Content Marketing Strategy: Thinking Bigger

Posted on May 29, 2012

Some rights reserved by kevin dooley on Flickr

In 22 Ways to Create Compelling Content [Infographic] And Content Marketing Case Study there were a number of great suggestions for any midsized company to kick off a compelling content marketing program. Reusing your content in new ways, like in tip #22, is a good starting place, but we can take that another step further.

Let’s just call it #23.

With a little strategy and pre-planning you can make a larger splash with your content marketing asset so it keeps paying dividends for months. The best part is you don’t have to be a big company to look like one.

Even a cursory reading of blogs about creating great content for marketing and lead generation will clue you into the benefit of involving industry influencers in the content you create.

Click to Tweet This Post ★ Content Marketing Strategy: Thinking Bigger

You can do interviews, Q&As, guest posts, best of lists that include their name, or even use quotes from their posts and linking back to it. People love to share content that makes them look good. Even big influencers are susceptible to a sincere compliment or shout out.

Getting Started

Let’s start with the first phase, and then see where we can go with our project.

Different points of viewpoints or answers from five different experts makes one very powerful post. By thinking ahead I can turn that into a five week series of blog posts. All I have to do is ask each of those experts the same set of multiple questions.

Finding a Topic

Use your domain expertise and draw on your experience. What do people want to know when they come to you? Between the marketing and sales staff you should easily be able to generate a very good list of problems customers are trying to solve. I blog and consult about social media, communications, and content marketing topics. So, let’s look at content marketing. What are some of the common questions I get asked around implementing a content marketing program?

If I spend 10 minutes thinking about that, and sipping a glass of wine on the back porch, I can easily come up with 5 questions I get all the time. Such a list of questions might look like this:

  • What are other formats I should consider incorporating my content into?
  • What are some do’s and don’ts for creating an infographic?
  • What are the best methods to distribute my marketing content effectively?
  • What campaign or company is an example of content marketing done well?
  • What is the best way companies can consistently produce high quality content for blogs, newsletters, etc?


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Building Your List Of Experts

With that list of interesting questions, I can easily find five marketing smarties. You should be reading blogs and following experts in your field already, and be able to create a list of people to ask off the top of your head. However, let’s say I’m new and need a little help building my marketing list of experts to interview. I can Google for the best marketing blogs, best Twitterers to follow, or ask marketing people I know who they respect and read for content marketing wisdom.

The Ask

When you ask experts for their opinion, you are asking them to give you for free what they charge their clients money to get. This is an important tip: Make sure you have interacted with your influencers before. Ideally, you know them in real life. If not, prior to asking if you can interview them, you need to connect with them so they know that you are a fan.

How To Nicely Cyberstalk Influencers

If they have a blog, thoughtfully comment on two or three posts.

If they are on Twitter, RT their tweets and tweet several blog posts being sure to include their Twitter name. Example “Content Marketing Strategy: Thinking Bigger by @Steveology [Link].”

If they are on LinkedIn and belong to a group you belong, you can like and comment on their discussion posts, and send them direct mail via the group.

If you want to read more on how to find influential folks, check out 10 Steps to Finding the Influencers in Your Market By Joe Pulizzi.

Turning Your Expert Answers Into A Blog Series

Once you have collected everyone’s answer, you can then group their answers for each question together. This makes five individual awesome blog post for each questions. One of those posts might look like this:

What Are The Best Methods To Distribute My Marketing Content Effectively?

We asked 5 marketing experts about their thoughts on this question: Beyond posting it to my blog, what else should marketers be doing with their content? Here is what they had to say:

  • “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” – Joe Schmoe, CEO, Squirrel Digital

  • “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” – Suzy Schmoe, President, Chipmunk Marketing

  • “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” – Billie Schmoe, VP, Bluebird Social Media

  • “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.” – Jimbo Schmoe, CEO, Dead Skunk Communications

  • “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.”– Barbara Schmoe, SVP, Raccoon & Bandit Advertising

Phase Two: Turn Your Digital Asset Into More New Content

I now have five great blog posts I can run weekly for five weeks or on whatever schedule I wish. With the same content how else could I have planned to use it after the series finishes?

  • White Paper or eBook
    You can easily join the content together with a title like: 25 Awesome Tips To Kick Your Content Marketing Into High Gear. You can use this digital asset as an incentive to encourage people to sign up to your newsletter or blog.
  • SlideShare
    Post a SlideShare document with the best highlights from the series with links back to your eBook, white paper, or blog series.
  • Video
    Posting a video to YouTube is a great way to get found in search results since Google often lists videos near the top of search results. Also, you can easily turn that video into a vlog by embedding your YouTube videos into a post. For how to get the embed code read How To Embed A Youtube Video.

    • Option #1: You can do a video of you sharing the answers for each post or just the highlights from the whole series.
    • Option #2 If you asked your questions originally in person, like at a tradeshow, you can use each video as a mini interview of each of the experts answering your questions. Then transcribe the videos to create the blog series! I highly encourage you to pay for a transcription service and save the headaches of trying to do it yourself.
    • For a handy primer on making sure your video will be found by your target audience check out 11 Simple SEO Steps for YouTube Video Optimization by my buddies at Kuno Creative.
  • Infographic
    If the information you have gathered can be told visually too, then you should consider having your series turned into an infographic. A wonderful example of this is Lou Hoffman. He is the CEO of the Hoffman Agency, a legendary Silicon Valley communications firm. Lou wanted to visually tell what he saw as the differences between Storytelling and Corporate Speak, a topic close to his heart. You can see the results in Storytelling Versus Gobbledygook Laden Corporate Drivel [An Infographic].

A Few Final Thoughts

  • If you think out what else you can do with your digital asset before you start you can get a lot of mileage out of it.
  • You should schedule each piece out over months, not just in one big release. You can do your blog posts one month, the videos after that, your SlideShare the month after that, and so on.
  • Let your experts know in advance how else you will be using the information they are providing you. It is not easier to get forgiveness than permission in this case.
  • Have fun. Take a chance or two with how you reimagine ways to use your content!
  • Please share what you have done and what has worked well, and what you would do differently in the comments.

This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Businessprogram, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet.

About Steve Farnsworth @Steveology

Social media, communications, and content marketing. Strategy and implementation that generate leads, builds customer loyalty and word-of-mouth buzz. Contact 650-331-0594 to see how you can increase your market position and sales.

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