How to boost your content upgrades using atomisation

I tell you how to take one piece of content and slice and dice it into multiple lead generation tools, saving your valuable time in your business.

If your an online business owner, freelancer or sole trader, you've probably heard a lot about the value of content upgrades.

Not sure what a content upgrade is? I'll break it down real quick for you now. A content upgrade is quite simply bonus content that people can access in exchange for their email address.

I don't actually have any content upgrades on my site yet (there will be some coming very soon though so hang tight) but Melyssa Griffin does them really well, so check her website out to see what I'm talking about in action. 

There's no denying that content upgrades are great but they can be time consuming to create. It makes sense. After all, you want people to feel like your content was worth the email exchange for them. At the end of the day though, you're probably handling all the marketing for your business yourself and it can be hard to find the time to create multiple high-quality content upgrades, two detailed blog posts a week, work on your clients full-time and find new business.

So what can you do to make it easier?

Well, that's where content atomisation comes in.

I remember being in a business meeting once, talking to a colleague about content atomisation. As soon as the words left my mouth I knew I was talking in riddles and using ridiculous buzz words that no-one outside of my discipline would understand.

Once I'd described it properly my colleague got pretty excited. Why? Because atomising your content allows you to get more out of it, without adding extra hours to your work schedule. In short, you spend less time (and money) creating and you get a better return for your efforts. Sounds great, right?

What is content atomisation exactly?

In a nutshell it's the act of taking one (admittedly pretty juicy) piece of content and using it as the foundation for lots of other related pieces. I've shown how this could work in the diagram below.

Content Atomisation

As you can see, if you get that one piece of core content right, it can inform lots of other smaller pieces. These are quicker to create too, since you've already done all the hard work. Here's how it could work in practise:

Say an online-based career coaching business owner has noticed that her clients don't really understand the benefit of building their personal brand on the internet.

She decides to produce an in-depth guide about building your personal brand online. This features everything from how to purchase a domain name and set-up a blog to branding and social media best practices. She expects the guide to be around about 30 pages long.

Once finished, she has an in-depth document full of useful advice for her target audience. She will probably sell this for a small fee on her website. To draw people towards paying for the full guide, or signing up for emails by which she can advertise the guide, she teases at its value through clever distribution of supporting content.

Here's some ideas of how our career coach could atomise her guide:

  • Forming a case study of a client who has successfully used the guide
  • Presenting some of her findings in a Facebook Live 
  • Creating smaller content upgrades using the information in the guide such as cheat sheets and check lists
  • Choosing an isolated topic, say using Twitter to help build your personal brand, and sending a newsletter course to people signed-up to her newsletter 
  • Using the facts gathered to create an engaging infographic
  • Writing a number of blog posts on the topics covered in the guide

So you can see how that one piece of content can create a myriad of other opportunities for getting her brand expertise out there. 

Sure, creating a 30 page guide is no easy feat, but the hard work and dedication put into it would give her enough content to keep her editorial calendar full for months. That's the beauty of creating one piece of content that can be successfully atomised.

What's the benefit?

Well it saves you time and resource, for one, but there's many other benefits:

  • The internet moves so quickly that content can get lost which can be frustrating. If you keep one piece of content working harder for longer you'll get a better return on your investment.
  • Your audience is probably following you on different platforms. Some will read all your blogs, some might catch you on Facebook and others will only look at your website if you've sent something interesting in a newsletter. By attacking different cross-sections of your audience through a variety of content types, you should have them all covered.
  • Better than that, some people might see your content multiple times which will increase their interest and can mean they'll start sharing and engaging with your stuff. User generated content is gold for your brand so the more they see you, the more likely they are to get on-board and share your content.

So how do you get started?

  1. Take yourself somewhere creative (I like coffee shops!) and get your thinking hat on. Come up with four in-depth pieces of content, one for each quarter, to act as your core content. Each idea needs to appeal directly to your clients and provide a solution for their specific pain points. 
  2. Go off and do some research. Create outlines for you main pieces and make sure you include any relevant research that you need to gather.
  3. Take the outlines and think about how you can spread the content thinner. You'll probably find that once it's complete you'll have enough statistics for an infographic, a customer testimonial that you can easily expand into a case study and enough tid-bits to digest into an email series. 
  4. Get creating the content and see what difference it makes to your engagement, email sign-ups and social influence in your industry.

Most of all it's about experimenting. The more you experiment with your content, the better you'll get at atomising it. At the end of the day, people like to read content in different ways. I prefer to read blog posts, whereas my partner consumes everything in video.

By splicing your content upgrades to suit all different kinds of styles and mediums you're guaranteed to hit all the people you want to attract.

Have you ever atomised your content? Was it successful? If you haven't, are you tempted to try this tactic?