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The Content Marketing Wheel: A Smart Approach to Content Strategy

By  Amy Chick
June 23, 2016

content_marketing_wheel.pngIf you’ve been playing in digital content for any period of time, you’re probably familiar with this scenario: you publish a new blog post, get a spike in traffic and engagement, then watch your analytics level out. It’s a common pattern in B2B marketing — only 10% of blog posts continue to increase visits over time, after the initial traffic spike. 

This linear process creates an imbalance between the input — the time and resources devoted to content development — and the ROI of your content marketing. If you really want to make an impact with your strategy, it’s time to try a new approach. 

The foundation of a cyclical content marketing strategy 

Think of your blog posts as the spokes ofawheel: they create structure and keepyour strategy from collapsing,but you’ll have to work extra hard if you intend to get anywhere on the spokes alone. Like any wheel, you need to build the remaining parts if you really want to get things rolling. 

Research, data, and analytics should always function at the center of your marketing strategy — the hub of your wheel. At the other end of the spokes, you need to build a mechanism that will carry your blog posts into the world. By implementing two key strategies, you’ll give your content the traction it needs to drive your brand to new audiences and increase your ROI. In other words, you’ll install the tire of your wheel. 

Round out your content marketing strategy by repurposing content and leveraging multiple media channels and partners for distribution. 

Repurpose content to reach new audiences 

Instead of funneling all your resources into a constant stream of new blog posts, balance your strategy by repurposing the content that resonates most. The research hub of your wheel plays an important role here: pay attention to the performance data for each of your blog posts. The content with the most traffic and engagement should serve as the foundation for bigger resources, such as white papers andebooks 

If you want to get some serious mileage out of the content you produce, get creative with all the ways you can format, present and deliver it.  A white paper can be pretty dense, so pick out sections that lend well to various formatslikeinfographics, slideshows, and even videos. 

Remember, everyone consumes content differently. By repackaging your content, you can appeal to a wider audience and spend less time generating content from scratch. 

Gain traction and insight by leveraging media partners 

Once you’ve developed and repurposed your content, don’t let it get dusty on the shelf!Inbound marketing strategies will only take you so farand you don’t want to waste the interesting, engaging content you’ve created. Send your content into the world to grow your reach and drum up those leads. 

Content syndication can be huge for your business for many reasons – some of which we’ll discuss in another post. For the chronic optimizers in the room, let’s talk about content syndication as a research tool. 

Every time you launch a content syndication campaign, you’re sending your content to new corners of the internet where audiences are already having relevant conversations. That means you’re engaging with new people, new opinions, new questions, and new ideas.

You’ll end up with new contacts in your database and get valuable feedback on what content types, messaging, and personas are performing best so you can further optimize based on this feedback. 

The content marketing wheel at work 

At this point, you may be wondering how these strategic elements — research and analytics, blog posts, content repackaging, and content syndication — function together in a cyclical nature, like a wheel. 

Your content marketing wheel is a structured, repeatable optimization and distribution process that exposes your brand to a wider audience and generates more impressions and leads from the pieces you develop. Each piece of content that you initially repurposed – yourinfographics, guides, videos, worksheets, and slideshows – act like little soldiers of the virtual world, all of them on a mission to bring newintelback to your marketing strategy. Turn this opportunity into an optimizing machine: 

  1. Launch your campaign.You can stagger your soldiers, or deploy them all at once – but make sure you’re able to properly track the performance of all your content outlets (paid channels, media partners, etc.) 

  2. Measure your results.You should track the performance of each campaign individually, but make sure to also measure campaigns, engagement tactics, and content against each other so you know where to adjust. 

  3. Gather intelligence. Pay attention to the questions, feedback, and pushback you get from your new audience. Measure. Every. Thing. 

  4. Optimize your content. Address the questions and feedback you gathered by writing new blog posts and optimizing old ones. 

Content optimization is a no-brainer, but this approach turns your strategy up a notch and generates a constant stream of first-hand research that helps you create content your audience needs right now. You can stay clicked in to the topics and issues that are important to your audience and deliver valuable content in real time. Plus, these bite-sized pieces can once again give you insight for future development of bigger resources.  

While your new blog posts generate new sets of analytics, leverage the intelligence you gathered from your outbound marketing and content syndication campaigns to optimize ideas and once again repackage your content. Then, send it back out for a second (or third) tour. 

Do you notice the pattern here? New blog posts build the foundation for new resources, which you can leverage for list-building and cultivating new ideas. The performance insights you gain from these initial inbound content marketing cycles will help you optimize existing content, and create new content for outbound marketing content syndication programs. This method generates further insights for subsequent rounds of repackaging. 

Consumable, relevant content increases marketing ROI 

The content marketing wheel helps you efficiently build and continuously refine a robust web of content resources that reflects the conversations your audiences are having in the moment. Any marketer can pump out blog posts and write a few social media updates to promote them. If you start implementing the wheel approach, your content marketing strategy will have that extra-pro edge that integrates inbound and outbound marketing strategies, making a huge difference to your ROI. 

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By  Amy Chick

Amy Chick is a brand and content strategist with a geeky love for process and an uncanny aptitude for lame puns. After building a career in sales, marketing, and copywriting, Amy started an independent practice where she develops sustainable brand and messaging frameworks for change-minded businesses focused on improving their industry or community.

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