Omnichannel Marketing: Using the Content Sprout Method to Overcome Info Overload

From 2017 to 2018, we tripled our blog traffic.

I’m sure that’s a phrase that many marketers and bloggers would love to say, and here at Single Grain, it’s one we can say with confidence and accuracy.

But if getting there wasn’t tough enough, we know it’s going to be trickier to get further. “Further” meaning taking our traffic to the next level, upping website visitors to reach millions and increasing the overall quality—and quantity—of our blog posts. AKA, the dream of any content marketer.

That’s why we’re digging deep into our own analytics, and defining both content processes and distribution methods, in order to answer these main questions:

  • Were we really optimizing the content we published? Or were we just publishing, posting a link on Facebook, and then forgetting it?
  • Was our content department working in silos, or were we ensuring that our content fit across all channels?

The Single Grain team said: “It’d be great if we could position our content in front of our followers, no matter whether they prefer to listen to podcasts, download videos or read e-books.”

Enter: the content sprout method, a content marketing model broken down into three phases:

  • Seed
  • Sprout
  • Pollinate

The basis of this method is using one central piece of content to reuse across several other channels. It’s a form of omnichannel marketing—a tactic you can use to target the 98% of Americans who regularly switch between devices in the same day.

Fancy getting in on the action?

Here’s how we used the content sprout method to triple our website traffic, and how you can start using the same method to see similar results.

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Why Is Omnichannel Marketing Important?

Before we dive in with the content sprout process, let’s be clear on why omnichannel should play a huge role in your strategy.

Omnichannel marketing is the process of using multiple platforms (such as social media, apps or blog content) to give your audience a multi-channel experience. Click To Tweet

”Why is that important?” I hear you ask.

The answer is simple: Information overload is real. And if you don’t believe me, here’s what you’re competing with in a single day for your audience’s attention:

When your audience is bombarded with so much information that’s virtually pulling you them every direction, they’ll be distracted—and your content could slip through the cracks.

Considering that the average company spends between 25-30% of their overall marketing budget on content (and the most successful B2B marketers spend up to 40%), you wouldn’t be alone if you wanted to maximize the value you’re getting from your investment.

Getting maximum ROI on your content marketing is almost impossible if you’re not using an omnichannel approach to distribute your content and ensure that it’s actually seen in a world saturated with content. Click To Tweet

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How Does the Content Sprout Method Work?

Interested in learning how you can take your content and re-use it across several channels to target your audience (who are already suffering with information overload)?

We’ve got the content sprout method down to a T—and we’re sharing how you can use it.

But first, let’s cover what exactly the content sprout strategy is.

Step 1: Create Seed Content

You can’t see 3x growth if you’re not willing to invest in content. That’s a given.

But to use the content sprout method (and see similar results from it), you’ll need to start with a strong foundation. That’s what we call “seed content”—a big, meaty piece that’s already started to generate incredible results.

It goes without saying that not every piece of content you’re creating will be a seed. Video content that’s been recorded in low quality, blog posts with poor engagement or webinars that only attracted five of the 5,000 attendees you invited won’t make the cut.

Seed content needs to be the best of your content—and already proven to be popular with the audience you’re growing.

We have guidelines about what we think can be broken up into a lot of different pieces of content. But the bottom line is this: We don’t need everything to be everywhere. With information overload being a common issue, we only want to share the best.

Seed content could be:

  • The in-depth blog post
  • The really powerful YouTube video
  • The Facebook Live that got a ton of engagement
  • The speaking engagement you did at a huge conference
  • The in-depth podcast that was a hit

But regardless of the format you’re using, seed content is the best piece of content you (or anyone else!) have created around a single topic.

The process for identifying seed content is fast. You’ll want to jump onto any top-performing content before engagement dips again, so creating a streamlined process that helps to distribute your seed content across several channels is essential.

Step 2: Sprout Your Content

Great job! You’ve found a well-performing piece of content and determined that it will act as your seed.

Next, you’ll need take the seed content and “sprout” it into other types of content that are suitable for other marketing channels.

If we’re using a blog post as the seed content, here’s what usually forms our content sprouts:

  • An photo for an Instagram post, with a caption discussing the same topic
  • A 60-second video posted to Instagram Stories, with a swipe-up link to the blog post
  • Text for a Facebook post
  • A video to upload on YouTube, using the blog post as the video script
  • Turn the blog post into an episode for the Growth Everywhere podcast

It looks like a fancy way of repurposing content, right? It’s a fantastic method to make sure each content sprout reaches a new audience.

If somebody misses the tweet sharing our blog post, they don’t have to miss out on the free value we’re providing altogether. By switching up the formats and republishing content to other platforms, you’re boosting the chances of your content being seen. (Or heard. Or watched.)

That, in turn, means that you’re always proving your knowledge and have the opportunity to direct people back to your website to build your traffic.

The best part about turning a single blog post into five other pieces of content, suitable for other channels, means that we don’t have to invest extra time or effort into our content creation process. Click To Tweet

We’re not starting from scratch every time; we’re building on what we already have—and focusing on content that's already proven to engage our audience.

Talk about a win-win!

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Step 3: Pollinate Your Content

What happens when your seed content continues to perform well and your sprouted content starts to generate similar results?

Spoiler alert: The answer isn’t “leave it to do its thing.”

You should always capitalize on top-performing content—even if falls into a “seed” or “sprout” category. It’s the best way to maximize your time, and focus on things that actually help you to meet your content marketing goals faster.

That’s where the pollination stage comes in.

