Forty people, four breakfast casseroles, at least four dozen donuts and less than 700 square-feet —thanks to the unending rain here in Austin a planned brunch in the park morphed into an memorable morning and the start of an odd math problem.

I apologize for not inviting you.

When it was all said and done, only two boxes of donuts (and thankfully the house) remained. Instead of eating the leftovers, I gleaned a half-dozen content marketing lessons you shouldn’t glaze over.

1. Quality over quantity

In the realm of donuts, much like content marketing, quality always dominates quantity.

One high-quality donut is awesome. Two donuts is awful tempting. Three donuts is sinfully awful. Four donuts is…bananas.

Likewise, cramming a glut of crappy content no one will ever consume onto your corporate blog for the sake of filling it is just as worthless. Focus your efforts instead on frying up a fresh, delicious piece of content each time you publish, even if you publish less frequently. Your audience will thank you.

2. Sharing is key: distribute

No matter how great the donuts sitting on my counter might have been—and they were quite delicious —a donut shared directly to those craving it increases in value.

Letting two dozen amazing donuts waste away on my counter is ludicrous. Yet, when it comes to our content marketing we often are content to let high-quality pieces we invested to produce languish and grow stale.

Don’t expect a crowd to gather and grab your content. Instead, think strategically about delivering content directly to those currently craving it through a combination of paid, earned and organic distribution to feed an existing appetite.

3. What time is it?

Soft, warm, intoxicating and inviting — a fresh donut is the food equivalent of curling up in bed on a nonstop journey to sleepytown. Thus, the donut is the smoothest possible transition from slumber into the real world .

Like the donut, the success of your content marketing depends greatly on when it is consumed. When you knead together your content marketing strategy, ask:

  • How does each piece cater to your audience’s specific tastes?
  • Are we providing satisfying answers to questions at each step of their journey?
  • When is the best time to serve each piece to ensure optimal results?
  • Where are they looking for these answers? Are we using the right channels and methods (paid, earned, organic) to put the content in the hands of the hungry?
  • Is the rhythm right? Are we satisfying our audience’s cravings with fresh, quality, mildly-addictive content?

4. Reuse and repurpose your basic ingredients to unlock surprising versatility

When you sit down to sketch out your editorial calendar for an upcoming month, remember the donut case — goodies as far as the eye can see, in all shapes, sizes and colors but all from the same kitchen. Brainstorm simple ways to repurpose your existing content library and upcoming pieces for multiple channels, increasing the audience you attract and multiplying the value of your investment.

Consistently churning out good ol’ blog posts (plain glazed)? — why not grab a few of your best posts, gussy them up, and put them to work as targeted newsletters (chocolate), an in-depth ebook diving deep into a subject (frosted with sprinkles), a helpful video, or even a SlideShare.

A few of my other favorite tricks and treats:

  • Donut holes: Punch out some of your tastiest bits into tiny, snackable, shareable treats for social media.
  • Cinnamon twist: Find two pieces of past content and twist them together with a recent, relevant industry update.
  • Jelly-filled bismarck: Grab an already successful piece and fill it with a sweet surprise to drive engagement. Ex: share this article for a chance to win a giveaway; or develop a free, related webinar your readers can attend.

Focusing on finding and synthesizing great ideas (kneading quality dough), outfitting your team with the tools and unleashing their creativity with the freedom to thrive. Soon, whatever a prospective customer craves, you’ll have the perfect piece to whet their appetite.

5. Don’t just buy a box. Build the process.

I want to find, attract and satisfy a hungry audience, so I decide to purchase two boxes of donuts. If I can give this entire first batch away, I am onto something and can scale up accordingly.

Such is the campaign-based approach to marketing.

Just one problem :  the campaign-based culture pairs with content marketing as well as a donut with your new paleo diet.

To ensure your campaign’s success you push content on the wrong audience simply for the sake of meeting your arbitrary, short-term goals.

Buying the box of donuts is running a limited, content-marketing campaign. But the true value of content marketing is unlocked only when you commit culturally to consistently producing and giving away hot, fresh, delicious content.

Buy (or build) the donut shop. Invest in the talent and skills to develop a culture driven by content and reap the rewards of loyal customers who love your content and can never get enough. Soon (though we are talking years not months) there will be a line-out of your door.

6. Part of a well-balanced diet

It pains me to shatter childhood dreams, but regrettably, if you eat nothing but donuts your body’s performance will suffer. Similarly, as much as I love content marketing and believe it can transform your business, it isn’t a magic bullet, much less marketing’s Soylent.

Design your content marketing strategy to support and connect your existing marketing (and for that matter sales and support) activities back to your business’ most valuable resource—your customers.

Then, you can have your cake (donut) and eat it too.