As a marketing strategy, content is an ongoing commitment. You need to build a consistent collection of interesting, useful stuff that will keep readers engaged and coming back for more. Each individual piece is valuable, sure. But the real value (the bit that establishes you as a respected thought leader) is in the collection of content you build gradually – and that takes time and energy.
We’re often called in when businesses run out of ideas (and resources). Maybe they started publishing fantastic weekly blogs or researching a series of whitepapers, but when other daily tasks took priority the content fell to the bottom of the to do list.
That’s why it’s essential to have some sort of content strategy – at the very least, a simple document that defines your goals and your audience, sets a schedule and allocates responsibilities, and measures and tracks how each piece performs.
You also need a system to keep that steady stream of ideas flowing. Combined with regular research and reading to keep up with the news in your sector, these five different feeding strategies can help keep your content machine chugging along.
- Diversify your dialogue
As much as you might love your soapbox, nobody wants to hear from the same person all the time. If you have the resources, allocate weeks and topics internally. Publishing content from multiple authors adds variety of perspective, style and subject matter (which will appeal to a broader audience) and means each person gets a bit of breathing space between posts.
Make use of your network and invite guest posts or interview experts on certain topics to get fresh, external points of view.
You can also curate content from other sources – post a ‘weekly roundup’ of news and developments in your sector with commentary, or simply make a point of regularly retweeting interesting articles and blog posts you come across.
- Jump on bigger stories
Always be on the lookout for interesting news stories and trends you can put your own angle on. Set up a Google Alert or two, or sign up for news aggregator Guzzle.
You don’t even necessarily have to use stories about your sector. Take this year’s #libspill – even if you’re not a political commentator this is an opportunity to be part of the conversation. If you run team-building workshops, put together a step-by-step guide for getting over a backstabbing. If you’re a removalist company, write the old PM a list of what to do to prepare for a move.
Time is of the essence when it comes to news – once a post is up on your site, push it out on your social channels, and include any relevant hashtags to give it more traction.
- Profile your clients
Got a client doing interesting things in their industry? Profile them and write up a case study showing how your product or service has helped them to do what they do better. The nice thing about this one is that you can put a different spin on the subject matter by focusing on all the cool things your client does, and tying it back to your business at the end.
- Tell the story chapter by chapter
If you have an idea that actually seems like three smaller ideas, why not make it into a series of blog posts or eDMs? By breaking a big topic up into smaller chunks you’re making it more manageable for both the writer (that’s you!) and the reader, so it’s a win-win. This tactic is extra valuable if you have a long buying cycle and can create pieces tailored to each step that you can then push out to your database over a few weeks or months.
You can also repurpose old content in this way. For example, you could turn a numbered list into a series of more in-depth standalone pieces. (I can already see the future of this post.)
- And on that point, milk it!
Get more mileage from your premium content (think whitepapers, ebooks and reports) by crafting derivative pieces that pick up on key findings or points and expand on them. Think blog posts, eDMs, podcasts, video, social media, infographics, interviews with experts about their opinions on your findings… the possibilities for repurposing are endless.