1. Hire a Chief Content Marketing Officer
If you want great content then I’d recommend hiring a chief content marketing officer (or strategist). You want to bring someone in who can dedicate themselves to this role so that he/she can plan, curate and publish compelling content on your site. This might include an active blog and social media profiles as well as competitions, infographics and white papers. He/she will also be in charge of hiring writers, promoting your best content and playing key role in PR and outreach.
Personally, I think too many small to medium sized businesses fall into the trap of outsourcing these activities to an SEO or digital marketing agency, where the margins get spent on mediocre in-house copywriters rather then expert contributors in your industry. By bringing your content/marketing in-house, your entire operations will have more synergy, quality and better results.
2. Encourage User Generated Content (UGC)
According to a recent report, producing enough content is the biggest single challenge for most marketers and businesses. The best way to scale a content marketing operation is to encourage user-generated content (UGC). We’ve successfully achieved this practice on a few sites where we run surveys, competitions or Q and A sections that allow users to ask questions and post answers/comments on our site.
In order to improve your UGC, you can install Q and A software from sites such as Vanilla Forums that integrates seamlessly with the rest of your site. You can also add a forum, encourage users to ask questions on Twitter using your own hashtag, and even stick up a banner on your site accepting guest contributions from your users.
3. Run monthly surveys or competitions and publish the results
Like the above, monthly surveys and competitions are a great way to encourage user-generated content, however, you can also publish the results as part of an effective PR campaign.
The best survey results are those that buck the trend or create a stir in your industry. According to a whitepaper by ResearchScape.com, you’ll ideally want at least 1,000 respondents to add enough credibility for editors to use your story.
In addition to sending out press releases, infographics and outreach campaigns, you can also use the results data to create compelling white papers, set up interviews with key figures and start your own political manifestos.
I’ve also found publishing survey results to be a great way of building and curating contacts in the media industry. Just be sure to publish the results in full (using charts) on your own site in order to encourage editors to link to the source. Beginners can use simple tools such as Flash 5 to create compelling visual graphics and charts on your website.
4. Use tools to help you with outreach
New tools are released every week in marketing. Some of the best tools that you might not have used before include:
- YesWare.com – an email plugin that helps track who’s opened your outreach emails;
- SocialBro.com – suggests the optimum time to post your content based on your followers;
- Google Consumer Surveys and Quick Surveys – allows you to build quick surveys and get respondents quite cheaply (from just 10p and 20p per response respectively);
- PRNewswire.co.uk – Even though the links are worthless for SEO I’ve found this service a great way of getting your news out there. Prices start at £295 so I recommend getting a cheaper package through a PR agency;
- Journalisted.com – A great way of finding the contact details for various journalists; and
- Vocus – The Vocus group provides a range of PR enquiry and request services including ResponseSource (great tool for ecommerce sites) and HARO (Help a Reporter Out).
5. Build content marketing partnerships with other businesses
Finally, building key partnerships with industry related or local businesses are great way to cross-promote your services and split the costs of a larger, more effective content marketing campaign.
For example, if you run a careers advice site you could partner with Universities, local government and CV writing sites. Alternatively, if you run a news or entertainment portal you could give free publicity to brands in return for exclusive giveaways, vouchers or promotions for your readers. These are extremely effective for building a social media audience and getting your content shared.
Adam Grunwerg is founder of Searchable Marketing
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