Pyramids and Pillars: Keeping up With Content Creation

Keeping up with content creation using pillars and pyramids

Silence/Silencio” by SantiMB via Flickr | CC BY 2.0

Keeping up with all the content you’re supposed to be creating can be an overwhelming job. From daily social media posts to weekly blogs to monthly long-form content like white papers and ebooks, the list keeps growing. The key to being able to keep up is to have a plan and to get as much as you can from every word by using a content pyramid or pillar system. Here’s how it works.

Build the Foundation

The foundation of your pyramid or the cornerstone of your pillar is made from long, researched pieces. Things like ebooks, white papers, webinars, and even print books fall under this category. The idea is to spend the most time and resources on these pieces so they are of the highest quality and contain the most information. These are often used as offers in exchange for contact information to support lead generation and can be a valuable asset to any content marketing strategy.

Fill the Middle

Once your foundation is built, it’s time to fill the middle. Things like blog posts and website articles, infographics, shorter webinars and presentations, podcasts, and other materials can be built on the foundation piece. If you’re starting with a print book or ebook, each chapter can be split out into several blog posts and podcasts and an article can be written with supplemental information. Key statistics and other facts can be consolidated into a visually appealing infographic. The idea is to use the research and effort that went into the foundation materials to create these pieces so you won’t need to spend so much time creating them.

Tie it Together

By now you should have a great deal of content that all focuses around one main idea or topic and have it distributed in a variety of places. The top of the structure is filled with quick, easy content that promotes your middle content and draws in new readers and possible leads. Facebook updates, tweets, and LinkedIn posts are the perfect place to put all of these efforts.

Try it in Reverse

If creating a cornerstone piece seems overwhelming, try working the process in reverse. Collect a few facts about a topic that you’d like to discuss and write a few tweets and Facebook posts. Expand on those facts over several blog posts and articles and consolidate them into an attractive infographic. Then, collect everything you’ve done and put it all together into an ebook or a few whitepapers. Working this way can spread the work out over the course of several weeks while giving you a constant stream of content for your website. 

Don’t Forget the Daily Rounds

This entire strategy focuses on long-term content creation for your website, but you still need to make your daily rounds. Visit other websites and blogs and join in a few conversations. Keep your Facebook and Twitter feeds full of interesting and entertaining content for your fans and followers – don’t just fill it up with promotional posts for your other content. And always stay on top of industry news and trends to be sure you’re not missing out on opportunities to start new discussions.

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Having Trouble Convincing the Boss that Content Marketing is Worth It?

Let me help you out!

Chances are that if you’re trying to convince your boss that content marketing is worth it – that is, that content marketing will provide enough in revenues to make the investment a smart business decision – you’ll need a bit of proof and a case study or two to make your point. Here’s some of the best and most interesting information I’ve collected from around the web to help you get started.

From the 2015 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks Report:

  1. 86% of B2B Marketers are using content marketing.    [tweet this]
    Why is this important? If you’re having a hard time convincing the boss, perhaps knowing that they’re falling behind the competition will help get them moving.
  2. 70% of B2B marketers are creating more content than they did one year ago.   [tweet this]
    Not only are most B2B marketers using content marketing, most of them are upping their game. If you wait too long to get in the game, you’ll have a lot of work to do to catch up.
  3. Only 38% of B2B marketers find their strategy effective.   [tweet this]
    While this might sound like the report suggest that 62% of B2B marketers think that they’re wasting their efforts, I think this means that most marketers think that they can improve their efforts and refine strategies to get better results. What this means for you is that there’s still room for newcomers.
  4. Only 35% of B2B marketers have a documented strategy.   [tweet this]
    I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the percentage of marketers that have a written plan is almost the same as the percentage of marketers that find their strategy effective. Clear goals with solid plans are the path to success.

There’s a lot more in the report that you’ll find interesting if you’re trying to make the case for content marketing or if you’re trying to improve your overall strategy. One thing’s for sure: content marketing is evolving to meet the needs of marketers and it’s here to stay.

A Little More Backup

  1. Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing while generating three times as many leads. (DemandMetric)   [tweet this]
  2. Content marketing leaders enjoy almost 8 times as much unique website traffic growth than others. (Aberdeen)   [tweet this]
  3. 87% of marketers are using social media as part of their strategy. (CMI)   [tweet this]
  4. 76% of B2B marketers are blogging, 63% are creating white papers, 34% are publishing ebooks (CMI)   [tweet this]
  5. Brands that create 15 blog posts per month enjoy an average of 1,200 new leads every month. (HubSpot)  [tweet this]
  6. 64% of marketers outsource writing to help meet their goals. (CMI)   [tweet this]
  7. 50% of consumer time online is spent with custom content. (HubSpot)   [tweet this]
  8. 90% of consumers find custom content to be useful and 70% of them also believe that the creators of this content want to build good relationships. (McMurray/TMG)   [tweet this]
  9. 61% of consumers say they are more likely to buy from a company that delivers custom content. (Custom Content Council)   [tweet this]
  10. The average cost per lead using inbound tactics is $143, compared to $373 using traditional outbound tactics. (Hightable)   [tweet this]

Hopefully this gives you a good start to compiling the proof you need to convince the boss that it’s time to start planning a content marketing strategy for 2015. Each of the referenced sources provides tons of more data and information, most are reports, surveys, and studies and not just individual statistics. What it all boils down to: content marketing works and is cost effective.

Content Curation II: Where to Find Things to Curate


Attendee Lists” by Quinn Dombrowski via Flickr

For some people, the thought of not being able to find enough content from around the web to talk about and share on your blogs and social media accounts seems a little nuts. I mean, there’s so much out there that it should be impossible to fall short, right? The trouble lies in finding quality content to talk about. Anyone can find a dozen kitten videos in ten seconds or less, but if you’re having trouble finding quality material and industry leaders to follow, stay tuned. [Read more…]

Style vs. Grammar: Make the Most of Your Content Writer

style guide

photo credit: “I Have Style” by Dave Crosby | CC BY 2.0

The whole idea of using a content writer to boost the professional web presence of a company is becoming more and more common. While customers will always want to hear your voice, not everyone is a writer and not everyone is able to produce effective content for the web on a regular basis.

Hiring a painter to come to your home and bring your interior decorating visions to life is nothing new. They have the skills and expertise to get the job done right, and when the job is done it is still your home that people see and your decorating ideas that are showcased. Content writers perform a similar task: they take your ideas and bring them to life quickly and effectively so you can get the web presence you’re looking for.

[Read more…]