How to Extend the Shelf Life of Your B2B Email Content: Ideas from a Content Marketing Guru

The average corporate recipient sifts through 105 emails a day, according to IBM’s Email Deliverability Report. A study published by the Nielsen-Norman Group reveals that email users typically spend about 51 seconds reading a single newsletter. This means emails already take up 1.5 hours from the daily schedules of contacts like decision-makers in your managers business list.

Knowing that such a workload faces your contacts, what reasons would you give them to open, read, and respond to your emails?

The best answer would be distributing relevant and timely content. But, as you may fully be aware of, content doesn’t grow on trees. It takes a great deal of time and effort to think of and produce useful content. Content development is such a daunting challenge for every B2B marketer that this activity is usually delegated to someone else. However, for those who can’t find “someone else” to produce content for them on a regular basis, they have to rely on their own creativity which waxes and wanes unpredictably.

If you’re in exactly the same predicament and doubting your ability to churn out fresh content regularly, it might help to know that you don’t have to come up with new material all the time. In many instances, you only need some new ways of distributing and presenting existing pieces of content to make them relevant and timely.

The following tips are based on the work of Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Chernov who also runs a company that helps marketers succeed in the world of content marketing. This blog post applies Chernov’s concepts to the special requirements of B2B email marketing and hopefully allows you to extend the shelf life of existing email content ideas, so you won’t have to worry about coming up with new material for your campaign.

1. Distribute gradually. You don’t have to release newsletter content in one go. Chernov suggests publishing your content in stages, first to an exclusive group then to the entire world. In email marketing, you can send your newsletter to a select group in your C-level or managers business list before making the volume widely available. Check your database or opt-in business list if it supports the information you need to gradually release your emails.

2. Repackage existing content. This basically means finding pieces of content from other areas in your marketing campaign (eBooks, white papers, blogs, videos, etc.) and repackaging them to become part of your email newsletters. For example, you can use individual chapters from an eBook as separate content ideas that you can build on for your newsletters to business list contacts.

3. Build on successful existing materials. Closely related to number two, Chernov recommends looking for content ideas or topics from previous newsletters that you can revise to match a new audience. The key point here is to reinvent something that has already proven useful to meet the current requirement. As an aside, you need to make sure that your business list service company or your own database provides the necessary information to pivot old content toward the new criteria.

4. Update on regular calendar intervals. Maintaining the timeliness of your content doesn’t mean you have to create new material as old ones become obsolete. In many cases, all you need to do is to update the information included in the discussion. For example, if you’ve published an entry on “Top 10 Trends of 2011,” you can update the facts and figures used in that release to reflect the current values (in this case, 2012).

Developing content isn’t an easy task, let alone doing it on a regular basis. But it’s not something impossible either. As we’ve seen, there’s even no need to create new content from scratch in many situations. All you have to do is distribute or present your content in new ways.