Over 80% of marketers have been actively creating content as part of their marketing strategy in 2021, according to Hubspot’s State of Marketing Report. This means if you’re reading this blog, you’re likely leading marketing strategy for your organization and will be familiar with the following dynamic:
Dashing off marketing content is easy—a few thoughtful sentences and 20 minutes from now you’ve got a LinkedIn post ready to go. However, creating good marketing content, the kind that helps to move the dial on your customers’ decision-making, is challenging. And creating good, B2B marketing content in a scalable, consistent way is nearly impossible without a solid, documented strategy and resources to support it.
Consider this: Your team may spend five to seven hours writing a well-researched blog post and up to several weeks writing and designing an eBook or whitepaper. And that’s if everything goes according to plan: The research is at your fingertips, the subject matter experts you need to interview are on board, you have a good (and available) writer and designer and your key stakeholders sign off in a timely way. If you’re like most marketers trying to establish a weekly or even daily drumbeat with your content, it’s easy to see how the math works against you.
It’s also important to keep in mind the consistency necessary to create a cohesive experience across the customer journey. What you present to prospects at the awareness stage must dovetail with their experience at consideration, intent and conversion—repeating a similar message across these touchpoints will help to reinforce your value proposition with potential customers.
To achieve the consistency, cadence and scalability you’ll need, we’re advocates of atomizing your content through a “brick and feathers” approach to your content marketing efforts, where bricks are long-form pieces of content and feathers are related short-form pieces of content
Why the Brick-and-Feathers Strategy Works for B2B Content Marketing
The brick-and-feathers strategy works because it solves many of the pain points inherent to the modern-day marketer, including:
- Scalability: You have limited time. The thought leaders you’re tapping to help build your content certainly have limited time. By breaking your brick into feathers, you get more mileage from their input and more content to share.
- Cadence: Your content engine needs fuel to run efficiently. Using feathers from your brick increases your publication speed and reduces your team’s anxiety over daily and weekly goals.
- Message discipline: What you say to a prospect today during their awareness phase should be consistent with what you say three months from now as they make their purchasing decision. Brick-and-feathers ensures that message discipline.
The Brick: Long-Form Content
The brick is the big piece of content you sink a lot of your time into creating. It may be an eBook or whitepaper, research report or an interactive microsite that serves as the cornerstone for one of your marketing campaigns. It likely took a lot of time to produce and required the concentrated efforts of your entire content marketing dream team.
The brick involves investment, both from you to produce and from your audience to consume. In many cases, it will help to further the conversation with prospects who are deeper in the funnel. Think of it as content targeting a prospect you’ve nurtured who needs a deeper dive on a specific trend you support or problem you solve versus someone who doesn’t know you and has just landed on your content for the first time.
The Feathers: Short-Form Content
The feathers are where your content will really start to fly. Once you have the big, heavy brick produced, you can break it up into smaller, lighter, easily consumable pieces for your audience.
Examples of feathers:
- Several shorter posts posted on LinkedIn, ideally starting two to three weeks after you published the original long-form version
- A Story Stream (you should totally ask us about these)
- A series of short videos to post on your social channels
- Single-statistic visual “chips”
- Video snippets or audio soundbites
Each brick can be turned into multiple types of feathers to be used in various content marketing efforts. So keep producing those bricks and be sure you provide them with some feathers so they can take off.