As summer approaches, some of us will hit the gym in hopes of being swimsuit-ready. Though dragging ourselves out of bed for a five-mile run before that 9 AM meeting isn't much fun at first, the more we exercise the easier it becomes. That's because we're building up our endurance and creating a habit of early-morning runs.

Content marketing is the same way. When we stretch our creative muscles and get into the habit of producing content, it becomes almost second nature.

Last fall, Curata surveyed more than 450 marketing professionals, including CMOs and VPs of marketing, about the state of B2B marketing. Respondents cited limited budget (27%), limited staff (25%), and creating new content (21%) as their biggest marketing challenges.

Here's the good news: Unlike exercise, where there are no shortcuts outside of sweat and hard work, content marketing does have strategies for making production more efficient, both in terms of time and staff resources.

The Content Marketing Pyramid is a framework for creating a mix of short, low-effort content and longer, more time-intensive content.

The foundation of the pyramid is curated content. Curation means finding, organizing, and sharing relevant online content that provides value for readers and positions your company as an industry authority.

Often, curated content comes from sources other than your own blog or website, and it's an avenue for participating in the larger online community. Some 57%% of respondents to Curata's fall 2012 survey were currently using content curation as part of their content marketing strategy.

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image of Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the founder and CEO of Curata, a leading provider of content marketing software. He is an accomplished entrepreneur, marketer, and technologist.

LinkedIn: Pawan Deshpande