Step three of the content sprout method means that the Single Grain team finds these top-performing content sprouts and does one extra push to improve their reach even further.

That usually includes our CEO, Eric Siu, encouraging people to add a comment on our YouTube video or blog post, with one of these rewards being up for grabs and chosen at random:

  • A free 10-minute call per week with Eric
  • An autographed version of Eric’s book

Essentially, we’re giving people a reason to engage with our content.

And with engagement being the holy grail metric of many forms of content (because it works wonders for spreading the word—especially on social media), it’s why this content sprout method has worked so well for our website.

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Take Advantage of Content Sprouts by Using Workflows

Are you ready to start using the content sprout model to maximize the results you’re getting from content marketing, without starting from scratch each time?

You’ll need to create a workflow for each “seed” that makes it easy for everyone on your marketing team to follow, with an assignable person responsible for each task. Why? Because workflows are successful when they’re defined.

If someone knows that they’re responsible for “sprouting” content and another person knows that they’re managing the pollination tasks, there’s no overlap or confusion. And, more importantly, you’re not wasting time by having multiple people work on the same tasks.

But if you think creating workflows should be a task for project managers to own, you’re wrong. Content marketers, writers and editors should all be on-board with your content sprout workflow. Otherwise, you’re at risk of confusing the entire process—and maybe not seeing the momentous results you’re hoping for.

So, let’s put workflows into practice for three different types of seed content we create.

1) Webinars or Extended Live Video

Whenever we’re publishing webinars or an extended Live video (more than one hour in length), we’ll use the content sprout method to maximize results using this workflow:

  • Create an hour-long webinar OR extended live video
  • Break the video into five native videos for YouTube
  • For each native video:
    • Create social media Stories for Instagram, Facebook and YouTube
    • Create a native video for LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook with a post asking a related question (or asking them to comment to gain access to a downloadable resource)
  • Break the original video into five long-form blog posts
  • Promote the video through email and advertising promotion (optional)

Total: 9 pieces of content per week

2) Marketing School Podcast

We use the same approach with our Marketing School podcast (which our CEO, Eric, runs with Neil Patel), and our Growth Everywhere podcast.

Here’s the standard workflow when a podcast episode is the seed content:

  • Record the podcast episode
  • Turn the podcast script into one native video for YouTube
  • For the native video:
    • Create a Story for Instagram, Facebook and YouTube
    • Create a native video for LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook with a post asking a related question (or asking them to comment to gain access to a downloadable resource)
  • Transcribe the episode and turn it into one long-form blog post
  • Promote the video through email and advertising promotion (optional)

Total: 9 pieces of content per week

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3) Short Live Videos

We publish a live video at least five times per week.

With that, we need an extensive workflow to make sure we know where we’re up to with the content sprout method. This is what we use:

  • Create the live video on YouTube, Instagram or Facebook, using Belive.tv for additional commenting features. We also use LiveLeap to go live on the Growth Everywhere Page and Group simultaneously.
  • Convert the audio of the live video into audio for the Growth Everywhere podcast.
  • Create and upload a native video to LinkedIn, with captions and a corresponding post that asks a question (or, better yet, asks them to comment in order to gain access to a downloadable resource).
  • Post a Facebook, Instagram or YouTube story to raise awareness of the video.
  • Turn the video into one long-form blog post to publish on Single Grain.
  • If applicable: Use AgoraPulse to reach out to people who type in certain marketing keywords, and give them an offer to share the content.
  • Email promotion and ad promotion at Eric’s discretion.

Total: 9 pieces of content for 5 live videos = 45 pieces of content per week

With these three seeds alone, we create 158 pieces of content per week—or, more impressively, 8,000 pieces per year (assuming we’re sticking to the same publishing schedule, week after week).

But we don’t allow this content to sit around and get lost in our archives. Every quarter, we check back in and see whether we can build on its success even more. That usually includes:

  • Repurposing or combining posts into a cluster (for written content)
  • Mashing up several videos to create one powerful video
  • Re-promoting old content in a different way

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How Do We Keep Up with so Much Content?

The answer to that is one word: Asana—a tool we couldn’t live without.

Asana is the project management tool that houses the workflows we’ve built for each type of content seed. It’s home to our process for taking a seed from start to finish, along with important notes that’ll make it easier for our content marketing team to easily know where each “seed” is in the process, including:

  • Due date/publish date
  • Tasks to be done
  • Who’s responsible for each subtask

Most of these things are automatically saved in our templates, so our entire team know what they’ll need to do to make each content seed work. Take a look at our template for a live YouTube video, for example:

image3 4

image2 4

The same person is always assigned to the same task (for example, our social media managers are always responsible for responding to comments, whereas our editors always take the role of editing blog content prior to publication).

The same applies for our podcast seed template:

image4 4image1 4

Then, once the templates are perfected for each seed, we save them in Asana and duplicate them whenever a new seed is created. Bingo!

We know exactly what to do, and our team are automatically assigned to their task, so we don’t have any waiting around to get the ball rolling. Talk about efficiency.

<b>Click here to download it for free right now!</b>

Final Thoughts on the Content Sprout Model

As you can see, the content sprout model is a fantastic way to start diversifying the channels you’re using to promote content and engage your audience—while also maximizing the top-performing content that you’re investing in.

Remember to clearly define what makes a piece of content a “seed,” only focus on repurposing top-notch content, and create clear, step-by-step workflows (with tasks assigned to people!).

It’s the best way to keep your team—and content marketing goals—on track.

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