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Marketing Managers: 5 ways to boost content marketing results in the dog days of summer

If you’re like many B2B marketing people, not much happens during the dog days of summer.

In North America and Europe, that’s from mid-July to early August… the most coveted weeks for summer vacations.

In Australia, school holidays encompass Christmas and New Years, so many people take vacations in December and January.

With so many people away, e-mails go unanswered.

Drafts go unreviewed. Projects stall.

On the sales side, leads fall away. Few companies make buying decisions.

So what’s a marketing manager to do? Just wait until things pick up?

Not exactly. Downtime is precious and you can use it to boost your results. Here are five examples.

Dog-days tip 1: Revisit your editorial calendar

I have mixed feelings about editorial calendars. Don’t you?

Of course, it’s good to be organized. As the Beatles said, “We’d all love to see the plan!”

But do you ever find that your editorial calendar doesn’t work?

All too often an editorial calendar evolves from being a helpful friend into being an unrelenting taskmaster.

Many marketers are now realizing that less is more. Publishing fewer, more thoughtful pieces gets better results than churning out many shallow pieces to meet arbitrary deadlines.

So why not revisit your editorial calendar and streamline it? For example, try doing one longer blog post a week instead of three shorter ones.

And when you do a white paper, don’t just upload it and forget it.

Plan from the start to re-purpose each white paper and get 10 pieces of content instead of just one. That gets you 10 check marks on your editorial calendar, which will put you way ahead of the game. (Also see tip #3.)

Image of hands sending emails from keyboard

Dog-days tip 2: Re-send some e-mail campaigns

Some e-mail whizzes advise re-sending the same campaigns numerous times.

If you have a system that can manage this, re-send a few e-mail campaigns to everyone who didn’t open them yet.

That way, you can promote your existing content to anyone who never saw it before. Don’t worry about alienating prospects; some will actually open an e-mail on the second or third time around.

Why not cast the same net and see what you get?

Dog-days tip 3: Re-purpose some existing content

While you’re recycling, this is a great time to spin out new versions of your strongest content.

For example, if you have a good white paper, think of all the ways you can repurpose it:

  • Chop it up into 3 to 5 blog posts
  • Create an infographic that covers the main points
  • Use the white paper’s argument to create a slide deck
  • Offer a free webinar based on that slide deck
  • Record the webinar and post it on the web

And of course, crow about each new piece all over social media.

All these pieces can be quickly extracted from the original white paper.

That means with minimal research and writing, you get many new pieces of content, all in different mediums, for different channels.

Take that, editorial calendar!

Dog-days tip 4: Learn your martech system better

Many marketing teams have an elaborate marketing automation system in place. But many people never quite learn how to use it well.

And it’s embarrassing to ask other people how to do the simplest thing.

Why not make a list of all the key tasks you want to do—but don’t yet know how?

Hint: Send out e-mails only to prospects who haven’t opened them yet. (See tip #2.)

Then learn how to do one task every day. In a few weeks, people will be coming to you asking, “How’d you do that?”

Photo of manager learning martech software

There are lots of different ways to learn:

  • The product’s own online help materials
  • Training materials from the vendor
  • A Dummies-type book
  • YouTube videos

And our favorite just-in-time learning tactic: Google a phrase like “name-of-product how to resend emails to contacts who didn’t open”. You don’t even have to type “how to”!

Here at That White Paper Guy, we’ve just installed 17Hats, the all-in-one business suite for small creative teams. There’s a ton to learn and we’re using the dog days to get started.

Photo of happy team members

Dog-days tip 5: Build your team for the fall push

Who haven’t you spoken with lately?

Who could you meet for lunch without having to worry about getting back for a one o’clock meeting?

What about your own sales team? Your important channel partners? Your creative suppliers? A colleague you enjoy working with?

Remember, others are frustrated by the dog days and would be delighted to hear from you.

Or what about that interesting new writer who contacted you a few weeks ago but you didn’t have time to reply? Take 15 minutes to check out their website.
If they look promising, give them a call.

Now is the time to scoop up the best available talent for your September campaigns.

At That White Paper Guy, we’re doing all that, plus more.

After 20+ years, we’re evolving from one “white paper guy” into a team of hand-picked domain specialists working with editor-in-chief Gordon Graham.

With more bench strength, we’ll be able to complete many more projects in the same time.

We’ve already finished two projects and have several more in the works.

Congratulations to Jim Mahannah, who wrote this whitepaper for Fluence Corporation to help the company introduce a new off-the-grid water treatment technology that produces better water quality using less energy and less space.

Congratulations to Chris Hardee whose white paper for Simple Step is being circulated this month by the IEEE’s GlobalSpec. Simple Step had five customer success stories, each one highlighting a solution for one of the toughest design challenges in motion control systems.

Photo of new flavor of white paper: strawberry sprinkle

The white paper is a combination numbered-list and success-story round-up: a whole new flavor! We’re calling it Strawberry Sprinke—a numbered list with yummy story-bits scattered throughout.

I guess this proves that you can even use the dog-days to “teach an old dog new tricks!”


What tips do you have for using the dog-days of summer? Please leave us your comments below. 

PS: With our growing white paper team, we are now open for more projects in just about any industry for a range of budget-levels. Talk to us about your next project. Tell us about it here.

PPS: And if you’re a white paper writer interested in joining our team, please go here to find out how to apply.

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About Gordon Graham

Worked on 320+ white papers for clients from Silicon Valley to Switzerland, on everything from choosing enterprise software to designing virtual worlds for kids, for clients from tiny startups to 3M, Google, and Verizon. Wrote White Papers for Dummies which earned 60+ 5-star ratings on Amazon. Won 16 awards from the Society for Technical Communication. Named AWAI 2019 Copywriter of the Year.

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