How to Make More From Less with Content Atomization

November 10, 2015 Victoria Hoffman

Content Atomization

Raise your hand if at least one of these content marketing problems is making your role as a content marketer that much more difficult:

  1. You’re low on resources (team, time, and/or budget)
  2. You’re having trouble consistently creating relevant content for your audience
  3. You need to distribute and promote your content more efficiently to get your message across

If you struggle with any or all of these three content marketing issues on a daily basis, you're not alone. But starting a support group for resource-scant content marketers isn't going to do you much good. You probably already know that it’s time to switch-up your content marketing tactics and make some big changes to repair the big problems in your content marketing strategy.

But what if fixing  the aforementioned content marketing problems doesn't require any big or drastic changes? What if all of your content marketing problems could be solved by thinking smaller?

Atomizing content atomization

You probably have an idea of what content atomization entails, simply because it's one of those tactics that defines itself — “content”, of course, refers to your marketing content, and “atomize” means “to treat as made up of many discrete units” or “to reduce to minute particles or to a fine spray”.

Content atomization entered the content marketing scene back in 2008, when the term was coined by Todd Defren of SHIFT Communications. Despite the age of the term, it hasn't dwindled into buzzword status — if anything, it's a tactic that's become more important than ever, fueling the content strategies of the likes of Convince & Convert.

Convince & Convert's Jay Baer offers a clear and concise definition of content atomization as it's used today:

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

You’ve probably heard of content repurposing or recycling, but content atomization is a bit different in that it goes beyond transforming an eBook into several blog posts, or transforming one piece of content into another.

While repurposing or recycling content can also be an effective tactic for low-resource content marketing teams, it doesn’t necessarily resolve the issue of effectively using content ideas and spreading thought leadership through your content.

Jay Baer compares content atomization to “getting more bait in the water” or creating “info snacks”:

"Don’t put all your thought leadership eggs in that one, large basket. Like a salad at a fancy restaurant, deconstruct that white paper and instead create an array of info snacks that you can sprinkle across the Web."

There's no need to reinvent the wheel time and time again by coming up with the next Big Idea at every single content brainstorming session, especially if your resources are running low. Use your time more effectively by taking your big ideas, making them small, and spreading them everywhere.

Reinvent the Wheel

Source: Trimaps

Getting more from less

Marketers often rely on repurposing as a crutch, thinking, “Oh, we can just repurpose that one later.” Content atomization strategy, on the other hand, requires some more forward thinking.

When developing your atomization strategy, consider the following:

  • Audit your existing content to find atomization opportunities — atomization will come easier if you plan for it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t apply it to the awesome content you’ve already created. Conduct a content audit to determine your top performers. Consider the top performing elements and the target persona for each piece of content, and atomize accordingly.

  • Include atomization in your content plan and editorial calendar — Convince & Convert created a great content atomization worksheet to help you figure out how you should approach your atomization strategy — start here, and work these tactics into your new and improved content plan.  

  • Consider all possible atomization segments — part of the purpose of atomization is to ensure your content is speaking to all of your audience segments. Don’t just atomize based on one content concept — atomize based on the audience segments and channels that you want to reach.

Atomization to the rescue

Content marketers have big targets to hit with their content, and operating as a low-resource or one-person content team certainly doesn’t make it easy to reach them.

Even if you’re the most efficient team in the world, there are only so many ideas that your team can come up with, and among these, a finite number that will turn into relevant content for your audience.

Stop spending so much time coming up with content ideas and start spending more time strategically atomizing your content. 

Learn about content atomization from Jay Baer. Watch our webinar → Atomize Your Content: Taking Big Ideas, Making Them Small, and Spreading Them Everywhere.

About the Author

Victoria Hoffman

Victoria is the Content Specialist at Docebo.

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