How to Make One Piece of Content Inspire Your Audience for a Year

August 4, 2016

LinkedIn Marketing eBook Attention Is a Currency

You have to be a pretty savvy marketer to claim an entire color for your professional brand. That’s what Joe Pulizzi and his team at Content Marketing Institute (CMI) have pulled off with the color orange. If you see orange in a marketing context, odds are you think of the Institute immediately. Spend two days at Content Marketing World, and you will be picturing Joe’s face every time you spot a traffic cone.

All of which is to say, when CMI chooses to give you an award, you know it really means something. So I am humbled and thrilled to say that LinkedIn Marketing Solutions just won a Content Marketing Award for our Attention is a Currency campaign.

Not only did this campaign create an asset I think is seriously cool, it generated some great results as well. To date, over 15,000 people have downloaded the central eBook, making it our 3rd-most successful piece of content ever. The campaign also included an infographic that got over 13,000 views, and a SlideShare with over 7,000. Even better, because it was a thought-provoking, big-concept piece, it drove higher quality leads than other campaigns. All told, we got a year’s worth of content out of the concept.

This post isn’t just to brag (I promise). Part of the mandate at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions is to try new things, find out what works, and then tell you how to duplicate our success.

With that in mind, here are a few lessons that we learned from the Attention is a Currency campaign.

1. Start with Great Content

We wanted the Attention is a Currency eBook to be the Sun in an entire solar system worth of content could revolve around. So we knew it had to have substance, had to be valuable, and had to be cool. Here are a few quick tips to creating a stellar central content asset:

  • Push Your Comfort Zone: This eBook didn’t look or feel like our usual branded offerings. It was a risk. But it was the right thing to do.
  • Work with People You Admire: We brought in Brian Solis and Hugh MacLeod because they both inspire me to be a better marketer. I admire them both, and they worked great together.
  • Say Something Meaningful: The point of the eBook is that we need to be meaningful in our marketing—and that statement was necessary and filled with meaning for marketers.

2. Don’t Amplify with One Hand Tied Behind Your Back

When you have created content you’re proud of, go all in on the amplification. The best content in the world will sit idle unless people know it’s out there. So for our initial launch, we didn’t hold back. We started with a launch announcement on our blog. Then we used every channel we had:

  • Direct email to a targeted audience of professional marketers
  • LinkedIn InMail to those who didn’t open the email
  • LinkedIn Sponsored Content for the announcement post
  • A/B tested Direct Sponsored Content to optimize the campaign
  • Our Showcase Page
  • Display Ads
  • Ads on other social media sites
  • Organic promotion on Twitter

3. Repurpose, Expand, Cross-Pollinate

Once the eBook was out in the world, we extended its lifespan and reached a broader audience by creating “turkey slice” spin-off content from it. We wrote blog posts that expanded on the ideas in the book. We created an infographic for short attention spans (and as an excuse to feature more of Hugh’s artwork). We made images for social media sharing. And we created a teaser SlideShare that introduced the key themes:

By continuously repurposing and cross-pollinating among channels, we were able to sustain enthusiasm for the eBook for an entire year. Just as we were winding down, it started winning awards.

So, what does it take to make one piece of content last a year? Start with your most epic, original, and useful content. Then amplify it to every channel where your audience can connect with it. After that, repurpose and expand on it in different media on different platforms.

And one more thing: Make it meaningful. Sure, your content has to serve a business function—that’s why we’re all here. But I’d encourage you to strive for a higher purpose at the same time. Because attention is a currency: Make sure your content is worth the asking price.

To get inspired about creating content with a purpose, download Attention is a Currency.