Consultant: “You want to create contagious content that brings the buyer back looking for more”
Customer: “He/she’s so right”
25 days later, customer says to team members: “Ok, how do we do it”?
Reality check: Content marketing is hard to do right. Before I dig into my post, I have a couple recommended resources for you on content marketing:
1. The Keys to Content Marketing Success Summit — August 14, 9-1pm. Join us to hear Ardath Albee, Justin Gray, Toby Murdock, and Tony Zambito give specific, actionable advice on how to design, build, and operate a content marketing organization.
2. Content Marketing: The Process and Plays Required to Scale Content Marketing by Scott Albro. Great post by Scott on operationalizing your content marketing.
Back to business: The blog is a critical centerpiece to your content marketing efforts. And it is also the content platform that is most difficult for organizations to maintain the pacing and quality necessary to compete. One of the best things you can do is curate. My only warning is that curating done poorly and cheaply can turn people off. However, curating done well is a scalable way to create great content. Here are a couple ideas:
1. The Post with Charts — Data is always a winner. Here is what I do: I create a quick poll on instant.ly and send it out to my network. I ask 1 -2 questions making it easy for someone to click on and quickly answer. You can create the char in instant.ly and paste to your blog – Voila! Blog post! Check out Who should own phone-based lead generation/lead qualification? for an example. Here is what an Instant.ly chart looks like:
You can also:
- Take a poll during a webinar and publish it in a blog post later
- Curate (with clear attribution) other charts and data from other sources. Make sure you add your own opinions to add value. One idea is to ask thought leaders (both internal and external) to comment on the data. If you look at the Who should own phone-based lead generation/lead qualification? post again, you will see I added expert analysis.
2. The post with crowdsourced data — When I am doing research on a topic, I inevitably end up on a crowdsourced data post. For these posts, someone goes out and curates as many research data points they can find and creates a list with them with full attribution. These are great posts – Some examples: 25 Jaw-Dropping Marketing Automation Stats and 48 Tweetable Stats To Make You An Online Marketing SmartyPants. Oh and the people you source data from will share the content.
3. The crowdsourced post (with original content) — Thought leaders like to share their content. However, if you ask them to write a post — you are asking a lot. What I like to do is ask them for 2-3 sentence answers on a particular topic and curate that into a post. Oh and again, the added advantage is that they will share the post. Here is a great example: I took a very hot topic and asked experts to weigh in. I acted fast too: When the news hit the wire, I sent out the email, responses came back fast, and we had a blog post up in hours. The result was one of my blog’s most popular posts: The Impact of Salesforce.com’s acquisition of Exact Target: The Experts Weigh In.
4. The interview post with a twist – You can do interviews. My buddy Michael Brenner does some really good ones on his blog. If thought leaders are up to it, you can send them the questions and they will send written answers. And now, for the “twist”. I needed content for my blog and wanted to get thought leaders involved. I did interviews in 2008 (yes, 2008) and for my next go-around, I wanted to do something creative so I created Madlibs. I wanted great content from thought leaders but wanted to let them have some fun. The readers ultimately had fun too. Click here to see what I did with Madlibs with the Funnelholic.
5. Video interviews — It is becoming really easy to do video interviews these days. We have been using Google Hangouts and Citrix GoToMeeting to film the videos. We ask 3 questions. Each question should get a 3-5 minute answer. We cut the videos and put them on the blog. Many people prefer to talk then write. You will find that you will rarely get turned down on video requests. Keep in mind: For SEO it is best to host the videos on your site vs Youtube. (We use Vidcaster). Also, many bloggers will post the transcript as a way to add text content. I recommend doing transcripts even though I am too lazy to do it myself. You can hire someone on Fiverr or Odesk to it. Vidcaster also offers this service. See a sample video below:
6. The whitepaper post — Recently, whitepapers have gone from standard gated content to non-registration offers. Now smart marketers are posting the whitepaper content on their website while still offering a download. People still download the whitepaper and you get the SEO benefit as well. Here is an example from Act-on Software for their sales and marketing alignment post/whitepaper. PS I found this content on Google. Point scored, Act-on.
7. The post with a template or tool – Warning: Here is my 8 millionth Sales Benchmark Index reference. They embed gated offers to templates and tools in their posts. You can obviously post other offers, but I find the tools and templates a really compelling, useful offer that fits perfectly with their content. This is not technically curated BUT I included in this post because in all likelihood the tools are likely already created in your organization. In other words, if they are already created, go grab them and promote them in your post. Here is a great example:
8. And yes, the guest post — Kissmetrics is one of the best blogs for content marketers to emulate. They have a couple famous guys like Neil Patel and Hiten Shah but if you look closely at their amazing blog, there are fueled by guest posts. Asking people to do guest posts is a BIG ask. If you are just starting out, you will have to either beg friends or pay (yes, Im sorry…but you may have to pay). Neil Patel created an amazing guide to cultivating guest blogging which is a must-read- The Neil Patel Method.
There you have it! — I hope this helps. Any other ideas — put in the comments below.