Creating A Waterfall Content Strategy

It can be difficult to produce consistent content. Sometimes there are simply no ideas to produce fresh content, even if you have a great marketing plan in place. It would be wonderful if you could ensure those creative weeks came just as consistently as the need to produce new content did. There is a way to ensure you will always have a bevy of original content even if your creativity is blocked. Here’s a plan from James Carbary to help you do this.

Begin With a Solid Structure

Gary Vaynerchuk, founder of VaynerMedia, gave advice in a recent video (below) and one thing stood out in particular: you need a structure when you create content.

Vaynerchuk can churn out lots of content on a weekly basis. He can do this partly because of his two YouTube shows where he asks the audience to ask him questions via social media. He doesn’t have to speculate about what the people want- he simply asks them.

DailyVee is another way Vaynerchuk receives his waterfall content. It is a documentary style video of 15 minutes or less in which he gives daily advice and commentary about what’s going on in his world. It is invaluable to any B2B executive.

What do you do if you don’t have the budget to make videos such as these? There is a realistic way to use his strategy.

“Content on Content on Content” Strategy

Vaynerchuk uses the content he receives from his videos in several different ways. In his article, Content on Content on Content, he writes,

“I’m about to get real meta on you: the article you’re about to read was made from a video, that was made from the making of an article, that was originally based off a video.”

He continues,

“When you have something at the top, use it as a source to create other content.”

Vaynerchuk believes that this is the framework for real content strategy. The two video shows have allowed his team to do several things and here are a few:

  1. LinkedIn published posts
  2. Facebook video
  3. Blog posts from transcripts
  4. Specific answers from some videos are edited into shorter videos and posted on another channel.
  5. Medium articles
  6. Quotes are turned into infographics and memes for Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
  7. Instagram stories & Snapchat

In essence, they have created a framework that has produced a consistent flow of excellent content.

What is Waterfall Content?

Industry insider and founder of Sweet Fish media James Carbary defines waterfall content as, “Content created inside a defined structure that can fuel an entire content marketing strategy.” Carbary uses it at Sweet Fish and with their podcast B2B Growth Show. As a result, they saw a 300% growth in revenue in the first quarter of 2016.

Some leads they have received has grown exponentially, and it has also allowed them to establish the kind of credibility that is much sought after in their industry. It has also enabled them to foster meaningful relationships with ideal clients as well as industry insiders and influencers.

How you can implement this approach using a waterfall content strategy at your business.

Picture a waterfall: an avalanche of water pours over the edge of a cliff, and it splashes down furiously to make a tremendous impact on the flowing river beneath. That is a powerful image, but consider this: the source of this big, powerful waterfall is a single river or stream.

That river is the source of your waterfall content. It is simple and not very exciting, but if it is handled in the right way it can lead to an avalanche of content that significantly impacts your content marketing strategy. The waterfall content strategy all begins with a podcast.

Carbary says that for Sweet Fish, the “waterfall” content is from their podcast the B2B Growth Show, an interview-based show where they speak with B2B sales and marketing executives. They use the interviews to create a variety of content for multiple platforms, and this creates an impact that extends far beyond that of one podcast.

How Waterfall Content Flow Works

Let’s take the following hypothetical scenario to reveal how waterfall content strategy works. Securely is a venture-backed SaaS startup that provides cloud security solutions. Joe is the CMO of Securely. One of their best customers is the CTO of a mid-market tech company named Megan. Joe wants to make sure his content team created content that attracts CTOs like Megan.

However, Joe is not a CTO, he’s a marketer, and therefore he doesn’t understand which topics will be most engaging for CTOs to attract them to his product. Joe’s creative team has started to run out of creative content ideas.
Then Joe decides to create a weekly podcast in which he interviews CTOs. This show reveals to him what CTOs care about and what industry topics are relevant to them. By doing this, Joe finds the river in the waterfall scenario, and he does it without any guesswork involved.

Now every interview that Joe’s show does becomes a resource for any other CTO, Securely’s ideal clients. Securely’s content strategy is now focused on exactly what CTOs want to talk about. Joe creates the podcast and can go straight to the source without his creative team having to guess about anything.

How Do You Do It?

So how do you pull something off like Joe did? Again, it all begins with a podcast. There is a process to this, and it works time and again in a variety of industries.

To do this. First you need to find guests. Most of the guests will be ideal clients, so you will want to start working with your sales team to find them. Use the best fit accounts from your customer list and begin from there. You can also use a data provider like MountainTop or a prospecting tool like LeadFuze to find them if you can’t get them from your sales team.

Now it’s time for outreach. You’ll want to send a brief email asking someone to be a guest on your show. Remember to focus on them. You should focus on why you think they would be ideal for your show. You should also put a link to your show, website and social media in the emails. Lastly, make it easy for them to respond.

