This is a guest contribution from James Scherer, of Wishpond
Monday: a couple hours of research, six hours of head-down writing, two (five?) coffee-breaks. End result: One 2000 word, comprehensive article on Facebook Ad best practices. Publish.
Tuesday: a couple hours of research, six hours of head-down writing…
Rinse. Repeat. Let’s rethink how we create content.
In this article I’ll dive into content marketing smart, not hard. I’ll discuss re-using your content in five awesome ways that will save you time, energy, and increase your content ROI in the new year.
Introduction to content marketing smart
Your blog article is just the beginning. Think about it as a river, and the rest of your content as streams coming off it. The source is great, but the streams spread wider and do totally different and amazing things.
Content marketing smart is all about using your existing content in creative, practical ways that save you time and energy but give you a great return on your investment.
Primarily, it’s about thinking outside the box to use your time more intelligently. Start with a well-researched blog article, and end with all types of content that generate brand awareness in different, exciting ways.
Why content marketing smart works better in 2014 than it did in 2013:
Every prediction article I’ve read (including the one I wrote) has talked about a shift in content. Here’s what’s happening: Google is rewarding social shares as much as it is link building.
Previously, Google’s search algorithm considered a link to, or from, your content as a vote in its favor. Longer blog articles could have a greater number of links, increasing their SEO. Yes, there were other factors, but link-building was at the heart of blog SEO for a long time.
With the integration of the Hummingbird Algorithm in August though, Google’s search mechanism changed. For the first time ever, the top of the SEO factor list was the number of Google+ social endorsements your content had. Links were still important, but the term ‘Social Media Optimization’ had attained a whole new meaning nonetheless.
What does this mean for your content?
It means you need to be producing visually appealing, socially shareable, bite-size pieces of content that people can love, share, and leave.
5 tips to optimizing for social:
Introduce a social share toolbar on your blog’s page (this can increase content virality by up to 700%)
Use bitly links everywhere you can, to encourage Retweets and shorter Facebook and Google+ posts (which have higher engagement than longer posts)
Create appealing and eye-catching header images so your content grabs the attention of social media users
Create a Pinterest Pin with the most interesting statistic from your blog article and put it on your ‘Amazing Stats’ Board
Generate content that encourages Facebook Likes, social shares and comments. Is it witty, surprising, funny, thought-provoking, new, exclusive? Would you want to share this yourself?
Your five pieces of content:
Comprehensive, well-researched blog article on a subject interesting to your readers
Slideshare presentation built from blog research, case studies, or other sources
Comments on Influencer’s content and on social platforms – keeps you in the conversation
Infographic built from blog research, case studies, statistics, or other sources
Ebook built from longer-form blog articles
1. Blog Article:
Put some serious time and energy into your blog articles. I’m talking 1800+ words (don’t worry, you’ll get more out of those 1800+ words than ever before).
Do your research; check out infographics and case studies from around the web; read academic journals (yes, I do this); talk to peers or experts, etc. Make them awesome. Make them optimized for search. Promote and syndicate the hell out of them.
I recommend a running-theme (it makes the ebook easier) for a few weeks. Try around five or six articles giving an in-depth look at a subject. For instance:
Article 1: Introduction to [Blank]
Article 2: [Blank] Design Best Practices
Article 3: A/B Testing Variables in your [Blank]
Article 4: 7 Mistakes to Avoid in [Blank]
Article 5: 5 [Case Studies] and What you can Learn from them
Article 6: Taking [Blank] to the Next Level with [Blank]
Fact-heavy, long-form articles are still wanted. There remains a sizeable audience for the comprehensive guides and 25-step how-tos. So you don’t get to stop writing them. Plus, they’re even more valuable now that you can re-use that awesome content in so many creative and interesting ways.
But really, do you want to do two hours of research, write for a day, publish, and then start all over again the next morning? Let’s market smart, not hard.
2. Slideshare Presentations:
If you’re just joining us, Slideshare is a free content-sharing website which makes your business’ presentations available to an ever-increasing number of users. Your business’ presentations are fully embeddable in your own blog and others. They’re easily downloadable, and Slideshare’s built-in social sharing tool makes the SMO easy. In fact, I’ve seen a few of my own Slideshare presentations with a better SEO than their original articles.
A few months ago you would have seen me taking an hour or two each day to force every one of my blog articles into a Slideshare presentation. The problem is, not every article lends itself to presentation format. Not every sub-heading has three bullet-points and an example image. I was pushing a square peg into a round hole and my content was suffering.
