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The mantra of content marketing: “Create once, use several”

When developing social media posts, there is often a knee-jerk reaction to building a channel post. It is not a good practice without foundation. We often see good social media marketers creating unique posts for each channel based on network constraints like number of characters, media limitations, calls to action, etc.

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Let’s be realistic with regard to start-ups and SMEs. Most brands struggle to post consistently on social media.

Why? Well, the factors can be many:

  1. You can’t afford somebody to do it full time.

  2. You feel like you’ve said everything you can say about your brand.

  3. You’re not sure what content resonates with your customers and what doesn’t.

  4. You didn’t understand that most social media posts won’t even get seen unless you set aside a media investment budget.

  5. Either way, you’re not convinced that social is doing anything.

The fifth point is probably the most annoying for a marketer because in most cases:

  1. Your client has tried social media for himself. It’s complicated, confusing, and feels like a COLOSSAL weather.

  2. Your client is unfamiliar with best practices for social media.

  3. In many cases, brands have limited knowledge of their customers, demographics, and personalities.

  4. Businesses can’t imagine funneling MORE money into something they already think isn’t working.

In these cases, I would recommend creating some content so that it can be used in your social graph. Yes, I know, this is NOT the best practice. Nonetheless, when you have a risk averse / tactical customer who you know needs social media, it’s often better for them to have something rather than nothing at all.

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Enter the “create once, use several” methodology.

Say, for example, you are working with a client to which you have minimal access. It is in your best interest to maximize the opportunity with this client to aggregate content for distribution over an extended period of time.

Example – content creation for a conference or live event:

  1. First of all, you need to determine the social media channels that you will target for this content.

  2. Then, collect the equivalent of what photographers would call a “Shot list”. This will be a content list of the items you hope to bring together during the event. Let’s say it will be photos and videos.

  3. You should now have a basic understanding of the types of content you want to collect during this time. Most often it will be photos, videos and audio. White papers and digital presentations also allow you to optimize your performance.

  4. Next, determine the type of content you are going to create. It can range from “In the wings” To “the man in the street” from video sequences, to an industrial overview of the company’s products and services, to the traditional interview with an emphasis on a particular subject or sensitive point.

  5. Decide if you will distribute the content on the fly, in pseudo-real time, or if you intend to tweak it and distribute it at a later date. I often used “Street teams” young social professionals to infiltrate and collect content during an event.

  6. CTÉ NOTE: You can never have enough content. So take the opportunity to take as many photos and videos as possible and record all possible interviews. The material can always be reused later.

Now this is where the rubber meets the road. How do you intend to take content and distribute it across multiple social channels in a way that feels appropriate to that particular network or audience? This, ladies and gentlemen, is an art form. It’s a part of the program, partial narration, part of the channel’s specific audience expectations.

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Let me explain this practice in content marketing to you. Take the example of a five minute video with your primary customer.

  1. A five-minute interview with a client won’t be perfect all in one take. Also, keep in mind that no one in their right mind is going to sit down and watch a five minute YouTube video. Therefore, you want to do a bit of post-production and remove errors, gaps, and irrelevant content.

  2. Now take another look at the content and see if it can be crawled into multiple sections. The sweet spot will be around 30-45 seconds for YouTube. Clips that are 10-15 seconds shorter make great content on Instagram and Vine.

  3. Now, let’s take it upon ourselves to develop a teaser campaign for this content. Setting up multiple social media posts (maybe even a short blog post) that talk about an upcoming educational interview with a famous client might spark the interest of your audience.

  4. You can now freely distribute these videos on your social networks for a period of time, subject to your particular campaign guidelines.

  5. To further clarify the fourth point, one could write an engaging blog post about the interviewee’s interview and history. The blog post is said to feature one of the deepest and most lengthy video clips yet. Follow up by distributing other critical points in a shorter format against the appropriate channels.

Now we’ve taken a video and built a multi-channel distribution program out of the content. This approach can be compelling with any number of pieces of content. With a SlideShare presentation, for example, you can pull a slide and turn it into a powerful Facebook pano image.

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One size does not fit all

In that little mantra, I entrust clients and social media teams that we need to reuse content and imagine which channel it is best suited for and size and resize appropriately.

For example, a horizontal video could be:

  • A live stream

  • A still image of an email that leads to video on an article page

  • Summary of a presentation

  • A living room loop

  • A square format now works for MOST social media wall posts

  • A vertical of this video now works for story runs / TikTok

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Alert to content creators !!!

A word of warning – this will take a bit more planning in your shortlist, as you’ll want to address the dial position to meet both horizontal and vertical execution.]

  • Find your “sweet spot” in your gear that will allow content in the center to run both horizontally and vertically without being cut off.

  • Keep in mind that you need to record audio even if you are not using it, as it may make it easier to convert to closed captions.

  • Think About Timing – If the entire clip is 2 minutes long, start mentally analyzing where your edits will be to tighten it up for the shorter clips. Better yet, write a few takes at different speeds.

Most importantly, spend time creating the best possible product. To paraphrase Ricky Bobby: If it’s not convincing – it’s boring.