Content marketing is a lot like the lumber industry. It’s also a lot like the Power Rangers Megazord but more on that later.
Over the 20th century, competition got so fierce for the lumber industry sawmills had to figure out ways to maximize profits. As a result, they started using ALL the byproducts of cutting lumber.
Logs were used primarily for boards but scraps were used for mulch and even sawdust was collected and sold as animal bedding for farmers. It became rare to find a sawmill whose only product is lumber.
This got me thinking: what “byproducts” in my own work am I just wasting? This turned into a personal strategy of reusing any content I make at least 3 times.
- I wrote a 4,000+ word piece on how to start a podcast to test on AdWords.
- I took the piece and broke it into several 800+ word articles and sold them to a training website under a shared license.
- They performed well on the training website and we used them as the foundation of an educational video series.
- I used the shared license to post them to my personal website. One particular article performed very well and I turned it into:
- An email series
- A podcast episode
- Public speaking topic
- My team continues to pull quotes from the article to use for social media posts today.
One piece of content was repurposed 7+ different ways.
We have processes for all the content we create. Articles, newsletters, LinkedIn posts, etc. all have general guidelines and criteria so everything we make is consistent with the Come Alive Creative brand and our ethos.
However, the level of intentionality from the above example wasn’t consistently happening with our content. Our marketing efforts felt disjointed and I knew we weren’t using our energy or assets efficiently.
In fact, when it came to content creation and promotion, several of us were spending time on the wrong things.
Are You Spending Time on the Right Things?
What do I mean by wrong things? Well, all of us have tasks that we should and shouldn’t be doing.
Jay Papasan and Gary W. Keller discuss this concept in their book, “The One Thing.” It’s the idea that if you want more productivity, income, and satisfaction, you need to go small and want less.
I like to explain it like this:
There are 3 types of work.
- Work that only you can do.
- Work that someone can do.
- Work that just needs to get done.
Work that just needs to get done doesn’t require a person. It can be automated with processes or tools, like how Calendly or SavvyCal help you schedule meetings with others.
Work that someone can do are tasks that require a human touch but it shouldn’t be you. For example, earlier this year we hired Jeff Duba to run company operations. I’m very good at managing projects but it’s not the work “only I can do.”
Work that only you can do are the most important things you should be doing. For example, no one else can host and conduct interviews on my personal podcast besides me.
The Work Only You Can Do and Content Creation.
With this framework of delegation in mind, we were able to begin gaining clarity on the things each of us should or shouldn’t be doing.
For example, I should be writing articles and recording podcast episodes. These kinds of content help share my personal belief and help grow and nurture our audience. I shouldn’t be writing or scheduling social media. That’s something someone else on our team is better off doing.
In the same way, Maggie, our Content Director, should be doing higher level tasks like producing our narrative shows but she shouldn’t be writing show notes for all of the episodes we produce.
But just identifying what we should and shouldn’t be doing wasn’t enough. We needed a sharp system. We needed an actionable solution.
The Solution: Build a Content Repurposing Workflow, i.e. The Marketing Megazord in 3 (+1) Steps.
A content repurposing workflow is a plan for creating and reusing content. When done well, it takes the guesswork out of choosing what kind of content to create and what order to make it in.
Step 00: Create a Framework on How to Analyze and Understand Your Content
In order to make this a consistent process, we analyzed our content through several filters:
- Basic Expectations. What criteria should all of our content meet?
- Evaluating Content. What should we focus on right now?
- Promotion Frequency. How often should we publish each kind of content?
- Content Calendar. What topics should be posted on which days of the week?
All of our company procedures have criteria specific to the task. The same is true of our content. Anything we create should:
- Align with our purpose as a company.
- Reflect our company values.
- Reflect our niche focus and speak to our target audience.
- Have a consistent and similar voice and tone.
There are countless ways to create content. Instead of relying on our feelings, we evaluate what we should be making with facts.
We analyze content in the following ways:
Area of Focus. Will this content be lead generation, lead nurture, sales, fulfillment, or upsell related?
Impact for the Company. How much will the content help our company and goals?
Level of Effort. How easy or difficult is it for us to create said content?
Type. Is the content an asset that will deliver value over time or an input that will drive people to our site?
Priority. Is this primary content that should be created first or secondary content that can be made from something else we already have? Ex. You can make audiograms (secondary content) from podcast episodes (primary content), but not the other way around.
Part of the Funnel. Will it sit at the top, middle or bottom of our marketing funnel?
Author. Who should create this content?
Promotion Frequency by Medium
Depending on what kind of content it is, it should be published at different frequencies. For example, we try to post to Twitter a few times a day, LinkedIn once a day, publish podcast episodes once a week, and write articles once a month.
Your frequency might be different. What matters is determining what yours is and sticking to it.
Similar to promotion frequency, our content follows a rotation. This removes the guesswork. We’ve already done the strategizing, so we can focus on creating.
We typically follow 2 to 3 week rotations featuring topics like value adds, ideas to discuss, client and company testimonials or promotions, and the occasional hard sell.
Putting It All Together
When you think about content and promotion this way, it becomes much easier to decide what to spend your time on and what will have the greatest impact on your business. It also builds consistency and trust with your audience.
Bring Out the Content Megazord! Building Your Content Repurposing Workflow.
Now that you have analyzed your content, it’s time to put together the repurposing workflow i.e. build your Marketing Megazord!
If you’re not familiar with the Power Rangers, they are a group of teens chosen to fight space monsters threatening earth.
Each teen is granted ninja-esq powers and controls their own huge fighting robot, a.k.a. Zord. And when the individual Zords aren’t strong enough to defeat the other monsters, they all combine into one badass Megazord.
