Atomized Content: Creating the Content Bomb

In today’s digitally-obsessed world, content is king. Google’s search algorithms look for and actively reward frequency and relevance of content, it helps brands develop awareness and authority in a saturated marketplace and it provides fuel to your social media fire. But as we jump into the informational age of marketing, are we making the most of our content?

I’ll admit, I’m not. Even just this week I’ve been caught saying I’ll “link up my blogs” to social media. I mean, isn’t that how you expose your content and expand your reach? Throwing it out there and hoping it sticks? No?

In a marketing scene as ephemeral as Snapchat, one where 140 characters equals fully-formed thought processes, the idea of repurposing content in its entirety is tired and ineffective. Atomizing your content – or breaking it down into smaller pieces (you know, like atoms) – makes your amazing piece more searchable, more findable and allows the content to be consumed more.

Ann Handley, who co-penned the book Content Rules with C.C. Chapman, said it best, explaining the concept of taking one big idea and creating multiple executions from it increases efficiency, exposure and meets today’s consumer needs.

“We recommend that businesses reimagine their content, but that they don’t recycle it,” said Handley. “It’s not about taking a blog post and just putting it on Pinterest and on Facebook and on LinkedIn. You’re just filling links that way. It’s important to reimagine it completely. Take something and create something new out of it.”

It’s time to work smarter, not harder.

One of the hardest pieces of today’s content-focused marketing industry, though, is the practice of actually developing really good content. According to Altimeter, 70 percent of B2B marketers struggle with creating valuable content. It’s hard! It takes time, money, effort, attention span and, usually, at least some form of collaboration with your peers. This is where repurposing content comes in.

Take your brilliant ideas and use them with a cohesive strategy. I’m not suggesting more ideas or even a ton of additional work. Rather, take your already awesome idea and turn it into several smaller ideas. Stop creating the “mother of all” whatever it is and instead take on the larger number of less massive content executions.

Content atomization can’t be an option anymore.

Repurposing content has to be part of your strategy for success. Atomization isn’t a new concept; marketers have been using it for generations. Charles Dickens, for example, was one hell of a content marketer. He published every one of his novels in serial form, shifting between weekly and monthly episodic fiction. Breaking his content down into bits made his work more accessible to the masses.

Fast-forward to today, we have infinitely more avenues to create accessible content. Through blogs, social media, email signatures (we know a thing or two about those!), websites, ebooks, podcasts, video, audio, visuals; our users are no more than the push of a button away. But somewhere between Dickens and Kardashian, the marketing industry shifted to a “bigger is better” mindset. Consumers are looking to see the pendulum swing the other way again, creating a need for repurposing content. By breaking down stellar content into bits we’re able to cover more ground, reach more people, create hyper-relevant content, and amplify our reach.

Think small to reach big.

Mammoth companies like Disney are feeding the atomization machine, capitalizing on identifying where their consumers are in marketing process and delivering content to their fingertips. Take the record-shattering success of the latest Star Wars film, for instance. Obviously, the fan in me was engrossed by the movie, but as I stood in line opening night, some of my marketer-mind started leaking out. I was intrigued, I know Star Wars is revolutionary, but this crowd was insane! How’d they do it? How did Disney create such an intense and relevant hype about this release?

From the day Disney signed the deal to acquire Lucasfilm in 2012, they began releasing limited bits of information about Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The first teaser (88-seconds of mind-blowing brilliance) was released more than a year ahead of the 2015 opening. A second teasers was out nine months prior and the official trailer debuted about two months before the film’s release. From October until opening week in December, it seemed like new content was surfacing every few days. And, the marketing team at Disney hardly limited their efforts to visual engagement. New information was released in bits (read: atoms) on their website and on social media. With each new release on every platform anticipation grew and left you wanting more.

Classic atomization.

Right, but how?

So I’ve sold you on why you should do it, but now you need to know how. Let me paint you a picture: You’ve spent hours and hours researching data, and you’ve created a detailed whitepaper that addresses the behemoth of topics for your clients. It has several sections of information in it and is backed by a hefty amount of data, it has quotes from your customers, measured ROI analysis, a lifelike pictorial of Ryan Reynolds doing his daily 5 miles, you get the picture. You publish it on your website, but then what?

Repurposing content is the name of the game. Each section offers opportunity to be the subject of a blog post. With some creativity and a touch of graphic design you can maneuver it into several infographics. Social posts are a given, too.

Another space to break it down and spread your knowledge is in your email signature. On average you send around 10,000 emails a year to your most important contacts. Including a call-to-action for your new ebook adds a new marketing channel. Sigstr, an email signature generator, helps you cut through the noise and share your most important initiatives automatically through your signature block.

Need more ideas to use your email signature block design for marketing? We know a thing or two on the subject. Check out this handy resource:

Sandbox Case Study from Sigstr