No matter how far we get into the days of content marketing as a common practice, so many marketers still can’t find their balance with it.
Most of us logically know that content marketing and content creation aren’t synonyms, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at our schedules or to-do lists.
The over-focus on content creation is noticeable everywhere:
- In our content marketing strategies that ask, “what should we talk about?”
- In our marketing calendars that answer, “when should we talk about it?”
- In our schedules that are filled with churning out as much content as possible.
And in leaning too much toward content creation, we distance ourselves from all the other important elements of content marketing.
This is why, no matter how many times we hear things like “spend more time promoting content than you do creating it,” this is rarely what our day-to-day realities as marketers look like.
There seems to be this belief that if we stop pumping out weekly content, leads and customers will stop finding our businesses.
But when we stop creating in order to spend energy on other elements of the content marketing process, the opposite is true.
The less you create and the more you amplify what you create, the less you’ll need to create.
So what do you need to learn how to balance with content creation?
Here are the different elements of content marketing.
1. Content Strategy
Content strategy is where it all begins.
Before you do anything else, including publishing content, you need to get clear on what the point of it all is.
This is where you figure out:
- Audience research: Who you’re talking to.
- Journey mapping: What you’re trying to get them to do.
- Channel selection: Where and how you’re reaching them.
- Topic selection: What you’re talking to them about.
- Project management: How your team will get it all done.
Plus how to optimize it all to maximize your results.
And like the rest of the elements listed here, content strategy isn’t something you can just do once.
While your strategy only needs to be built from scratch when you’re first getting started with content marketing, it still needs to be revisited and updated around once or twice a year.
2. Content Creation
Once you’ve developed or updated your content strategy, you’re ready to start creating content.
But even that is more than just content creation.
Here’s what I mean:
Content, no matter the format or channel, is most difficult and time-consuming to create when you dive right into creation without any planning.
The full content creation process includes lots of different types of tasks, and trying to do them all at the same time adds unnecessary struggle to the writing, designing, or recording process.
When you take time to research your topic, outline the structure, brain dump your talking points, and more to prepare before you start writing, things get a lot easier.
This is still true with less writing-focused formats, like podcasts and video, in terms of writing the script, show notes, and more.
Break down the process and tackle your content projects one at a time in small steps instead of trying to tackle everything at once.
3. Content Optimization
Just like there’s more prep work than we initially think with the content we create, there’s more “post-work” too.
It doesn’t matter how high quality the writing or video is with your content if it isn’t optimized for your marketing strategy’s customer journey.
Or if it’s not discoverable for anyone who’s not specifically looking for it.
This means that in between creating content and publishing it, you need to optimize it for what comes before and after it in the buyer’s journey.
If you’re trying to generate leads, that means making sure you have lead gen forms in the right spots, promoting the right offers.
If you want to attract visitors through SEO, that means reviewing the optimization for your target keywords.
All of this optimization should be double-checked before content goes live.
4. Content Distribution
Once content has been planned, created, and optimized, it’s time to publish.
And yet the process still isn’t ready to start over yet.
People still need to find out about it.
Even if you have a site that brings in lots of organic traffic and gets discovered “on its own,” putting effort into distribution will still speed things up.
You’ll want to spend time on things like:
- Sharing the new content on social media.
- Emailing it to your list of subscribers and customers.
- Sending it to influential people in your network who’d be interested.
Most of us have experienced the feeling of creating great content no one sees, and this is the step to prevent experiencing it.
5. Content Repurposing
In addition to content distribution, content repurposing is another way to get more eyes on the content you create.
While content distribution is more about bringing people from other platforms back to content on your website, repurposing is about bringing the website’s content to the people on other platforms.
Both can be done immediately after content goes live to drive the initial surge of a content’s visibility.
But they might be even more powerful when you promote and repurpose older content that’s still high quality but receiving less attention.
Some common types of repurposing content include:
- Reformatting it from one medium to another, like from text into video, podcasts, or graphics.
- Breaking up a long-form piece of content into smaller chunks.
- Combining shorter pieces of content into larger chunks.
- Republishing or syndicating the content in its current format to other channels.
Whatever option you try first, it will go a long way in making any content creation time pay off.
6. Content Maintenance
Finally, there’s content maintenance.
Because while content might be evergreen in theory, it can still easily get stale and start performing more poorly than it used to.
Think of the evergreen plants that give the content its name: just because they’re always green doesn’t mean they can’t die or don’t need any nourishment.
Content maintenance is that nourishment for your marketing.
You’ll want to make sure your evergreen and high performing content stays fresh, optimized, and aligned with your current business goals.
This way, you can continue distributing and repurposing your best content and maintain (or even improve) your search rankings over time.
No matter how long ago any particular piece was published.
Many marketers assume that creating less content will lead to less results.
But only when the time saved isn’t reallocated to the other elements of content marketing.
If you spend less time creating content as a way of spending more time on neglected areas of the process, the content you do create will perform even better than before.