Remember how, back in the day, after every birthday or holiday, your mom insisted that you hand-write personal, thoughtful thank-you notes to everyone who had given you something? And how you probably waited until the last acceptable minute to get started and mail them off?
Well, successfully executing your company's content marketing strategy can instill that same nightmarish sense of procrastination and panic—especially when you're trying to strike a balance between creating engaging, high-quality content and producing it at scale.
Much as you may have felt it was nearly impossible to write an elegant and sincere thank-you note to every relative or family friend who gave you a sweater or a book for your 12th birthday, crafting consistent, thoughtful content at scale is a tough mission to undertake.
Most marketers are right there with you: 70% of surveyed B2B marketers said they plan to increase the amount of content they're producing, and 76% say they're prioritizing the quality of their content.
Balancing Quality With Consistent Production
My company struggled with that same balancing act. Although I was one of (what I assume can only be) a handful of young people who enjoyed writing lots of personalized thank-you notes to friends and family each year, didn't mean my agency was exempt from the struggles of balancing quality and quantity.
It was easy to fall into the trap of either sacrificing the quality of our content or producing too little to achieve our company's goals. And, of course, there were the usual content creation hiccups: the lengthy writing and editing processes; the challenges of collaborating when everyone has busy schedules; the need to maintain production over the long haul... (The list can seem endless.)
But we developed a foolproof method we now rely on to tackle those challenges during our content creation process— both for our own content and for our clients'. It's called knowledge extraction, and at its most basic level it involves three simple steps:
- Ask specific questions of your company thought leader or subject-matter expert.
- Store and organize those insights, along with personal stories and examples.
- Build from that bank of knowledge to create a lot of amazing content over time.
It might sound too good to be true, but I promise it's not just a dream. By simply pairing a tool we call a knowledge bank as part of this three-step process for knowledge extraction, we've been able to produce diverse types of high-quality content consistently and efficiently.
Here's how knowledge management can help you wake up from four of the most common content-creation nightmares that come with having to produce high-quality content consistently.
Nightmare 1: Struggling to Get Your Thought Leaders to Share Subject-Matter Expertise
Without actual industry insights from your company's thought leaders, it's next to impossible to generate hard-hitting, actionable content that isn't just marketing fluff.
Knowledge extraction gives you, as a content marketer, the chance to craft industry- and topic-specific questions, and it allows your company's thought leaders to give detailed answers with personal examples and experiences that you can then store and reuse for all sorts of future content projects.
Extract their knowledge through written or verbal Q&As (whichever works best for everyone involved), and use those insights to communicate your brand's expert understanding of a topic rather than a beginner-level overview that doesn't offer a lot of value to your audience.
That is a good general rule to follow, but it's even more important when guest posting is part of your content strategy. That's because, according to the State of Digital Media study, 85% of publication editors say sharing new expert insights is their top goal for publishing guest content.
If you can extract that knowledge from you subject-matter experts, your content creation will be easier and your final product will be more effective.
Nightmare 2: Not Standing Out From Competitors
You want to create content that engages and enriches your audience, not content that just adds to the noise. Make your content stand apart from the crowd by asking your thought leaders and subject-matter experts for personal stories and company-specific examples.
Those stories—coming from the people who built and lead your company—should help illustrate your brand story—what it is that makes your organization truly different from others in its space.
Lots of companies in a certain field might offer products or services that overlap, but no company has the same brand story or shares the same mission statement, belief system, or internal expertise as another. That's what separates you from others, and it's what connects you to your audience in a meaningful way, so communicate those stories in your content marketing.
The experts in your midst are part of what makes your brand different from others. In the knowledge extraction process, tap into what distinguishes your company from the rest and use it to create powerful content that translates that unique vision into words that connect with people in your audience.
Doing that will set you apart from your competitors and build trust with your audience on a human, personal level.
Nightmare 3: Failing to Maintain a Consistent Content-Creation Pace
If you're struggling to fill your editorial calendar, it's probably because thoughtful, original topic ideation is tough—and acting on it can be even tougher.
If you've been using a knowledge-extraction process, you should have plenty of interesting ideas stored in your knowledge bank that you can reference when it's time to organize and execute topics for your monthly calendar.
A knowledge bank can help you generate new topic ideas, find creative ways to repurpose older ones, and streamline content creation. Use your bank to store and organize all your team's ideas, expertise, customer pain points, and more from previous Q&A sessions with your thought leaders.
You can call upon that wealth of information whenever you need help with topic ideation or content development. Need a quote from one of your thought leaders for a new article? Refer to that interview you did last month but couldn't use in its entirety. Notice an offhand comment from a recent Q&A that's super interesting but irrelevant to the original article? Use it as a jumping-off point for future content.
The knowledge bank helps ensure that no valuable insights are left on the proverbial cutting-room floor and that no opening in your calendar goes unfilled.
Nightmare 4: Creating Dull Content That Doesn't Engage
If your content isn't engaging your audience, you may not be crafting the right messages. Rather than create content about what you think your audience wants, expand your knowledge-extraction process to include members of your team who interact regularly with members of your target—albeit currently unresponsive—audience. Who knows these people better than the team members who speak with them every day?
Talk to the people on your team who interact with, understand, and have formed relationships with your audience. Use the insights they can provide to create content specifically geared toward those audience members. What pain points have they mentioned? What parts of your field or your company's services could be communicated more clearly? Which topics are creating a stir in their industry circles?
Use that information to create engaging content that speaks directly to your audience. And don't forget to store those insights in your knowledge bank, too, so you can consistently refer to them and create more engaging content over time that your target audience connects with.
* * *
Creating consistent, high-quality content isn't easy, but it doesn't have to send you into the frenzy that thank-you note season did in your childhood. Wake up from some of content marketing's most common nightmares by using my team's tried-and-true knowledge-extraction process.