November 9, 2023
4 mins

The Marketer's Dilemma


  • Average content is now a commodity. To be effective, your content must be exceptional.
  • Exceptional content is expensive, and there is no guarantee it will justify its costs.
  • By repurposing content across channels and formats, it is possible to dramatically improve Return on Content (RoC).
  • While broadening the reach of content in this way is essential, it is just one dimension of a successful content strategy.

Making good content is hard. But it is worth it. 

AI has propelled us into an Age of Average, where perfectly okay content is only a well-crafted prompt away.

Average is not a bad thing if you are making plastic cups. 

But in a knowledge business - where the input is information, the process is thinking, and the output is insight - people will just you first of all by what you publish to the world. 

Don’t want to be judged average? You need “exceptional”.

But this creates a dilemma. Whether you develop it in-house or (clears throat) through the services of a freelance financial writer, exceptional content is expensive to make. And simply making it is just the beginning of the story. 

“Post And They Will Read”

In a post-Web2 age, anyone can publish anything anyhow, anywhere, and to anywhom. Your target prospects are already awash with more content than they know what to do with.

And yet ‘post and they will read’ is the implicit philosophy behind a lot of content distribution strategies. 

The ever-decreasing effectiveness of this strategy is likely to lead to the conclusion that exceptional content - while nice in theory - doesn’t pay its way in a crowded content marketplace.

But not so fast!

Squeezing the Juice

Creating something better than average is the hard part. The rest is just a question of extracting the value.

Return on Content (ROC) is a simple formula: new business (what you get) over cost to produce (what you invest). If we are investing heavily in the denominator, we just need to maximize the impact of the numerator.

Meg Carpenter of FiComm Partners has an approach she recommends to her clients called ‘Squeezing the Juice’, and here is how she explains it:

“We take a long-form piece of content - something that's meaty and lengthy - and repurpose it and repackage it across channels, depending on what type of engagement we're looking for.” 

Note the words ‘meaty’ and ‘lengthy’. There is no magic involved in content return multiplication - just hard graft. For it to be effective, you need to have something worth repurposing to begin with. So put away the AI for the first part of the exercise.

Let’s go back to Megan’s process:

“I could turn a white paper into 100 pieces of content. Literally. I could record video around it. I could record audio around it. I could write shorter blog posts out of it. I could create dozens of social media pieces out of it. I could create email nurture sequences out of it, I could update my website with insights from the white paper, and add it to the website under the Insights page. I could literally do 100 things with one white paper.”

The above strategy acts as a “returns multiplier”. Correctly executed, you can use it to increase the impact of your premium content by 5-10x. Let’s do a simple example.

Crunching the Numbers

Suppose you invest in creating a white paper.

Title: “Advanced Family Wealth Stewardship” 

Cost to produce: $5,000

The finished product is original and entertaining, has the depth of your firm’s expertise behind it, and contains case studies of clients you’ve worked with. Importantly, it gives prospects an insight into who you are and what it would be like to work with you.

First, let’s calculate the return without the multiplier. Suppose you simply make the white paper available on the website. And suppose it is downloaded by 40 users, of whom 2 become new clients, generating $2,500 in yearly revenue.

Revenue from White Paper = 2 clients * $2,500 = $5,000

ROC (Return on Content) without Multiplier = $5,000 / $5,000 = 1.0x

The exercise has worked, but has barely covered its own costs. It’s also possible that the two clients who came on board would have become clients anyway, given that they sought out the content on the website and were interested in the topic.

Now let’s assume you invested an additional $3,500 in repurposing the content as:

  • An eight-part series of blog posts
  • An accompanying series of animated explainer videos, each tackling a foundational concept in wealth stewardship
  • A LinkedIn article by the firm founder giving an executive summary of the whole report, with links to the eight blog posts dotted throughout
  • A podcast episode featuring an external consultant/pundit who interviews the main contributor to the report and promotes the interview to their network
  • A series of short media posts featuring animated quotes from the study.

The repurposed content is now accessible to a larger audience, and as a result the original white paper is downloaded by an additional 300 potential clients, of whom 15 convert.

Revenue from White Paper = 2 + 15 clients * $2,500 = $42,500

ROC (Return on Content) with Multiplier = $42,500 / $8,500 = 5.0x

While simplistic, the above example shows how the additional expense succeeded not only in boosting the impact of the white paper, but at a far lower marginal cost per new acquisition:

Without multiplier: Acquisition cost of $2,500 per new client.

With multiplier: Acquisition cost of $500 per new client.

Needless to say, the engagement statistics from the overall campaign give a far richer perspective of what types of content are most accessible to different target clients. This allows the marketing team to hone future campaigns.

3 dimensions of success

Exceptional content is a non-negotiable starting point. In general terms, this means content that has depth - whether via expertise or experience.

Multiplying content is a way of achieving breadth, getting the law of large numbers to work for you in reaching the clients you are targeting.

The final dimension is length. Your marketing efforts must be both continuous and consistent. This requires a coherent underlying marketing and business strategy.

Encompassing all three of the above dimensions is effortful, and this is why its output will be exceptional. 

When good is the new average, exceptional is the new good. Why not be the exception?

"The depth of both his understanding of the fundamentals of the space and his ability to intelligently research was very clear in how well he was able to incorporate  the cutting edge concepts we are implementing - and without need of significant revisions from his first draft!"

- Head of Strategy

"Matthew is an incisive writer with the intelligence to delve deep into understanding the essence of complex topics, and the flexibility in his writing style to be able to engage any audience. Matthew is a pleasure to work with."

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"Unlike many of our writers, we don’t need to spend any time editing his work. He also gets the work in quickly and offers a high level of insight instead of just regurgitating news. We look forward to working with Matthew more in the future."

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"I had the privilege of collaborating with Matthew on a book - a long project that took many different twists and turns. Matthew was the epitome of patience but also provided good guidance and direction as we worked together. The result was better than I could have hoped for. The reviews for readers were very encouraging, and confirmed that it was worth all the effort! I'm very appreciative of Matthew for his wisdom, insight and tenacity."

- Advice Firm Owner

"Matthew is not only an exceptional writer but is also a fantastic collaborator. Matthew understands the assignment but then goes deeper to ensure he understands the context most important for the audience to receive."

- Consultant

"His meticulous research ensures that every piece he produces is not only factual, but also credible. Working with Matthew has been an absolute pleasure thanks to his unwavering professionalism and commitment to excellence."

- Wealth Content Manager

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Have a project in mind?

Matthew Jackson, Founder 10 6679 3720
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