Your inbound marketing need lots of content. Content creation is also one of the more time intensive marketing activities you have to be really good at.
While you do need to create your own content as the foundation for your overall content strategy, you can – and should – supplement your content with that from other sources and people.
One of the best services marketers can provide these days is to act as a filter for all that’s being produced out there and aggregate the best of the best on behalf of our communities. (this is becoming especially true in social media where the number of voices is growing exponentially)
Finding and sharing consistently high quality, relevant content and adding your own insight to this information is not only a great way to increase the volume of your content, it’s a great way build trust in the value of your content.
Here are five ways to add other people’s content to your own content generation routine.
Lots of people produce great content in the form of downloadable white papers and eBooks. In some cases they do this to attract newsletter subscribers and links, but quite often they produce content simply because they know something about a topic and want to document it.
With just a little bit of searching you can turn up a great eBook that your network of prospects would love to get their hands on. Some marketers might simply link to this content, but consider this alternative.
Reach out and approach the eBook author and asked whether you could send their content out to your prospects, with full credit to the author, but while adding one simple information page about you or your company at the back.
Using this approach you could quickly build a library of content with topics and content that is engaging for your audience but without the time and energy required to create it yourself.
Here’s how to get started.
Use the Google filetype search operator to pinpoint the sources you’re looking for. For example, if you want to find PDF documents and eBooks about inbound marketing, for example, you would type: inbound marketing filetype:pdf into a Google search box.
This directive tells Google you are looking for content related to inbound marketing, but you only want results that are pdf files. Modify the search and file type to identify co-branding prospects for your marketing.
Email newsletter snacks
Publishing a regular email newsletter is a proven way to stay top of mind with your community. Of course, offering a great free eBook as mentioned above is a great way to build that weekly newsletter list.
One of the best ways to make your newsletter useful and accessible is to produce high quality content filtered from other sources and delivered in easy to consume bites. Consider an email newsletter that contains 4-5 great articles presented as abstracts that lay out in 100 - 120 words designed to provide an intriguing summary of the main idea while giving a link to click through and read the rest.
Using tools like AllTop, GoogleReader, NewsVine or PopULRs you can easily locate and aggregate content related to topics your readers will find interesting. You may also be able to locate local bloggers that could be great candidates for guest content and strategic relationships.
Curate a magazine
The idea of curating content – gathering it from far flung resources into one topical location - is presently very hot. But in order to really make curating work for you, you’ve got to also be ready to add your own insight. You can think of this kind of curating as republishing.
Republishing content you find does have value. However, targeting a very specific topic and becoming known as a trusted source of insight on the vast array of information being published on any topic is how you take content curation to a new level.
Below are some of my favorite tools for creating your curated online content magazines.
You can also use tools like Delicious, Evernote, Pinterest or Pearltrees to clip, bookmark and organize content you find for republication.
If you want to learn how to get great at this kind of republishing, follow Robin Good – Here’s a great place to start – What Makes A Great Curator Great?
This technique requires a little more technical understanding, but as a result you gain the greatest control.
Nearly all online content comes powered by RSS – a standard for pushing information - making it easy to convert content into a feed that can be converted to HTML code and displayed on any page or in any email we like.
For example, if you want to publish positive mentions of your business on a page on your site you’d set up Google Alerts to push a notice to you that your firm was mentioned. In the alert, click through to the page where the mention occurred and assuming it’s something you want to publish to your site, bookmark the content using PinBoard and tag like “talkaboutus.”
PinBoard creates tag-based RSS feeds which means that anything you tag with talkaboutus can be displayed in a topical RSS feed. This gives you total control over what you want to appear in the feed.
Once you create the feed you can run it through FeedBurner or RSSInclude to convert the feed to HTML code that you can embed on a page, widget or email (remember your newsletter) to easily display the content from the feed wherever you choose.
Any time you bookmark a new item it will publish to the page or display in your next email.
Ask… and content will be created
One of the best ways to get a lot of people to create content for you around a specific topic is to ask one very short question of a large audience.
This can be a great way to collect suggestions, opinions and insights to support or begin a topic of interest to your readers.
The other powerful attribute of this approach is that you can often get high profile contributors to participate if all you are asking them to do is answer one question or finish one statement.
Once you collect all of your answers you simply compile them and add your own context and analysis.
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