In today’s #ContentOnContent, we’re gonna be talking about what minimalist content marketing is, and why it’s such an important content marketing trend for you to embrace and just give a big old hug in 2019.
I spoke about this at HubSpot’s INBOUND conference earlier this year. And not to brag or anything (because it actually filled me with anxiety), but the presentation was completely booked about a week before the conference even started.
That told me, clearly this is something a lot of marketers need to learn more about. And people who didn’t attend the conference deserve to learn about it too. So let’s do it.
But before we dive into this minimalist content marketing approach, we first need to look at what most marketers are currently doing with content.
The Old Way: More Cowbell Content Marketing
The way most of us are used to doing content marketing is a very maximalist approach. I like to call it “More Cowbell Content Marketing.”
Remember that SNL sketch?
In the sketch, no matter what the question is, no matter what the problem, is or what the song was missing, the prescription is “more cowbell.”
It’s the same thing with content marketing and creation.
With More Cowbell Content Marketing, no matter what the problem or goal, the prescription is “more content.”
And that mindset and that approach might work when you’re first starting out with content marketing for your business. At that point, you don’t have existing content to work with, so you have no choice but to create stuff from scratch.
But once you’ve been using content marketing for a while, that just does not make sense anymore. Not at all.
The Problem With More Cowbell Content Marketing
Always remember that the goal of content marketing is not to create content. Even if your job title is technically “writer” or “content creator.”
Because even then, you don’t get rewarded by your boss or clients (or at least you shouldn’t) for how many words you write, how often you publish, or anything like that.
It’s not about creating content, it’s about getting results from that content.
Find customers, make money, freaking DO BUSINESS.
Content is just the mechanism that you’re using to do that.
How Minimalist Content Marketing is Different
Minimalist content marketing is about creating as little as possible to meet those marketing goals.
This is in stark contrast to the more cowbell approach, which wastes your time and energy and pulls you away from your big picture goals.
You’re too focused on keeping up with that content treadmill.
And I mentioned earlier that I’m a dancer, right? As a dancer, let me tell you:
A treadmill is one of the most boring forms of exercise. And it’s not a great content strategy, either.
Instead of running endlessly on the constant content treadmill, you need to step off every now and then to say, “how is this content performing? Is that actually getting results? What else can we do?”
If you caught the last #ContentOnContent, about Bruno Mars and Cardi B and Finesse, you know, I love me a good remix. It’s true for music, and it’s true for content marketing.
How Minimalist Content Marketing Saved My Own Butt
I like to say that I’m the perfect combination of smart, ambitious, and lazy.
I set big goals and can create strategic plans to meet them. But still, at the end of the day, I am lazy af.
Through no fault of my own, I don’t have the energy to hustle — not with multiple mental and physical chronic illnesses.
To keep going, I HAD to get amazing at figuring out exactly how much work needs to be done…and then literally no more.
Because I need to be so careful with my energy (shout-out to spoon theory!), I’m *always* calculating how to meet new marketing goals with existing content.
So minimalist content marketing saved my own a$$ and career.
“But what does it mean? How do I do it?”
If you’re familiar with the minimalism movement, a big part of it is defining what “enough” is, and not going beyond that. Another part is making the most of what you already have.
That’s the energy we need to be bringing to our content marketing.
We need to define how much content it should reasonably take to meet our business goals, create that, then go use it. Get it into the hands of our customers (or potential customers).
Successful content marketing isn’t about like how big your marketing campaigns are, how often you publish, your watch time on YouTube, or whatever other vanity metric Forbes just published an article about.
It is about meeting your marketing goals. Using content.
And minimalist content marketing focuses on that, instead of just creating content for the hell of it.
The 3 Rules of Minimalist Content Marketing
As I explained at INBOUND, there are three basic rules of minimalist content marketing:
1. Focus on usage, not creation
First, focus on using content, not creating. Again, your job as a marketer isn’t to create content, even if it technically is. The reason your job exists is for that content to do something an be used.
And so when you create content with that in mind, you can create content that better meets your goals, and is put to work in more strategic ways.
2. Create just as much content as you need, then make it work
The second rule of minimalist content marketing is to create just as much content as you need. Because again, it’s not the focus that we all though it was, for the past so many years of content marketing.
Create what you need, just as much as you need, and then go off and do something with it.
Promote it. Distribute it. Repurpose it.
Keep putting it in front of your target customers (strategically, of course) until they’re your actual customers. At least, if your goal is lead gen and conversions.
For retention content, as another example, keep offering customers the right content until they’ve repurchased or resubscribed.
Whatever you’re using content for, create the content, then go use it. Don’t lose sight of that bigger picture while you’re drowning in blog post optimization.
3. Look to remixing and repurposing existing content before resorting to creating something new
If we’ve been friends for awhile, you know that I’m all about remixing and repurposing content, and any way to get more from your existing content.
Because if your company has been using content marketing for a while already, like most of the companies that I’ve worked for or with, you already have tons of blog posts to work with.
You don’t need more, you need better.
You can go back and make those old pieces of content work so much better instead of starting from scratch.
So focus on that.
If you already have a ton of foundational stuff to work from, you don’t need to create a new blog post every time you need a blog post.
Instead go pull something that could be better, or has some kind of hidden potential. Grab that and make it better, so it meets your current goals.
Once they have that foundation to work from, smart marketers use that instead of always starting from scratch.
Get off the treadmill and on board with minimalist content marketing
If you’re ready to make your content marketing strategy a little bit more minimalist in 2019, go ahead and check out my video from last week.
And let me know in the comments if you’re onboard with minimalist marketing.
Finally, remember there is nothing, NOTHING, wrong with being lazy as long as you are smart and strategic about it.
By: Brittany Berger