Now you need to produce the Podcast. There are several parts to this process. First, you need to record the interviews and Skype is great for that. You can record the Skype calls with Call Recorder (for Mac users) or Pamela (for PC users).

After doing this, you’ll need to edit the audio so that you will need an audio engineer. They will edit the interview, add the show music and the standard intro to each episode.

Copywriting

You should send the original cut of the video over to a copywriter. Make sure your copywriter takes care of the following:

  1. Headlines. There should be 3-4 for every episode. You can then use these for social media posts.
  2. Episode summaries. This will be used on iTunes, but you can also post them on your website.
  3. Quotes. The copywriter should pull memorable quotes from the interview which will be later turned into graphics to be used on social media.
  4. Blog posts. This is an important one. Since more people read articles online then tune into podcasts, it is important that you have a version of the interview up online available for people to read. Use this 12-part checklist as a guide to writing readable and shareable blog posts.
  5. Graphic design. Your graphic designer will use each headline to design something for each podcast. They can also create graphics from quotes from the interview.
  6. Uploading. Once you have everything complete from above, it’s time to upload your podcast to iTunes and your website. There are several details (spacing, image placement, click-to-tweet links, etc.) that you need to keep in mind each time you upload and episode. You will need an administrator that is detail-oriented to be in charge of this process.

Follow Up

There are four stages to the follow-up process:

  1. “Your episode is live!”
    When an episode goes live make sure to send the iTunes and website links to the featured guest. The guests will send it out to all their social media contacts, thus increasing your audience.
  2. Repurposed into a blog post.
    Go live with your blog post that contains the written interview one week after the episode airs. Make sure to let your guest know about it and send them the link. This will send traffic to your website.
  3. Working together
    Two weeks after the guest’s episode has gone live, it would be wise to email each guest to open up a dialogue about starting a working relationship with them.
  4. Stay in touch
    Make sure to stay linked in and connected with each guest after they appear on your show. You should try to nurture a lasting relationship with each guest. This article is helpful as it goes into depth about this subject 23 different ways to cultivate relationships with your podcast guests.

Turning a River Into a Waterfall

Now that you understand how to produce a podcast you have your foundation for your waterfall content strategy. The podcast is the river but how do you turn it into a waterfall?

You need to use the interview and podcast to produce all types of content such as the ones outlined above. You need to use it to produce graphics, blog posts, tweets, etc. to utilize the waterfall content approach. You need to also follow these three steps:

Dig Thorugh Your Source Material

One great interview with an industry insider is your source material. If you have one important guest talk about hot topics, it produces a flood of content. The guest also benefits as well because it adds to their eWOM (electronic word of mouth) and brand.

Try to schedule industry influencers and insiders for your show, and you will reach all of their social media followers when they spread the word about the show on social media. In fact, connecting with their followers brings us to step 2.

Expand Upon Your Content

Your target audience will get a lot out of your podcast. However, the key to the waterfall content strategy is to expand the content from this interview. You’ll need to get it to various news outlets and social media platforms such as LinkedIn and Twitter. There are a variety of online magazines and blogs that may want to use the interview to do a feature piece. So basically, keep utilizing the media and the internet to spread the content from one interview out to as many people and platforms as possible.

Types of Micro-Content

There are five more types of micro-content that can come directly from your podcast if you have the resources.

  1. 1-2 minute video clips. You can use the best audio clips from the interview set with your podcast graphics to produce short videos which can be published on YouTube or Facebook.
  2. Use Facebook Live or Periscope during the recording. You can use these to record live videos from your interviews and allow the audience the ability to post direct questions to your guests.
  3. Anchor. It’s like Twitter, but with audio only. The platform gives you the ability to post micro audio clips (2 minutes or less) into a newsfeed similar to Twitter. Once the Skype call with each guest ends, you can share it as content for Anchor.
  4. Snapchat & Instagram Stories. Use photos from the interview to engage with your audience. These platforms allow them to share their social handles (personal and company) to their followers.
  5. Instagram images. Have your designers reformat images from the show for Instagram. Add the link from each corresponding interview to the post.

So Many Benefits

As you can see, there are endless benefits to a waterfall content strategy.
To sum it up: waterfall content all derives from an interview-based podcast which allows you to:

  1. Establish leadership in your industry
  2. Foster important relationships with potential ideal clients as well as industry insiders and influencers
  3. Add depth to the existing relationships with current clients and customers
  4. Drive more leads to your website
  5. Access all kinds of content ideas that do not have to be thought up by your creative team
  6. Reach your target audience with content on topics they will be interested in
  7. The ability to utilize a variety of social media platforms
  8. Provide great content to your sales team which can enhance their resources
  9. Expand your reach on social media by tapping into the followers of your guests
  10. Access to a wider internet audience

Resources

https://youtu.be/HwXsFPZp3fQ

Conclusion

A waterfall content strategy is the best way to consistently produce quality creative content. Waterfall content all comes from an interview-based podcast so follow the steps from above to get started.