The only logical thing to do is think backwards and then forwards again. Ideally, you would identify the channels for promotion of a piece of content before creating that content. When is life ever ideal when starting something new or making changes to the status quo?
Never. Exactly. In B2B, we often build in tandem in an agile structure because we’ve all got a lot going on.
Creating content without knowing how it will be promoted can be really hard. Both for the content strategist and for the digital marketers who end up promoting it. On my team, we talk a lot about how to present on social media, get more out of thought-leadership content, and create better opportunities for engagement. Which of course leave me asking, “How can we create better B2B content for social?”
Here I focus on content that has already been produced and now needs promotion. These same tips and processes will work if you’re building your marketing and content teams from scratch as well.
Not all content works on social media… at least, not in its current form. A 45 minute product explainer video isn’t likely to get loads of viewers past 3-8 seconds. An intricately designed infographic with loads of detail might not see much engagement on LinkedIn. And a long-form article or press release isn’t likely to stop the scroll.
At least, not by themselves.
It’s hard because not only are the different social media channels very different, serving different audiences at different times… for different reasons, they don’t all allow (or favor) the same types of content.
In every example above, the argument can be made that to get engagement one must promote or “sell” the audience on stopping their doom scrolling on social media. Yes, this is true.
My point is not to eliminate the promotional copywriters here, but give them something better to work with for the channels chosen to promote the content on.
Imagine that same 45 minute product explainer video has a 1 minute version that only focuses on the most needed, wanted, or innovative part of the product. You could capture attention in the first 1.5 seconds by being bold with your statement and hook people in with part of the full-length video specifically talking about this one thing. And at the end you have a call to action promoting 2 things:
- Connect with someone to learn the full value of the product/service
- Watch the full-length video for free, no gate, no form (on YouTube, BrightTalk, or Vidyard.
Now, imagine you had 3-5 hot topics like the one we just did in that full-length product explainer video (a webinar could be used here too). You’ve created 3-5 new ways of promoting the full-length video that took time and resources to produce.
This is how and when you begin to think of your content as a product and start building the advertising elements to drive your audience to it.
This is education-based marketing at its finest. Leveraged for both demand gen/capture AND nurture, relationship building, and trust building.
So, our first step is to repurpose and/or atomize your existing content. Repurposing content I think can be used interchangeably here, but a quick definition according to me.
Repurposing content is taking an existing piece of content and doing 1 of 3 things:
- Using as-is on for other purposes that originally intended. Topically, physically, or in another form. e.g. – Video is your original content, and you pull the transcription to be used (minor edits) as a blog or article.
- Segmenting the original content piece for use in new ways, typically via different channels. e.g. – Pulling quoted text from an article to be used in an image intended for a slide deck or social media.
- To create something entirely new from one or many previously created content pieces of content. e.g. – Several webinars have been held in a series on similar topics and you create a “best of” clip to be used in a presentation at a conference.
Atomizing content is really only 1 of those above, segmenting the original content for use in new ways.
Some examples of interesting repurposing
The Diary of a CEO – This is a fantastic use of repurposing while also building a heck of a second audience segment. Steven Bartlett know’s how to market like a monster, so this to me is expected. He built a channel over a few years and then launched a second channel by repurposing and atomizing his full-length interview content into “clips” or shorter segments that then drive to his full-length videos also on YouTube.
The full-length content is typically 1.25hrs long so when you see below that this clip is nearly 9 minutes long, you have context.
In this example from Serenity in Leadership, they are filming their audio only podcast in order to repurpose the core content and promote it via different channels. They have also created a clip from the full-length to use as the promotional creative. Kuddos!
An example that could have been executed better
This one is from my own team at Insight. Cause if you can’t critique yourself, you shouldn’t be critiquing others. Here we are promoting our full-length 100th episode of our bi-weekly Insight Live series. We created a graphic to promote this, but we could have used a 10 second clip from this episode where a group of nearly all our previous guests on the series snuck up behind our Distinguished Engineers, Juan Orlandini – CTO and Carm Taglienti – CDO. Now, I know this because I watched the episode and I was actually just off camera when that happened.
This is a great example of where using a special moment in your existing content can really be a fun moment to highlight in the promotion of your main content. This is an example of where repurposing could have been done differently and in my opinion, better.
These moments aren’t always captured, documented or shared with your production team or digital marketing team. It’s anecdotal, but could be very interesting for them to know to make their jobs easier and the outcome much better.
The classic answer is, it depends. BUT to me, the only thing I over emphasize is the channel the new stuff will be served on.
I love to ask that we start with video nearly always because immediately, with very little work, you have the core elements to repurpose to a lot of different channels. You have the video plus audio, you have audio only, and you have the transcription as your written form of content.
So I would nearly always recommend starting with video.
Below is a table of the types of content I like to recommend to start with and channels through which to aim your repurposing efforts at.
|Original content||Channels for repurposing and promotion|
|Video||YouTube, social media, BrightTalk, Podcast, within articles, presentations (internal and client facing)|
|Audio only||Social media, YouTube, Podcast, within articles|
|Infographic||Social media, within articles, presentations|
|Blog||Social media, infographics, presentations, event collateral|
|Whitepaper||Social media, infographics, presentations, event collateral|
|Technical article||Social media, infographics, presentations, event collateral|
To create better B2B content for social media promotion that stops the scroll and gets engagement, you should first know where you’re starting. Do you have content already or are you starting from scratch?
Next, know where your audience is and identify which channels you will employ and leverage to reach them with your content and messaging.
After that, assuming you have content already, you can begin dissecting your existing content and noting which parts of it you’d like to repurpose for each of your chosen channels.
I love this video from Andy Crestodina at Orbit Media. Helps illustrate the importance of not being dull or boring and understanding that it’s our job to create the pattern interrupt on any social media channel.
From there you just need to do the work to repurpose, make sure you link the new content back to the original (if that is your goal) or with a call to action for the audience to do something immediately. This is how you tie it back to a direct response marketing mentality.
Never leave your audience without something to do with what they just received from you.
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