What I do now is find those blog articles I’ve written that naturally fit the format. Those articles where, without really noticing it, you’ve found 15 awesome statistics that surprised you and will surprise your readers.
Here’s what I recommend: Compile the data from one or two of your longer-form blog articles (statistics, facts, case studies, quotes, etc) and compile a couple of visually appealing Slideshares each week. Embed the presentations on your blog with a short description and promote it across your social channels.
If you’re interested in a more comprehensive look at Slideshare, check out How to Use Slideshare to Market your Business.
3. Comments on Influencer’s Blogs and Social Media:
Influencer Marketing Ammunition: For those unaware, influencer marketing is the practice of reaching out to online thought-leaders in your sector and encouraging them to help promote your brand’s content.
Every sector has influencers, it’s just a matter of finding them (try Klout, PeerIndex or Kred) and getting in touch. Contacting the right influencer in the right way at the right time can increase your blog’s readership (and your brand’s online profile) by ten-fold overnight. Really. It happened to Wishpond in July (thanks @MariSmith!).
Commenting is where re-using your blog content comes in. Try to comment on 2-3 influencer blogs each day. Use statistics and observations from your blog to write intelligent, insightful observations on articles with the same subject. Ask reasonable questions. Disagree in an informed and respectful manner.
Commenting gets your name in an influencer’s mind, so interactions on Twitter or Facebook will mean more. Asking for a share of your own blog will be better-received if they know you’ve shared and read theirs.
Social Platform Ammunition: Your blog articles are full of great quotes, statistics and factoids that lend themselves to Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest posts. Use them!
There are a million articles out there about using social media to promote your blog, but how about using your blog to promote your social media?
Increase brand awareness with interesting facts and stats that engage the viewer. Use your article’s headers (you, or your graphic designer, spent quality time on them! Don’t just use them once) to grab the attention of your Facebook Fans. Remember, across all social platforms, posts with images get substantially better engagement than those without.
Don’t wrack your brain on a daily basis for engaging social media fodder, simply note down the fodder that you find in your blog research or the especially creative lines in your own writing.
I mentioned above that 2014 will be the year of bite-sized, visually appealing content. Again, this doesn’t mean that you get to stop writing articles. But it does mean you get to learn Photoshop.
Like with Slideshare, use the statistics from your blogs (maybe a few of your blogs) and create a visually-awesome, palatable infographic that communicates a ton of information in a beautiful and easy way. Infographics almost always generate more engagement than a blog article and are great for spreading brand awareness as people will pick them up, embed them on their own sites, and credit your business.
Yes, for many small businesses without a graphic designer infographics can be difficult. However, I’d urge you to experiment with free design software (if you can’t afford or don’t already have Photoshop, InDesign or Adobe Illustrator) like Gimp, Info.gram or Piktochart.
Remember to offer your infographics as guest posts on other blog sites (once you’ve posted it on yours). For social media marketers, try AllFacebook, Entrepeneur and Business2Community. And syndicate on sites like BizSugar, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Digg and Diigo.
5. Monthly ebook:
Ebooks are the end product of your content recycling strategy.
Once you’ve written five or six awesome blog articles on the same subject, compile them into a comprehensive ebook. This can be done with free software (even Powerpoint – just export as a PDF), but I really recommend InDesign – as your ebook will come out more professionally done and appealing to the reader.
Ebooks are really valuable pieces of content, worth more to your readers and your business than any other piece you create. They’re in-depth guides on their subject; something people can download and save to their computer and read and re-read for guidance and inspiration.
Because of their value (and the work required to create them) I tend to make my ebooks email-gated. Basically I create a landing page for each ebook I produce and ask visitors to provide an email before getting access to the amazing content I’ve generated. Because only people interested in my ebook’s subject matter will provide their email address, the process segments those emails for you – facilitating your business’ email marketing/sales funnel.
Hopefully you now have a better idea of how, and why, you can recycle your content. It saves you time and energy – allowing you to experiment with different formats of your own. Something I’d highly recommend, if you’re not already, is organizing your content into a content calendar. Calendars keep your different kinds of content sensible and timely. Try an ebook every month or so, two Slideshares a week, a bi-weekly infographic, and three blog comments a day.
Have you had success, or frustrations, with re-using content? Have you found it saves you time or requires you to wear too many hats? Start the conversation below!
James Scherer is a content marketer for Wishpond and author of the ebook The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads. Wishpond makes it easy to run Facebook Ads, create landing pages & contests, email automation campaigns & manage all of your business’ contacts.