Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Newfangled works with independent agencies to create lead development web platforms for their clients.

Scaling the Content Mountain

Planning a long-term content marketing strategy isn't easy. In fact, once you realistically lay out your goals and the steps you'll need to take to reach them, it can seem like an insurmountable task. But the steps are actually what will make reaching your goal possible. Without them, it would be easy to rush toward an outcome for which you're not yet acclimated.

This month we'll follow up January's article on content with one that methodically builds a long-term but comprehensive content marketing strategy. If your goal is to make it to the top, you'll need to learn how to successfully master each step in-between and maintain a slow and steady pace.


1. How blogs, newsletters, and case studies will help you to attract, inform, and engage prospects through your website.

2. Strategies for deepening the content experience on your website with webinars, audio and video.

3. How to expand your content marketing plan to include offsite opportunities to write and speak.

4. What it's like to publish a book.


Theresa | February 23, 2012 9:08 PM
This is an excellent post highlighting how to plan and implement a content development strategy.

jon | February 23, 2012 6:18 PM
great roadmap for all things content. i will be using this to guide my clients from now on.
Sonja Jefferson | February 23, 2012 5:28 PM
Thanks Chris,

Here's what I mean by stock and flow content: That might have needed some explanation. You're right - it does look very different depending on the client.

For the record - I love your newsletters! They are not too long for me at all. I revel in their long form nature and the depth of the ideas they convey. All I was saying is that long form for a newsletter is not the only way to deliver value. I love this for example from consultant Mel Lester - Short form with links, not a lot of design but so definitely valuable to his very defined client base. He knows what his clients are interested in, serves them through his content and is rewarded in leads and sales.

Thanks very much about the book. I'd really love your view - will email on that one. Please keep up the long form newsletters. They are fabulously valuable content (and get a mention in our book!).

All the best from over the pond,


Christopher Butler | February 23, 2012 4:16 PM
Alex: Yes, Stage 1 is a huge amount of work on it's own. Growing beyond that stage either takes a lot of money, people, or time. To clarify: We didn't start this in 2007, I just used that as a starting place to keep the visualization concise. Had I included everything, the data would have started back in 2001 when Eric Holter first started writing our newsletter. Five years later, we started a blog, but didn't really get serious with it until 2007. (In fact, we deleted everything from before 2007.) With that information in the visualization, it would have been significantly longer and, really, a lot of wasted space. Make sense?

Sonja: Yes, very similar! I like your approach, though I'd imagine the "stock" phase would look pretty different depending upon the client. The reason I call the second stage a "deepening" stage is because we've found that diversifying the format extends the life of any firm's content as well as the audience. In a way, you could consider any firm's knowledge base the real content, and then any format that it chooses to use a manifestation of that content. In that way, you might put an idea into writing in a newsletter, which meets the needs of those inclined to read longer-form content, then simplify it a bit in a blog, which gets to those who need something more brief, and then expand it again in a webinar, which gets to those who prefer to watch and listen than read. The principle here is to appropriately extend the life of your content without being unnecessarily repetitive or saturating your subscribers. I think diversifying formats does that while also offering the opportunity to depend the content experience across your site in general.

With all of that said, I think you're right (as I read you between the lines): I tend to write newsletters that are probably way too long for many readers. Honestly, that's partly just who I am—I have a difficult time simplifying what I write because I'm generally over-concerned with being clear (or, neurotic). As you point out, this article could probably be reformatted into several blog posts, each of which would probably be just as satisfactory as the original piece, but enable more people to engage with its material. Point taken! As for including this framework in your book, you may indeed. I'd love to get a look at it before it's published, if possible.

- Chris

P.S. Thanks for spreading this via Twitter!
Sonja Jefferson | February 23, 2012 12:14 PM
Fantastic Christopher!

I have a three stage model for my clients which is pretty similar, starting with an achievable level of communication and upping the value as you go.

Flow = blogging, monthly newsletter, social media and of course case studies to back it up

Stock = up the value with some really good cornerstone content valuable downloads e.g. Ebook or whitepaper and non-wordy content such as video, audio or webinar

Book = The most valuable content of all and as you say, the very top of the tree

I hadn't thought about your stage 3 moving it off your site, but that's very valid layer. I would love to mention this in the book would you mind? Will credit you of course. No worries if you'd prefer to keep it to yourselves!

There are some brave clients who take a slightly different approach. They 'Go Large and Repurpose'. They go for flow and stock all at once creating a new content-rich website and leaping in with a blog, case studies, newsletter, social media and also a valuable download (nice piece of stock content) from the start. This takes longer to set up but the benefit is that they have a valuable source of content they can repurpose from the start.

Your newsletter advice made me think too. No doubt your long form newsletters are incredibly valuable I always read them and they are consistently good. There are other newsletters I value too and they are different. Really good round-up type newsletters can be equally valuable if well done in my view. As long as businesses take the time to keep in touch by email with a valuable communication each month I'd be happy. So many companies miss a trick by not doing this.

Would welcome your thoughts on all of this.

Off to Twitter to go and share your latest newsletter!

Alex | February 21, 2012 9:51 PM
Wow, firehose is right. So, thanks for the roadmap. I think stage 1 is probably as far as most people want or need to go, but seeing how things could ramp up from there is enlihgtening.

Also dig the infoviz. One question though: you guys started doing all of this in 2007? Would love to hear a bit of history on that to explain the chart some.

↑ top