As I noted earlier, our individual content pieces were strong (like the individual Zords) but I knew they could be unstoppable if they worked seamlessly together (like the Megazord).
Or if you prefer the sawmill analogy: we had too many byproducts going to waste.
Step 01: Decide on Your Primary Content: Determine Your “Content Zords”
What content is most important for your business? We determined our top pieces of content are:
- Podcast episodes
- Speaking gigs
- Podcast guest appearances
*For the record, there are 21 different themed Power Ranger seasons. I’m focusing on the best one, season 01 (Don’t @ me).
Articles, i.e. the Red Ranger
Jason, the Red Ranger, controls the Tyrannosaurus Zord and is the leader of the Power Rangers. Although we work in the audio space, our articles are typically our best pieces of content for driving leads. They are able to reach the most people and “lead” the way to much of our other content.
Podcast Episodes, i.e. the Black Ranger
Zack, the Black Ranger, controls the Mastodon Zord and is second-in-command. Similarly, our podcast episodes are easily our next best kind of content and often carry the same bravado as the Black Ranger.
Video, i.e. the Pink Ranger
Kimberly, the Pink Ranger, controls the Pterodactyl Zord. Her edgy and cool demeanor is often used to cover up her own vulnerability. We haven’t started video yet but it’s definitely the “cool” medium and one that allows for vulnerability and authenticity.
Speaking Gigs, i.e. the Yellow Ranger
Trini, the Yellow Ranger, controls the Saber-Tooth Tiger Zord. Trini is independent and thoughtful. Currently, I’m the only person on the team speaking publicly and it’s an easy way for me to connect with and help an audience.
Newsletter Campaigns, i.e. the Blue Ranger
Billy, the Blue Ranger, controls the Triceratops Zords. Billy is hella smart but somewhat underutilized. He’s also one of the longest-lasting original Rangers. In the same way, I know email is an excellent way to connect with our audience and nurture relationships. We’re still figuring out how to best utilize newsletters in our regular content strategy.
Podcast Guest Appearances, i.e. the Green Ranger
Tommy, the Green Ranger, controls the O.P. Dragon Zord. Tommy isn’t always around but when he is, he always helps secure the win. Podcast guest appearances aren’t a consistent part of our content strategy, but they are very successful when we do use them.
Independently, the Power Rangers and their Zords are strong. When they combine together into the Megazord, they are almost unstoppable.
We’re going to get to how all of our “Content Zords” (articles, podcast episodes, etc.) morph into the Marketing Megazord and automatically bring serious momentum and synergy. But first, let’s define our weapons.
Step 02: Decide on Your Secondary Content: Choose Your Weapons
In Power Rangers, sometimes the Megazord’s power and teamwork wasn’t enough. They needed additional weapons like the Power Sword and Power Staff to complement and strengthen their performance.
In the same way, there are additional things we can do to strengthen our most important content. Some of our supporting “special weapons” include the likes of:
- Twitter posts
- LinkedIn posts and articles
- Social graphics
For example, our articles are the best things we create but they still benefit from shares and mentions on social media.
Our podcast episodes perform well but they get more listeners when we feature a great quote with a social graphic or audiogram.
Social media is helpful but it’s not important enough for me to write a bunch of original promotional posts. It is smart to repurpose content from our most important work (Content Zords) and use social media (Weapons) to enhance its strength.
After all of this is said and done, if an article performs exceptionally well, we consider additional ways to reuse it.
- Newsletter campaign series
- Podcast episode(s)
- Video content
- Speaking topic
- Podcast guest topic
Step 03: Using Your Content Repurposing Workflow: Controlling the Megazord
Alright. So now that you understand all of the Zords, here’s how the Marketing Megazord has become an effective, easily automated solution to our initial problem: A disjointed marketing strategy.
The primary piece of content acts as the engine. It is what kickstarts the content repurposing workflow. Once a piece of our primary content is created, new secondary content is automatically put in motion by our team.
For example, if I write an article, my team knows to…
- Choose 5 to 10 quotes to pull to use for Twitter posts.
- Choose 3 to 5 paragraphs to use for LinkedIn posts.
- Break up the article by sections to use as individual LinkedIn articles.
- Reuse the excerpt/meta description in the monthly newsletter broadcast
- Choose 2 to 3 concepts to be made into social media graphics.
I focus my time on writing an amazing article and my team can automatically repurpose it into 20+ different pieces of content. And if the content performs exceptionally well, we move to the secondary list of content we can create to maximize its impact.
And all of this automation is only for our articles. We have unique lists for all 6 kinds of our primary content. Thus, we have a fully functioning Marketing Megazord.
Final Thoughts on Making a Marketing Megazord
If you’re spending time on things outside of your unique ability, you’re cheating yourself. If you’re making content for a single purpose, you’re cheating your audience.
Even though the example is silly, the Marketing Megazord really is a killer process. My team and I know exactly what to focus on and when to focus on it. I get to focus on only the tasks I should be focused on and my team handles the rest. No content is being wasted and everything is getting repurposed.
What does your Marketing Megazord look like?
How are you going to repurpose content in your marketing strategy? What are your primary pieces of content that should lead everything else?
Hopefully, you can see how much more powerful this is working together. With our content repurposing workflow, I know exactly what I should spend time creating and the rest of my team knows how to reuse. Everyone is focused. No one is wasting time. And we’re able to help more people.
Last Random Note for Everyone Born in the 1980s…
I almost themed this whole thing “Marketing Voltron”.
“Voltron” is a more popular search term than “Megazord” and Voltron would technically beat the Megazord in a head-to-head fight.
All of that said, I went with the Power Rangers analogy because it’s stronger and I’m a sucker for alliteration. Marketing Megazord.
Okay. I’m done nerding out. Go create something.