What do all content marketers have in common?
No matter whether you’re a one-person business owner or part of the content development team in a Fortune 500, everyone needs to generate a steady supply of interesting and useful content. That means stoking your creativity to keep the ideas flowing and coming up with ways to re use existing pieces to extend their shelf life.
After all, you know that creating an occasional blog post and calling it done isn’t doing “content marketing.”
You need multiple pieces of content for different stages of the sales cycle.
As a solopreneur, I have lots of ideas on these matters but I thought I’d take it the water cooler so to speak and ask other marketers for their input.
Thanks to Erik Harbison, CMO of Aweber, Kenneth Peffer of Mainline Telecommunications, and Marti Konstant of Konstantchange.com who shared their thoughts on keeping the ideas flowing and Alyson Stone of Pipeliner CRM who gave us a peek at how her company approaches content repurposing.
Let’s see what they have to say.
“One major source for keeping your idea well full should be based on what your customers or subscribers want. Deploying a one or two question survey (e.g. What is the one thing that almost kept you from joining this list/buying this product?) can provide tons of direction on content ideas that will be relevant to your audience. And, can evolve into other more engaging formats like a live Q&A session.
That FAQ or About Us section of your site is also a good, trusted source if your struggling for ideas. Customers will always appreciate more transparent and authentic content around topics like; why your core values matter or a recap of what you’ve accomplished (to help them succeed, of course) in the past months, quarter, etc.
Find more ideas and inspiration on how to keep your content fresh here.”
Kenneth Peffer is the Manager of Marketing and Business Development at Mainline TeleCommunications, he says when a new blog post is published, they reach out to their staff and ask them to share it in relevant groups on LinkedIn.
They’re also focused on building strategic partnerships. Both of these tactics helps spread their message from multiple sources which enlarges their digital footprint.
When it comes keeping the ideas flowing, he shares: “In regards to coming up with new content ideas: don’t start with a blank piece of paper! It doesn’t work. You need to pull ideas from your clients, prospects, colleagues and peers. No, don’t ask them directly, but in your conversations with them, listen for what their frustrations and challenges are, as these are most likely the same challenges your target audiences are experiencing. Write about ways or ideas to overcome those challenges, and you’ve got a blog that most people can relate to!”
I couldn’t agree more. In my social media training seminars, I usually ask people to write down their 5 most asked business questions and answer them. I call this the 5 x 5 method. What people forget is that what’s obvious to them, isn’t obvious to their prospects.
1) “Cross-pollination – reading about subjects outside out of the industry and seeing how the frameworks in science or other disciplines help me come up with a fresh perspective. For example, I talked to a business owner who helps financial institutions and organizations to be socially responsible in the context what is called the “regenerative economy.” This means using people and resources in new ways that focus on sustainable outcomes rather than on consumption or resources. Now I’m thinking about how we refer to the “sharing economy.” The economic concepts of sharing and regeneration are relevant in how I deliver marketing solutions that take into account these relevant trends.
It becomes an ongoing brainstorm. I’m always looking for metaphors in science and elsewhere to talk about things like the IT security industry that make it sound interesting and easier to understand. The cross-pollination helps me tell better stories in my work.
2) Taking a run or a workout to help clear my brain. I don’t listen to music or other things I’m looking to create white space in my brain. It always produces new ideas.
3) I’m writing a book about the Agile Careerist. I’m applying the Agile framework from the tech space and applying it to one’s career. Tech companies will list 100 features they want to include in the software launch even when they can only include maybe 20. So they have a backlog of other “wants” and I do the same for my career. You continue to revisit them and some of them will fall away while others still keep showing up. We need more ideas, not less.
4) Talk to others – “What are you working on?” It can be someone outside of your department or in another industry. You’ll apply their perspective to your work.
Ideas don’t flow in a vacuum. It’s collaborative. Your best ideas come from research and having a people component to it.”
What About Giving That Content a Second (or Third) Life?
When you write a great post, you’ll want it to live for awhile. Sure, you can repost it over time but if you recycle it into a slideshare, a video and an infographic, you’ll help it to live an even longer life. Plus, you’ll be appealing to a variety of learning styles.
Alyson Stone, Content Director of Pipeliner CRM and Named as Top 50 Influencer in Social Selling 2015 by Onalytica gives actionable advice on repurposing content.
“As content director, one of my biggest challenges at Pipeliner CRM is to find ways to augment the value of each piece of content. We are constantly expanding our Sales Reference Library and adding voices to our blog community, and it falls to me to maximize each article, ebook, infographic, and all the collateral materials and put them to the best use.
Whenever possible (and when resources permit) I try to morph each piece of content into something from another category — e.g., a blog post might be turned into a slide deck or a poster. My favorite example is a blog post by Frank Donny of Marseli about forecasting in sales by using risk scenarios rather than probability. It’s an important topic, but a little arcane unless you are really immersed in sales!
To make the topic more accessible for everyone, I interviewed him about the process itself, and then we created an infographic that makes the tactic of risk forecasting really clear and understandable.
Almost all the blog posts now are accompanied by a “sidebar advertisement” — an invitation to download another item. Like HubSpot, we are big fans of landing pages! It’s very exciting to see how many people visit the library and other content that way.
We are a frugal company, and repurposing content is necessary. But, it’s also a great way to help promote the ideas of our contributors and repay their kindness and expertise.”
What ideas does this generate for you? Does it stimulate your content creativity? What are your content struggles?