Content Atomization: Why & How to Leverage Content Atomization to Improve Engagement & Results
The right content – published and distributed in the right online spaces and platforms – can capture an audience’s attention, keep them engaged, and make a brand more memorable to them. While that may not be new information to more experienced content marketers, knowing what the right content is can be a challenge for any professional or brand.
Is the “right” content a blog or a series of social media posts? Or is it a detailed report or some all-encompassing, one-stop guide? Is short-form or long-form content better?
Should content be published on a business’ website, a third-party site, social media platforms or somewhere else? Should it be a written piece, an audio piece, a video piece or something more interactive?
YES. Yes, is the answer to all of these questions.
And while that answer may seem confusing (just plain evasive or misleading) on the surface, it makes far more sense – and it is far easier to execute and leverage to your advantage – if you start incorporating content atomization into your overall content marketing strategies. Here’s why…
What Is Content Atomization?
Content atomization is basically the practice of breaking down one broader theme or more massive piece of content into smaller, focused and more strategic content pieces or elements (the phrase content atomization was first coined by Todd Defren, a globally recognized social media innovator).
With content atomization, the idea is to:
• Start serializing content, so you’re delivering smaller – but more substantive – pieces of content to your audience (over a series of days, weeks, etc.).
• Squeeze the most out of every content idea and existing piece of content that you’ve developed so that you’re using your resources as efficiently as possible – and so that your content ultimately delivers better results.
As Influencer Jay Baer has explained, content atomization starts with thinking small and deconstructing the one-stop, “mother-of-all content” piece approach.
So, for instance, instead of creating one massive piece of content that covers everything from A to Z, content atomization calls for a separate piece of content to be created for A, B, C, D and so on through to Z.
In other words, applying content atomization to this example would mean that 26 focused pieces of content (rather than 1 massive piece of content) would be created (with each piece ideally being published or delivered at some regular interval).
If you’re in the habit of creating longer, all-encompassing content pieces, then the chances are that you’ve already got the basis of content atomization going – because, after all, you’re probably creating more massive pieces of content one piece, chapter or section at a time.
So, it really comes down to how you present and publish the content (i.e., whether you’re putting it out as a massive piece that covers A to Z or whether you’re atomizing your content by putting out A, B, C and so on separately).
Why Content Atomization?
When done right, content atomization has the potential to provide:
1. SEO benefits
Many content pieces (as opposed to one massive article or blog) mean more opportunities to target a given keyword phrase and top-performing phrases related to it. This essentially means that, with content atomization, you’ll be casting out many more bread crumbs for search engines to pick up and rank.
That, in turn, can mean more opportunities for better-ranking content – and more “bait” for your target audience to find when they’re looking for information related to your atomized content.
2. Repurposing opportunities
If you really want to take content atomization to the next level, don’t just apply it to one form of content. Instead, atomize your content across different forms. In other words, set up the framework to repurpose it and use it in different formats. For instance, you can write a good multi-part blog series and use it as the foundation for a Podcast series, a series of email newsletters, a series of social media posts, etc.
Or you can take an “ultimate” guide or White Paper you’ve written and break down the chapters (or segment it in some other way) into a blog series. In other words, content atomization can help you amplify your content across different formats, different platforms, etc.
3. Better engagement
An unspoken rule of the Internet seems to be that shorter content tends to be consumed more than longer content. After all, people tend to have short attention spans, and if something isn’t immediately engaging, they can and will easily leave and find something else to occupy them.
With atomized content, however, pieces tend to be shorter (than the one-stop, ultimate piece). That can mean that people are more likely to read or view (and get through) these pieces. It can also mean that:
• You’re content spans multiple formats, making it more likely that different segments of your audience will find and engage with the format that’s most compelling to them.
• An audience is more likely to comment on, like and/or share this content.
4. Conversion opportunities
If you’re creating a series of content pieces (and regularly publishing and distributing them), you’re setting up the framework to cast out way more of your call(s)-to-action (CTA).
So, instead of just having one (or a few) call(s)-to-action in a one-stop piece, you can now exponentially increase the calls-to-action you’re putting in front of your target audience. If you have good CTAs, this can mean more conversions and leads.
How to Incorporate Content Atomization into Your Content Marketing Strategies: 42 Essential Ideas
While there’s a number of benefits associated with content atomization, here’s some more good news: there’s no limit to the ways you can incorporate this strategy into your content marketing plans and campaigns.
To help you get started, here are some indispensable content atomization ideas you can use to rethink, repurpose and rejuvenate any piece of content (or any content idea). We’ve broken these ideas down into written, as well as audio, visual and interactive, content atomization ideas.
Content Atomization Ideas for the Written Word
Take any existing, massive piece of content (or any broad content idea) and break it down into a series of:
1. Onsite blog posts (i.e., blogs published on your business’ site)
2. Off-site blog posts (i.e., blogs posted on a third-party site – These can provide great backlinking opportunities to boost SEO for your own site.)
3. Press releases
4. Cheat sheets
5. Tip or ideas lists
8. Facebook posts
9. LinkedIn posts, articles or updates
10. Twitter posts
11. Email blasts or newsletters
12. Tool kits
13. Reviews or testimonials
15. White Papers
16. Case studies
Audio & Visual Content Atomization Ideas
Segment all-encompassing content pieces or ideas into a series of:
19. iTunes episodes
20. Short videos on your website
21. Short videos on third-party sites or platforms
22. Instructional courses
24. Pinterest posts
25. Instagram posts
26. Social media photo galleries
27. SlideShare Slideshows
30. Cartoons or comics
Interactive Content Atomization Ideas
35. Contests (for user-generated content)
36. Challenges (we’ve got one for you below!)
39. Live chats
40. Google Hangouts
41. Reddit Q&As
Content Atomization: The Bottom Line
When it comes to content atomization, the bottom line is that integrating this strategy into your content marketing can be central to:
• Utilizing your resources as effectively and efficiently as possible
• Producing more engaging pieces of content
• Making sure your content gets (and stays) out in front of your target audience (and you ideal client!)
• Getting the best ROI from your content marketing campaigns.
Take the Digital Marketing Content Atomization Challenge!
We challenge you to try out this proven content marketing strategy by taking the Digital Authority Content Atomization Challenge! Here’s how:
• Choose a piece of your existing content (preferably a more comprehensive piece) or pick a broad content idea.
• Break the bigger topic down into more focused sub-topics (i.e., the topics for each segment of the series). This will serve as a roadmap for your content series.
• Pick one format (for instance, a written piece) to start with.
• Get the content atomization gears going by taking your original piece(s) and adapting it for other formats and channels. Try to put it through as many different (and applicable) content atomization channels as you can (both in terms of different content formats and different venues for publishing and distributing your content).
Share your results, experiences and perspective on content atomization (or any aspect of digital marketing) with us! Keep the conversation going in the comments below and/or on social media.