Achieving full value from your cornerstone content
In my recent blog post, I talked about how today’s content marketer’s need to create attention-grabbing, high-quality content, while operating with less time and fewer resources. In my experience, the best way to address these competing challenges is to create a few high-quality “cornerstone” pieces that are properly promoted in the marketplace.
“Great!” came the response. “That means I can just create a couple of in-depth pieces a year and achieve the same results, right?”
Not so fast. While the focus has to be on creating fewer, high-quality pieces, that doesn’t mean that you can leave your content calendar a vast and echoing wasteland. Volume still matters. The key is what kind of content you’re posting, and when.
What do I mean? In my experience, most content marketers would achieve better results if they focused more activity around fewer pieces of core content.
Achieving content ROI
The future of content marketing is in cornerstone content. My previous example of a cornerstone piece was an in-depth piece of thought leadership based on a study or survey that you design and conduct, though the basis could be far wider: a new technology innovation, results of a company study, a critical process improvement, or more. This type of content allows you to offer something new and different to the market, while helping to position you as an expert in your area.
But once this content is created, what happens to it? A recent blog by Forresters stated that 43% of marketers create four or fewer content marketing assets based on cornerstone studies. I was shocked! With so little connected content, there is no way that the business can achieve full value for the time or resources invested in the original piece. What a waste.
Marketing for a cornerstone piece needs to say more than, “Come read this interesting whitepaper.” Instead, a big thought leadership piece should be viewed as a series of components, each with its own focus or insights. These insights can be broken out individually to become the focus of an article, blog post or news release—all of which also link back into the cornerstone content.
Then, look at how you can reposition or shine a new light on those insights to better target them to a different audience group or target niche. While the original cornerstone piece should have a broad target audience, with connected articles or blog posts you have the opportunity to delve into the details to deliver additional insights and value.
Think your audience will be overwhelmed by repetition? Remember, repetition is a critical tool in effective communication. If you keep your focus on delivering new insights, interesting angles and unique details, you’ll find that a single piece of quality thought leadership can deliver results for months and even years to come.