Efficient Content Strategy: 7 Tips to Optimize Return on Effort

To be or not to be? Better to be feared or loved? To prioritize content quantity or quality? The great existential questions of life. Maybe I’ll just tackle that last one. The short answer is that the quality of your content should ALWAYS be your absolute first priority. The trust of your audience is at stake any time you share something with the world. It has to be valuable to your audience and reflective of the expertise you posess.

That said, it’s naive to pretend that quantity plays no role. The people and brands that have real success find a way to put out a critical mass of valuable content. Your chances of succeeding are best if you’re able to touch on a variety of topics and utilize various channels.

So how do you strike the balance between quality and quantity?

The answer is that you must find a ways to repurpose the effort that goes into creating great content. With the right approach, you’ll find you can double or triple your quantity without having to double or triple your input of time and effort.

The first step is understanding where the real value lies in noteworthy content. It isn’t in the time spent writing, filming, recording or designing. Necessary steps, for sure, but those activities are ancillary. The real value is in your expertise - the time you’ve spent learning, thinking, researching and understanding. That time is the true investment for any piece of content that’s worth anything.

The easy mistake is to focus on channel first and then think about topics. I need to write a video… what should it be about? I need to write a blog post… what should I say? That’s backwards.

The best content creators focus first on what their audience needs to know. After that they can think about the best ways to deliver the answers. As always, form follows function.

Armed with an understanding that content’s power lies in the information it contains, you can repackage it for various channels that are fit to convey your message.

Below are some examples of ways that content can be repurposed to maximize your return on effort. It’s by no means an exhaustive list – just a few examples to help think about it. Just remember that expertise is the product you’re offering and you’ve only got so much of it – so be sure you deliver it in every way you can.

1) Make your current focus-area the topic of your next piece

Look for content topics that mesh well with what you’re already focusing on at the time. For instance, last week I was focused on getting my new blog started. I had been thinking hard and putting a lot of energy into what I wanted my blog to be. Rather than try to bite off some unrelated topic that would require a lot more thought and research, I reused that thinking-time to write about starting a new blog.

Are you researching an important new piece of equipment? Then write about how you made the choice and why it’s important to your product. Working late while onboarding a new client? Record a video about the most important steps in onboarding a new client.

Your’re always going to have something happening that forces you to put in extra energy. Repurpose that effort to create content more efficiently.

2) Utilize your presentation materials as content

Creating a presentation for a meeting or industry event takes time and energy. Even presenting at your kid’s career day requires planning. That work can and should yield valuable pieces of content without much extra effort. A powerpoint presentation can easily be packaged as a SlideShare and distributed on social media. That can then be imbedded on your site as a useful resource to potential and existing customers.

And now that you have a polished presentation that you’ve already practiced, you can use it to offer a webinar – a perfect mid-funnel conversion tool.

3) Get the most out of your live event

Have somebody record video of your presentation which can then be shared, added to YouTube or added to the resources page of your website.

Have photos taken during the presentation. You’ll surely find a use for the Steve Jobs-esque photos of you on stage, addressing your adoring audience. It’s great imagery for your website or to share on social media.

Feeling braver? Experiment with Periscope, Twitter’s new live video streaming social app. Share live video of the presentation with your followers. Periscope is in early stages and usage is still pretty low but it’s an opportunity to painlessly experiment with a new channel that’s getting a lot of attention.

You should also consider inviting a potential customer that is in the consideration phase of your sales funnel. Even if they can’t attend, it’s a great opportunity to be seen in a new light – a thought leader and sought-after speaker… Not a bad humble-brag opportunity. Haha

Are there opportunities to earn a link to your site from the host of the event? Particularly if you’re volunteering your time, it’s a reasonable request. Ask if they’ll be promoting the event on their website - perhaps in their events calendar. Suggest that a link to your website’s resources page could be helpful for their attendees.

4) Repackage your long-form content into short-form

Are you working on a more extensive and longer piece of content like a book, whitepaper or eBook? Look for opportunities to take small sections and rewrite them with different wording or a slightly new angle. Then use those pieces as blog posts. With all the research that goes into developing a long-form piece, it would be a waste of that effort to only use it once.

Take a hint from authors on a book tour or celebrities promoting a movie on the late shows. You might try sitting down with a colleague to discuss the piece you’ve written, rehash the themes and get their reaction. Record that conversation and you’ve got a great podcast episode or video clip. You’ll reach a new segment of the audience. You’ll also be promoting the original piece.

5) Use your keyword research to improve various channels

Any comprehensive SEO process is going to involve extensive keyword research – a time consuming endeavor. When you’re finished you’ll obviously incorporate your findings into your website copy, title tags and H1 tags. That research should also inform your decisions on blog post titles, etc. But the useful life of that research shouldn’t end there.

Keyword research could be valuable in conducting some PPC testing. You may be happy with the return you get from paid search. Key phrases that are unearthed in keyword research could also prove useful as hashtags in your social media posts.

6) Use language from a sales presentation for site content

If you’re working on a new sales process or presentation, you’ll likely spend a lot of time agonizing over the wording of your pitch to get it just right. Look for opportunities to incorporate that messaging you develop into your website content. For many businesses, their website is as important a member of the sales team as any salesperson. Make sure it is utilizing all the best language your team has crafted.

7) Customer feedback as a content source

Any business should be going to great lengths to collect and incorporate customer feedback. That much is obvious. However, don’t forget to look at customer feedback as a content source as well.

Positive feedback is an opportunity to collect testimonials. If your customer gives you a compliment, say thanks – but also ask if you can write it down and add it to your website. You might return the favor by including a link to their website along with the testimonial.

Other customer feedback will be more… let’s say… constructive. If you’re smart, that feedback is going to stimulate changes to your strategy or process. If you’re able to pivot and make the customer happier, that’s just good business. But it’s also a great opportunity for a case study. Describe a problem you encountered, how you fixed it, and how that helped a customer. A story like that is perfect for any content channel.

 

Summary

  • The real value in content is in the research and expertise – Reuse it
  • Use your current focus-area as a topic for your next piece of content
  • Turn your presentation materials into distributable content – SlideShares, Webinars, etc
  • Maximize the value of live events – Take photos, record & broadcast – Invite a prospect – Obtain a link
  • Use your keyword research for more than SEO – Experiment with PPC or try a new hashtag
  • Reuse the language you’ve honed for the sales process to improve your website
  • Use customer feedback opportunities to acquire testimonials or develop a case study