If a blog posts to the Internet and no one reads it, does it make an impact?
This is a lot easier to answer than the whole “tree in the forest” thing. The answer is no, no it does not.
Content marketing has two equally important and inextricable requirements: good, high-value content and targeted distribution.
One without the other is useless. It doesn’t matter how great your content is if no one ever sees it, and it doesn’t matter how much reach you get if your content is junk.
We talk a lot about creating great content, so today let’s talk about the other side of the equation: getting it in front of the right people.
Content distribution through atomization
Atomic content is a way to distribute content without creating new. It’s also called content repurposing. The idea is you take a foundational piece of content and turn the ideas it conveys into multiple formats.
Breaking up long content
If you’re starting with a piece of long-form content, like an article, white paper, or podcast episode, you could:
- Create short videos explaining each of the topics covered in the piece (or pull out clips if you’re starting with a video)
- Create short text posts doing the same thing
- Pull out numbers or research as infographics
- Pull out great lines and turn them into memes or quote graphics
- Use the information in the piece to contribute to conversations on Quora and Reddit
These bite-size chunks of your original piece make good fodder for social media. Some social channels – Twitter and Pinterest come to mind – are good places to top off your post with a link back to the original content. But keep in mind most social channels kill the reach of link posts in the interests of keeping people on the platform.
As for Quora and Reddit, they’re underutilized gold mines – if you do it right. They are also very, very different from social media. If you get it wrong and come across like you’re marketing or trying to sell something, you will be crucified, especially on Reddit.
If you’re unfamiliar with these platforms and want to learn more, I recommend Zapier’s article about marketing on Reddit and HubSpot’s guide to marketing on Quora.
Building up short content
This is less common than breaking up long pieces, but no less effective – especially if your content library heavily skews toward short-form pieces like social media posts. Here are a few ideas to get more mileage from your short pieces:
- Dive deeper into a concept and create a long-form piece that explores what it means and how it affects the audience
- Group short videos by theme and create compilation reels
- Do the same thing with short text posts like Tweets – create a roundup blog post
- Write a case study that demonstrates how the concept you talked about works in the real world
- Create a round-up post of real-life examples illustrating the concept you talked about
Distributing original content
So you’ve created a piece of long-form content, you’ve atomized it – what else can you do? You can spread the foundational piece around the Internet. Don’t just stop at your blog:
- Repost the article as articles on LinkedIn and Medium
- Reach out to newsletters and publications targeting the same audience and ask if they would be interested in the piece as a guest post or in including it in a roundup
- Share it with your email list, if you have one
- Reach out to influencers to ask for feedback on the piece. If they like it, ask if they will share it with their audience
- Send it to the hosts of podcasts in your niche along with an introduction to yourself and a pitch to talk about the topic as a guest on their show
All of these tips can be applied retroactively to your existing library of content. In the future, though, remember that the best time to think about distribution is at the beginning.
Before you publish a long piece, highlight spots that could be atomized. As you’re creating a short piece, plan for how it could fit into a future compilation. In every case, think of where the audience for this message will be when they’re most open to receiving it.
I know this can feel like a lot of work. And I’m not gonna lie; it can be. But it’s really not any more work than creating new content from scratch and getting just a single use from it. You should really spend at least as much time distributing content as you do creating it – otherwise, what did you make it for?
Need help figuring out how to atomize your content library? I’m your huckleberry. Check out my content audit or calendar services.
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