If you are involved in content marketing, then you are familiar with the content beast. It’s always hungry for content — blog posts, podcasts, tweets, eBooks, press releases, videos; it will eat anything you give it and, even worse, as soon as you feed it, it becomes hungry again. It has a high metabolism.
Below are 10 easy and actionable ways to keep your beast fed:
1. Content compilations
Content doesn’t need to be all written words. Try creating a blog post that tells a story through images or cartoons or tweets.
With the constant flow of content out there, take your idea and tell your story through curated images (always ensuring you are providing clear and accurate attribution to the original source of the images). Products like Storify allow you to compile images and tweets to tell your story. For example, as there is a lot of buzz about the 2012 Olympics, this quick blog post discusses the opening ceremonies and the current process host city London is going through to get ready for opening day. The post includes content curated from a variety of sources, including Twitter and online news sites, and provides an overview of what people are talking about regarding the Olympic opening ceremony. With the ability to compile content from more than one outlet, you can create a more robust and dynamic story about your chosen topic.
2. Tweetable facts
A new trick for creating fresh blog posts while giving them legs to go viral is to post interesting facts on your blog that your readers can easily tweet.
For example, you can take statistics from an industry survey and repurpose them into a blog post. You can then create a list of bite-sized, hyperlinked facts from the survey. This can be done using a resource like Clicktotweet. When you post content, ask readers to retweet about their favorite fact. When a user clicks on any of the facts, it opens up a pre-filled tweet and a link back to the blog post. By doing so, you instantly can convert readers of your blog post into viral promoters of your content.
A few months ago, Curata released a B2B Content Marketing Trends survey. We then summarized the data in a blog post, including interesting findings from the survey that readers could tweet and share — all with a link back to our content.
3. Curated content
The content beast doesn’t just feed on original content. He’s an omnivore, and feeding him curated content in addition to your original posts will provide a more balanced diet.
For starters, you can simply tweet links to third-party content you like, or write a small excerpt to a blog post you like and add your own commentary. Keep in mind that you should always curate ethically by linking back to the original source, and you should never share the full text of the original content without permission from the author — part of the benefit of curating content is creating links and connections to relevant content on your topic, in turn allowing the author to provide you with the same benefit for your original content.
4. Ask the audience
Another easy way to create great content is to conduct a poll or give your readers a question to answer. Basically, you author a blog post talking about a controversial topic, and ask your readers for their responses. Not only does this drive greater engagement, but you also get two pieces of content from it — after you receive responses, you can then take the results and craft another blog post about your overall findings.
As an example, Boston.com created a short blog post with a poll question on injuries related to wearing headphones while walking around. They then asked if their readers would decrease the volume of their headphones when outside, prompting the audience to respond.
5. Don’t make one person carry the load
You don’t have to create all of your content yourself — you can solicit content from other sources.
There are two main ways to go about this: First is to ask others to contribute to your content initiatives. Reach out to those within your organization and ask for their unique perspective on a topic. Providing a framework for the content makes the process easier for those who may not be used to it. If they are not the best writers, ask them for simple bullet points, and then flesh out the content on their behalf.
The second way is to look outside your organization for help and outsource your efforts through various content creation services.
An easy way to create content with minimal effort is to publish guest posts. In order to do so, you can invite an expert in your topic area to create a short blog post. Many people are willing to provide content as a guest blogger because it exposes them to a new audience and gives them an opportunity to back-link to their own sites. In turn, you benefit by getting free content without having to create it yourself and by associating your company’s brand with another prominent influencer in your space.
Reaching out to someone within your industry who you perceive as an expert will also provide you with an opportunity to connect and align your brands. It’s an easy win-win, and there is no reason not to do it.
6. Reuse the best of your existing content
Repurposing content is an increasingly common strategy for being more productive at content creation. If you create a 20-page eBook, you can chop that up into 20 blog posts. The opposite process works as well: you can combine 20 blog posts to create a compelling eBook. In fact, some companies and bloggers have created entire print books simply by repurposing a year’s worth of regular blog posts.
7. Interview an expert
Another trick to produce content quickly is to post an interview with an industry expert. In order to do so, you simply email a willing interviewee a short set of questions for them to answer and return to you. After a little editorial cleanup, you can post the resulting interview on your blog. Again, this does not require you to create much original content (aside from the interview questions) and provides a fresh perspective to your audience.
8. Recap a relevant event
Following a trade show or webinar that you’ve attended, it takes only a few minutes to build a coherent summary from the content that others have already shared. You can do this by manually stitching blog posts and articles together with tweets, photos, or videos.
As an example, following a webinar I did with Lee Odden, I quickly created a webinar recap post from the tweets of attendees. Similarly, following last year’s Content Marketing World conference, I created a blog post of various speakers who talked about curation.
These are just a few quick ideas; but my company, Curata, recently released an eBook “How to Feed the Content Beast (without getting eaten alive)” that is full of tips and tricks to feed your content beast. It also has a foreword by Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and author of “Content Rules”. You can download it here.
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