Content marketing isn't going anywhere: 76% of B2B marketers say they are planning to produce more content in the year ahead; moreover, the top concerns of B2B marketers are the creation of enough content and the lack of budget, according to the latest data from Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs.
The struggle is real for marketers everywhere: "We could all use a few people and a few dollars more," Schwinn's Samantha Hersil told me.
Instead of getting frustrated, however, content marketers need to get scrappy and embrace how they can do more with less.
The following four content creation hacks belong in every marketer's toolbox. These tips and tricks epitomize the scrappy mindset we need, and help us bring it to life in our content marketing.
1. Relentlessly Repurposing Content
In Content Rules, Ann Handley and CC Chapman invite brands to be "content chop-shops" by getting one more use out of each piece of content. You can go further by relentlessly repurposing your content. How can you go about doing this? Let's start small.
For many of us, creating longer-form content such as e-books or whitepapers can be daunting. A little mindful repurposing can provide you with a plan and a scrappy way to build internal confidence among your team.
Start by planning your e-book or whitepaper's table of contents. Based on that outline, write each chapter or section as an individual blog post. With that content mapped out on your editorial calendar, you'll have an e-book in no time and lots of blog content along the way. Not to mention invaluable feedback that can only enhance each chapter.
That said, there's no reason you couldn't put this strategy in reverse and take apart a larger piece of content to use as individual blog posts. Your goal should be to create content (write something, shoot video, etc.) once, and find multiple formats in which to (re)publish that same content.
For example, Pew Research relentlessly repurposes by (1) sharing individual data points on Instagram; (2) which point to a longer blog post about the research; (3) which then invites you to download the entire study.
2. Using Historical Content
Another form of content you may not think to reimagine is your company's historical content.
If your business has any kind of past, chances are there are files and boxes of old photos in some storage closet or facility. One of the scrappiest things you can do is to have an intern digitize that old-school content so you can give it new life online.
Whether it's posting on #ThrowbackThursday on Instagram or populating Facebook's timeline milestones on your brand page, these content classics are a tremendous asset if you have them.
Office furniture giant Herman Miller has a Pinterest board called "107 Years and Counting," featuring photos of its founders, old products, and more. Even your old marketing collateral and advertisements offer some nice history. Southwest Airlines has a Pinterest board dedicated entirely to its old ads.
3. Curating Content
Beyond finding ways to repurpose as much of your brand's internal content as possible, you can lean on sources outside your organization.
Because so much great content is being created today, content curation—selecting the best content to share with your community—can be a valuable skill. It's also another way you can feed your consumers' hungry appetite for content.
You can share curated content various ways. For example, you can create a blog post or email newsletter that rounds up the best articles in your industry or on a particular subject in a simple hyperlinked list. Remember to offer proper attribution and link back to the original content.
Because budgets are stretched thin and audiences have expanding content needs, curation is a viable part of the mix for many organizations, especially those in industries that are already saturated with content. Over time, your brand can become valuable to your audience as the official "wine taster" in your industry due to your discerning palate.
Tools are available to help you streamline the task of finding good content. Some are free or low-cost, such as Feedly, Scoop.it, Newsle, and some are geared more toward the mid-market or enterprise level, with more functionality and features, such as Curata and TrapIt.
One note of caution on curation: don't stop creating your own content. Curation and creation should be viewed as complementary approaches to the same strategy: providing your community with useful information.
4. Encouraging User-Generated Content
The fourth external hack is to empower your community to be a part of your marketing.
User-generated content is valuable in more ways than one. First, to be very frank, it's content you don't have to create and which you can turn around and share again, which brings us to the second benefit: User-generated content is powerful because it demonstrates in a very public way that your audience likes you and is engaged.
A common misconception is that user-generated content just appears. Like most things involving others, it starts with a request from you: No one, your customers and community included, will know what to do unless you ask them to do it.
For example, Salesforce invited its raving fans to share how excited they were about the company's upcoming user conference, Dreamforce. Super fan Garry Polmateer built a replica of the Dreamforce experience out of Legos!
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All four of these approaches—relentlessly repurposing content, using historical content, content curation, and user-generated content—provide useful hacks as you work to do more with less and get scrappy with your content marketing.
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