How to test what resonates and double down

I’ve always been a big fan of repurposing content in different places.

If you wrote it for your website, why not break it down into smaller content for LinkedIn, your newsletter, etc?

But over the past year or two, I’ve reversed the order of content creation for any of these given channels. Here’s what I mean and why…

What I used to do:

  • Write a long blog post (5-8 hour commitment) that might have four subsections
  • Turn each of those four subsections into short-form LinkedIn posts
  • Summarize the blog post and turn it into an email newsletter (and then say “click here to read the full post on our website”)

There are certainly efficiencies here and I don’t discourage the approach. But I’ve learned that there’s a better way to do it.

What I do now instead:

  • Write lots of short-form LinkedIn posts (30-minute commitments each)
  • Observe which ones get significant engagement (comments, likes, reshares, etc.)
  • Turn those into deeper pieces of content for other media (like long-form blog posts, videos or podcast episodes)
  • Use those LinkedIn posts (almost verbatim) as my newsletter content

In the end, the volume of content I’ve created isn’t all that different. But my return on effort will improve significantly.

Let me offer three points to explain why:

1. Testing a variety of topics leads to better decisions

When I start with a long-form blog post, I’m likely investing 5-8 hours crafting something from scratch. I need a topic I’m confident about. Then I need to draft it, refine it, proof read it, optimize it and publish it.

Although plenty of these blog posts will perform well, inevitably some will also flop. And given the long-term nature of winning the SEO game, it’s also likely that many will never get the visibility they need to have an impact on my business.

Now let’s say I took that same 5-10 hours and instead wrote 10-16 short LinkedIn posts to publish over the next few weeks. Starting here lets me test a variety of topics and messaging to see which resonate with my audience. Then I can double down on the winners and invest more time into expanding on them.

Simultaneously, I’m steering away from spending my time with topics that will likely garner less interest.

2. Audience feedback strengthens the content

The likes, reshares and dialogue on my LinkedIn posts absolutely tell me what’s resonating.

But when smart people build on my posts with their comments or ask me questions that prompt me to go deeper, I’m also organically fleshing out the topic in a way that speaks directly to them.

3. I first meet my audience where they are

One of the biggest marketing revelations for me over the past few years is that that people want to consume content where they are. 

If you’re killing 10 minutes on LinkedIn between meetings or scrolling through your feed while you’re watching Monday Night Football, you’re probably not interested in clicking on a link someone posted, going to their website and reading their 1000-word blog post, right? At least not most of the time.

But short, text-based insights and 1-3 minute videos get consumed like crazy on LinkedIn.

So instead of putting my heavy lifting into the blog post (my platform), I’m first doing the hard work in the place where my audience is already consuming information.

If someone who fits our ideal customer profile engages with a video or written post right there on LinkedIn (or in an email or on Facebook or wherever), great! That’s amazing brand awareness. And it’s an opportunity to earn attention and build trust.

It doesn’t all have to happen on my website. Once I realized that, I started to reach a lot more of the right people.

Let’s end on a fun note

This exact article is an illustration of everything I’ve said above.

I’ll leave you with the actual LinkedIn post I originally published (see below), which collected 4800 views, 60+ likes and 20+ comments (some of which influenced what I wrote in this expanded version).

Side note:

I timed myself writing this blog post: 75 minutes start to finish. Not too shabby!

Your turn to go make it happen.