Most marketers understand the value of a strong content marketing program for driving leads, boosting search results and shortening the sales cycle. But implementing a strong content marketing program is a struggle for many.
It doesn’t have to be. Any marketer can develop a robust content marketing program—or supercharge its existing program—in just three easy and inexpensive steps.
1. Get Creative With Content
Most organizations already publish a great deal of content without even realizing it. Taking advantage of existing content allows marketers to optimize their investment and creates a very cost-effective program. Some areas to look for content include:
- FAQs: Organizations solve their prospects’ and customers’ problems every day and often post FAQs online dealing with the most common questions. Each FAQ can be turned into a blog post, which can be distributed via other channels.
- Social Media Channels: You’re probably already posting content to social media networks. Instead, start posting that same content directly to your blog and then push it to social media and other channels. Look for comments to your social media posts. These can give you ideas for blog topics.
- News Releases: If your company feels something is important enough to announce with a news release, it belongs in your content marketing program. Extend the life of news releases by republishing them on your blog. The same goes for article mentions. If a reporter writes about your company, develop a blog about the article and distribute via other channels.
- Upcoming Events: Use your blog to create awareness of and provide updates about your company events. After the event is announced, post information about agendas, what participants can expect to learn at your event, and incentives to register. Once the event takes place, post a recap, photos and videos about the event.
- Marketing Materials: Most organizations develop plenty of great marketing material. Take all of that content and push it to your blog. Not only will this make your best work easier to find, it will allow you to introduce your past content to new customers.
- Photos and Videos: If you’re capturing pictures and videos, but sure to upload them to your blog. This only requires a couple sentences to describe the photos or videos and you have a blog post.
- Get personal: People like to work with people they know. Give customers and prospects a glimpse into your company by posting information, photos and video about your company, employees, milestones, new customers, birthdays, anniversaries, awards. etc.
- Know your industry: Industry happenings and real-world news are great fodder for blog topics. Your content marketing program is the perfect way to encourage participation in the conversations that are already happening in your industry.
2. Keep the Content Coming
Now that you know where to look for content, the challenge is to keep a steady flow of it. The saying, “Many hands make light work,” is especially true in content marketing. Some great sources for content include:
- Employees: People throughout your organization—from senior management to customer service—have interesting information to share. Identify people throughout your company who can regularly share information about their area of expertise, or who are passionate about the industry. Encourage participation by sharing information with contributors, including which posts have the most shares or comments. Retailer Sears makes participation in blogging as part of the job requirement.
- Customers: Elicit feedback and stories from customers by using online forms. Ask your best customers to become ongoing bloggers. Run contests to boost customer stories about their experiences working with your company. PetRelocation.com, a company that specializes in moving pets, solicits customer stories about their experience moving their pets worldwide. Customers share information about moving to specific countries, upload photos of their pets and then share their comments on their own social networks.
- Customer and partner emails: Companies get a lot of feedback via email from customers and partners. Harness this information by posting compliments, and using comments and questions from customers and prospects to develop blog posts.
- Partners and friends: Empower your partners and advocates to blog on your behalf. This approach enhances the breadth of your content and gives your audience multiple perspectives on your industry. Partners in allied businesses typically are happy to provide content about their specialty.
3. Organize Content in One Central Area
One reason marketers get tripped up when developing a content marketing program is because it seems overwhelming. Where should they start when there are so many channels needing constant attention? The best way to manage all this is by organizing all your content in one area. A good place to do this is in your blog.
Using the blog as the central repository for content, marketers can capture content from a variety of sources, repurpose the content and post it via multiple channels.
It helps to make a list of all your channels: blogs, social media networks and email marketing, for example. When information comes into your content repository, decide what information gets pushed to which channel. At that point, it’s just a matter of editing or reformatting the content.
Finally, check out content marketing platforms that make authoring and sharing information easy. Look for a solution that enables you to gather information from both internal and external sources, gives you the ability to review and control the material that is posted to your content hub, and then exponentially increases your exposure by allowing contributors to automatically share their content with their own individual social networks.
Frank Dale is CEO and president of Indianapolis-based content marketing platform provider Compendium. He can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter at @frankcdale.