can use the case study as a content download offer as we mentioned before, sending new users to your site via paid social for the first time and capturing fresh leads with a form.
Also by Katye McGregor Bennett: Putting the ‘Social’ Back in Social Media
Do you have partners who might want to include the case study in their own marketing? Make it easy for them by including a launch kit with prewritten social posts that they can easily put up on their feeds. The more pre-baked work you can do, the better.
Email marketing is yet another way to push your case study out. Consider all the various ways you can do this. You can create a special email that links only to the case study, giving users a clean, simple, and singular call to action. If you send this to your existing database, no need to send them the PDF download link as they are already in your database, and you don’t want them to get turned off by having to fill out yet another form. Instead, send them the link to the text on your website. Include the case study in your monthly newsletter for added exposure.
If your email software is savvy enough, you should be able to resend the email to people who didn’t open it. In that case, it’s always a good idea to change up the subject line. Don’t pester your audience but hit them twice, at an appropriate interval, in case they didn’t see it. Your audience will tire quicker via email than social, so proceed with caution to avoid unsubscribes.
Consider third-party email. Some media outlets, for example, offer the ability to use their database to send out your content. They won’t just hand over their lists, of course, but instead, send out the content for you. It’s a great way to get more exposure for your content if you have extra marketing dollars.
Transform Content Into Different Formats
The case study is written, and you have a slew of images. Is there enough content here to form the basis of, say, a short case study video? Use the case study as an outline for a storyboard and supplement the video with additional interviews from the folks using your product or service. A video case study goes a long way, especially on social. Once you have a few case studies under your belt you can string them together in a broader video about a product or application. We’ve even seen some clients do entire webinars around one case study, inviting the audience to ask questions. This is another great lead-generation activity as information from folks who sign up for the webinar is inherently captured. As an added bonus, leads from webinars are highly qualified. If someone has the time and interest to take time out of their schedule to learn about your product, application, or brand in a webinar, you have someone who is already well down the road to becoming a customer. For that reason, it’s important you have a follow-up plan at the ready, as you will want to strike while the iron is hot!
Don’t forget PR! At KMB, this is our specialty. We help our clients get their message to the right places and in front of the target audience. A case study can be written in the form of a press release if you want coverage that is a bit more widespread. Of course, you can also take the more focused approach and deliver your content to specific media outlets that will delve deeper into the story — beyond what a press release can offer. Be sure you understand the outlet’s exclusivity requirements so you don’t inadvertently step on any toes.
Broadcast to Your Internal Team
Many companies are so focused on external marketing, they forget how important internal comms are. Your team members are your troops on the ground and can serve as one of your loudest megaphones if they have the right tools. For example, send a company-wide alert that said piece of content is available and instruct colleagues on how to use and share it. Don’t forget how valuable this type of content is for your sales channel, too. Share with your sales team and include specific instructions on how they might use it as a sales tool.
Like sharing with business partners, the more work you can do to make sharing easier by your employees, the better. For example, create an email signature with a graphic for the case study and tell employees how to update their signature.
So, out of just that one case study example, there’s an entire content campaign that includes the story itself optimized to attract people via SEO, lead-generating activities, social media posts galore, email blasts, newsletters, internal comms, video, webinars, and public relations.
I could go on, but suffice it to say that getting the most ROI out of your content marketing strategy requires a bit of planning and a focused work effort but is well worth the returns of increased engagement with your brand, actionable leads, loyalty, authority, internal company storytelling, sales, and beyond!
Feeling overwhelmed by this or need help getting your content strategy off-center? Give me a call at 406-446-1283 or email me [email protected]. I’m here to help!