How To Make Your Content Work Harder

Creating content, especially in-depth, researched content like infographics, ebooks, or videos, takes work. Constantly generating new piece of content after new piece of content takes a significant amount of your time, your energy, and in many cases, your money.

It doesn't have to be that hard.

When you create one piece of super-awesome, super-helpful content like an ebook, you don't have to pat yourself on the back and move on. You now have a repository to build ten times the amount of content—just from that one ebook. 

It's called content atomization, and what it basically means breaking your big ideas into smaller, snackable pieces of content so that every time you put the resources together to make something, you're not just making one thing. In the words of Jay Baer:

Content atomization = Taking a strong content marketing platform or theme, and executing it in many strategically sound ways.
— Jay Baer

Snowball Your Idea Into Every Channel

When you create an ebook—we can use Litmus' State of Email Salaries as an example—you're starting with a small handful of snow. You already had a great idea and put together a ton of research to make it happen.

From there, start to think about how you can leverage that piece of content in every other channel. With each new channel you add, you're adding snow to your snowball...until it can have a mind of its own.

Related: Why You Shouldn't Focus On Going Viral


Once you have the idea, you can now think about:

  • Turning each chapter of the ebook into a blog post
  • Running a webinar presenting your findings (or applying to speak on that subject)
  • Hosting a Twitter Chat or Facebook Live interview deconstructing the ideas
  • Distilling each key research question into its own blog post
  • Guest posting on the topic on other blogs or in the media
  • Chatting about the topic on a podcast
  • Turning the key takeaways into an infographic
  • Building content around the idea. In the Salaries example, Litmus created a how-to guide for email marketers to advocate for themselves in time for their next salary negotiation.

That's a LOT of content out of one ebook. And each time you atomize the content, you're adding another opportunity for thought leadership on that topic.

Atomize Based On Your Audience

One other way to turn your big idea into something smaller is to recycle it based on audience. If you're working with multiple personas, summarize that ebook into blog posts, short videos, or other content geared specifically towards that persona. Or, create a one-page PDF for your sales team. 

That way, you're talking about the same idea, but in the language best suited to that specific audience, rather than blanketing your research. This works especially well if you have clear takeaways that impact a variety of audiences.

Returning to the Email Salary ebook example, the research covers takeaways for email marketers and designers (how their salary stacks up against others in the community, by geography) but also for managers (how email teams are commonly put together and how they divide their roles.) In the course of your research, see where you can take the same idea and look at it from different perspectives. What will appeal to the different segments of your audience?

Alternatively, Add Your Ideas Together

Even if you think you don't have the resources to put together a larger endeavor like an ebook, you probably do, if you have a blog. Look back at your blog posts and see if they fall into any particular categories or themes. Then, bundle up all of the blog posts from a specific category into a larger ebook. To make this work, the only extra writing you have to do is to packaging it together—ensure the transitions work, add images and calls-to-action, and add an introduction and conclusion.

The best way to figure this out is to perform a content audit and look through your content. Maybe you've already used categories to sort out your blog posts—in which case, start there. Have you written enough about a topic that, when taken together, you can add value? 

Chances are, you have.

So, what will you create?