Creating Marketing Content: How Less Time and Effort Can Yield Better Results

by Andrew Schulkind

More isn’t always better. One case in point: the effort you put into creating content for your content marketing programs.

I’m not suggesting that you slack off and publish second-rate content. I’m suggesting that a little strategic thought can reduce the effort required to produce really great content. Kind of like taking the time to sharpen your axe when you’re chopping wood.

Wood Woodcutter Axe Tool Heating

Reduce the Energy You Invest and Improve Quality in Your Content

It’s not hard to understand how reducing the energy you need to create content is going to lead to creating more content. If it’s less work, and less time-consuming, you can do more of it.

But that doesn’t necessarily lead to better content. And the last thing we want is more mediocre content. So how do we do less work and still get better content?

You may be thinking that the only way to get more great content with less effort is to one day wake up in the body of a Pulitzer Prize winning writer. That would probably help, but we have another way.

Think About Marketing Content Thematically

If you’re currently sitting down in front of a blank sheet of paper each time you’re ready to write a content marketing piece, you’re doing it wrong. And probably feeling the pain of that approach. If you instead think about the content you’re going to write more thematically, you wind up with dozens of ways to use that single idea. Here’s how:

Let’s say you have a great idea for a how-to article. Right there, you have a long-form blog post outlining how to [fill in the blank]. So far, one idea, one piece of content. No improvement over what you’ve been doing.

How Far Can One Create Content Idea Take You?

If you treat that article as an overview piece, you can then spin each step of the how-to process out into its own in-depth article. Now your single idea has generated a half-dozen or more pieces of content.

Some of those steps might also lend themselves to infographics, charts, graphs, or other visuals that quickly convey the critical ideas.

And each of the steps will likely also contain factoids, pull quotes, or key ideas that will make for great social media content.

Now we’re well past a dozen great pieces of content from the single idea. But it gets better.

The Magic of Umbrella Content

Not only have you created many pieces of content from a single idea, you’ve improved in other ways.

  • Generating multiple pieces of content from a single idea means you need fewer ideas. That means you can focus on just the best of the best ideas you have for content.
  • The thematic approach helps you cover a variety of content channels – blogs, social media, email marketing, and more
  • Thematic content naturally lends itself to content hubs and landing pages

This last point has an added benefit. As you develop and publish more content with this approach, you can find patterns in your analytics that will tell you what themes and topics resonate most with your audience. (As opposed to looking at content on a piece-by-piece basis, which can be skewed by a particularly weak or strong headline, for example.)

With that data, you can make decisions about even bigger content pieces, such as the best topics to invest the time and resources into turning into presentations, webinars, and even books.

It’s very powerful to be able to provide evidence to a publisher or event organizer that the topic you’re proposing to them is highly sought out by your audience and will appeal to his or her audience, as well.