What is Content Amplification?
The core concept of content amplification is to take a given piece of content and maximize its value by repurposing the content in multiple formats, while distributing it across multiple channels.
Consider as an example an eBook consisting of 10 chapters. Traditionally, marketers might publish the eBook to their site, and promote it socially and internally using banners or some other CTA.
Result without Amplification: 1 Content Piece X 5 Channels = 5 Impression Opportunities
With content amplification, that same eBook is broken into 10 content elements (one per chapter). Each chapter is the subject of a blog post, and each blog post has the potential for one or more graphical/infographical elements.
One or more webinars might be presented either on the document as a whole, or individual chapters. During the webinar, questions are asked of the audience and published in a follow-up blog post, or potentially combined into a new eBook. The presentation for the webinar is then published on SlideShare (or a similar site).
Every piece of content, blog post, webinar and infographic is supported by an ongoing, multi-week social blitz.
Result with Amplification: 45 Content Pieces X 10 Channels X 8 Weeks = 3,600 Impression Opportunities
The benefits of this are straightforward: A given piece of content has a fixed cost, a limited lifespan and a limited audience. By amplifying the content, we substantially increase the lifespan and audience while only marginally increasing the cost and effort.
Amplification is Not an Afterthought
For each type of content, the strategy and tactics will differ. By putting in some extra effort up-front, you will generate more valuable and relevant content as well as simplify the overall content amplification process.
For each piece of content, consider the following:
- What are the major relevant keywords that should be used?
- Which other content pieces does this content relate to?
- Does this topic lend itself to be organized in a way to ease the later separation into multiple smaller topics?
- If so, what are these sub-topics?
- Does this topic (or any of the sub-topics) lend itself to an infographic?
- Does this topic (or any of the sub-topics) lend itself to a webinar?
- What are the key quotes/points that can be used to drive social media?
- Who is responsible for each of the elements?
- Where does this content fit in the customer journey/lifecycle?
- What are the next appropriate calls to action?
The goal is to create a repeatable, streamlined process that maximizes content and exposure while minimizing the effort required. All of the supporting content items should be created in tandem with the core element. I recommend creating content playbooks for each type of content element indicating what needs to be created, by who and when.
Optimize for Search
Your content strategy is an extension of your search strategy. Every piece of content needs to be optimized to support the overall SEO strategy of your organization. The purpose of content is to draw in prospects and increase engagement.
- Each piece of content should focus on only one keyword phrase
- The title and URL should contain that keyword phrase
- Internal links in the site should use that keyword phrase as an anchor
- Provide contextual text such as captions or transcripts for visual and/or audio content
Cross-Linking Related Content
As appropriate, cross-link your content to other, related pieces of content to increase exposure. This linking action also signals to search engines that the each page is an authority on its specific topic, and over time, the page will rank higher and higher for the topic it covers. By doing so, you end up organizing your site’s content pages using a cleaner and more deliberate site architecture, easing both discovery and usability.
Guide Prospects with CTAs
Before developing a CTA strategy, you must understand your customer. Not all customers are the same, and not all customers are at the same stage of the buying cycle. By analyzing the customer drivers and goals at each stage of the buyer’s journey, you will be better equipped to provide relevant content that will facilitate driving the customer forward in the journey.
The buyer’s journey can be broken down many ways, as every customer, company and product has a unique path. That being said, at its core, the customer journey consists of a series of stages the prospective customer goes through, and at each stage the customer has expectations, goals and touch points. Mapping these items out to appropriate content will better prepare you to react to the customer in the appropriate way at the appropriate time.
While individual customers may contract or expand the journey, skip or insert steps, or follow completely unique paths, there is generally some commonality among them. In the B2B space (excluding post-sale activities), I generally find the following path to be representational:
The key thing to remember is that this is the buyer’s journey, and is by definition customer-centric. The goal is to engage the prospect where and how s/he wants and to provide information that is beneficial and relevant to them at their particular stage.
Since this journey can take several months — or in some cases, years — you’ll need to cater to all stages, recognizing that the vast majority of prospects will not be in an active purchase phase.
By guiding prospects down the journey, you can help ensure that you don’t try to “close the deal” too early, or lose a prospect that wandered down some rabbit hole on your site.
Develop a Marketing Calendar
If done correctly, content amplification will generate a flurry of activity across several layers of your organization. In order to streamline the process and simplify the management, I recommend instituting a content calendar.
This can consist of anything from a simple shared spreadsheet up to a specialized team-management product. Whatever you use, make sure you religiously track who is responsible for what and when, all the way through each social post for each content piece.
I also recommend using a social sharing application. This will allow you to automate the posting process. In the example in the first section above, there are hundreds of social posts that will need to be scheduled, and a social sharing application will greatly reduce that effort.
This should really be “Priority One” for any marketing team, I can not overstate the value of this one thing. To quote Peter Drucker: “If you can’t measure it, you can’t improve it.”
If you aren’t capturing the results from your efforts, then you’re flying blind. There will be no rhyme or reason to your efforts, and you will likely take two steps backward for every step forward.
Content marketing is, by nature, an upper-funnel process. Most organizations track the final step that leads to a sale, but ignore the impact of everything that transpired prior to that. By developing an attribution model that includes upper-funnel activities, you will be better equipped to prioritize your efforts and improve your ROI.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat
Content marketing is like a flywheel, the more it spins, the easier it is to keep it spinning. If you sporadically release content, you will get sporadic results intermixed with fits of starts and stops and a reduction in performance. To fully take advantage of content, you need to be all-in. The more you do, the easier it will become over time, and the greater it will pay off.