Content Atomization: What It Is and How To Use It in Your Content Strategy

Content atomization can help you amplify the effectiveness of your marketing, but it's not a silver bullet.

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Every content marketer knows that creating content that’s valuable to your audience takes time. Whether it’s a blog post or a white paper, a podcast or a video, creating compelling content often involves strategy, research, interviews, sharp writing, keen editing, design and more. That’s a lot of work, so it only makes sense to get the most impact out of your content as possible, right?

For that, content atomization can be really helpful.

What is content atomization?

Content atomization is the reuse of smaller parts of content pieces to create new content assets. For example, a section from a white paper could be atomized as a blog post, a punchy line from a blog post could be atomized as a tweet, or a short clip from a video could be atomized as a social video.

I’ve heard some marketers call this “slicing and dicing” and others call it “repurposing content,” although that last one has a broader definition that I’ll save for another post. Below, you’ll find more about the benefits and limits of content atomization, plus some tips for incorporating it into your content strategy.

What are the benefits of content atomization?

Content atomization is all about doing more with the content you’ve created. It’s efficient, it supports distribution, and it keeps your message consistent—all of which will translate into greater ROI from your content marketing budget.

It’s efficient.

Creating content is hard. Atomizing your content allows you to get more mileage out of the content you’ve already invested the time and resources to create.

It supports distribution.

If you’re atomizing a large, high-value piece of content, you can use smaller pieces of content within it to drive awareness and traffic to the original piece.

It keeps your message consistent across channels.

One benefit of content atomization is that it gives your message a surround-sound effect. Wherever your audience engages with your brand, they’ll experience a consistent theme.

What are the limits of content atomization?

As you can see, content atomization is great way for content marketers to work smarter, not harder. But it’s critical to note that content atomization not a substitute for creating new content. Here’s why:

Your content will eventually get stale, outdated and irrelevant.

As time marches on, regulations, tastes and trends change. If a web design agency shared a list of UX design best practices from 2016 in 2022, many of the tips and examples would feel out of touch with the latest technology and user expectations. That’s a great way to lose credibility with your audience.

Your audience will grow bored with seeing it over and over.

You want your audience to follow and engage with your brand’s content, but they will only do that if you’re holding up your end of the bargain. You need to consistently give them new insights and ideas that reflect the challenges and opportunities of the moment. If your blog and social feeds feel like broken records, your audience will disengage and go elsewhere.

Tips for atomizing your content

With the benefits and limitations of content atomization in mind, here are some practical tips for using content atomization in your strategy.

Make tweaks and revisions where necessary.

Content atomization can be as simple as copying and pasting, but usually it requires some cutting and rephrasing to make it work within its new context. Different channels have unique requirements (such as character counts) and user expectations, so your content marketing team will still need to do a little work to ensure the atomized content is optimized.

Remember to budget time and resources for atomizing your content.

You’re essentially curating your own content for new channels, and the process of selecting those extra-juicy bits of content takes some time. It also takes time and skill to make the necessary adjustments to the content mentioned above.

Include clear calls to action to the original content asset.

If your atomized content has piqued someone’s interest, there’s a good chance they’ll want to dive deeper into the topic. Let them know where they can find that original piece of content by providing a clear call to action. (Example: “Want to read more about content atomization? Check out the full blog post here: <link>”)

Use content atomization to amplify your marketing

Your brand’s content is critical for building and sustaining relationships with prospects, customers, employees and the public. Atomizing your content can help maximize its reach and impact with relatively low (but not zero) effort. But try not to rely on content atomization alone to keep your content funnel full. Your audience still needs fresh ideas and helpful insights firmly rooted in the current moment, and if you aren’t giving it to them, your competitors will.

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