5 Ways to Use Other People’s Content in Your Marketing

You need lots of content, you know that, but you also know that content creation is one of the more time intensive marketing activities you have to tackle.

While you do need to create your own content as the foundation for your total content and teaching strategy, you can – and should – supplement your content with that from other people.

Other people's content

Image hazel.estrada via Flickr CC

One of the best services marketers can provide these days is to act as a filter for all that’s being produced out there and aggregate the best of the best on behalf of our communities.

Finding and sharing consistently high quality, relevant content and adding insight to this information is not only a great way to increase the volume of your content, it’s a great way build trust in the value of your content.

Here are five ways to add other people’s content to your routine.

Cobrand a winner

Lots of people produce great content in the form of downloadable white papers and eBooks. In some cases they do this to attract newsletter subscribers and links, but quite often they do it because they know something about a topic and want to document it.

With just a little bit of searching you can probably turn up a great eBook that your network would love to get their hands on. Now, some people might simply link to this content, but I’d like to suggest another way.

What if you approached the eBook author and asked if you could send it out to your networks, with full credit to the author, but with the ability to add one simple information page about you or your company at the back?

With this approach you could potentially build a library of content overnight with the right topics and content.

Here’s how to get started.

Use the Google filetype operator to find lots of potential candidates on just about any topic you can imagine. Here’s how it works. If you want to find PDF documents and eBooks about content curation, for example, you would type: content curation filetype:pdf into a Google search box.

This tells Google you are looking for content related to content curation, but you only want results that are pdf files. This way you’ll probably turn up any number of candidates for cobranding projects.

Email newsletter snacks

Publishing a weekly email newsletter is a proven way to stay top of mind with your community. Of course, offering a great free eBook as mentioned above is a great way to build that weekly newsletter list.

As you compete for inbox space you must keep in mind that your newsletter content must be consistently useful, relevant and convenient.

One of the best ways to meet these qualifications is to produce high quality content filtered from other sources and delivered in snack-sized bites. Think in terms of an email newsletter that might contain 5-6 great articles presented with abstracts that lay out in about 100 words with someone might want to click through and read the rest.

Using tools like AllTop, GoogleReader, NewsVine or PopULRs you can easily locate and aggregate content related to topics of interest to your readers. You may also be able to locate local bloggers that could be great candidates for guest content and strategic relationships.

Curate a magazine

The idea of curating content is very hot right now, but in order to really make it pay you’ve got to also be ready to add insight. So many people look at curation as something more closely aligned with republishing.

Republishing content you find does have value, but narrowly targeting a very specific topic and becoming known as a trusted source of insight on the vast array of information being published on any topic is how you take content curation to a new level.

Below are some of my favorite tools for creating your curated online content magazines.

You can also use tools like Delicious, Evernote, Pinterest or Pearltrees to simply clip, bookmark and organize content you find for republication.

If you want to really know how to get great at this follow Robin Good – Here’s a great place to start – What Makes A Great Curator Great?


This technique is perhaps a bit more technical, but it also allows you the greatest control.

Just about all online content these days comes powered by RSS making it easy to convert whatever find into a feed that can be converted to HTML code and displayed on any page we like.

For example, if you wanted to publish positive mentions of your firm on a new page on your site you simply set up Google Alerts so that you received notice that your firm was mentioned. Click through to the page and assuming it’s something you want to publish to your site you would bookmark the content using PinBoard and tag like “ournews.”

PinBoard creates tag based RSS feeds so anything you tag with ournews can be displayed in a specific RSS feed. This gives you total control over what you want to appear in the feed.

Once you create the feed you can take it to FeedBurner or RSSInclude to convert the feed to HTML code that you can embed on a page or widget to easily display the content from the feed wherever you choose.

Then any time you bookmark a new item it will publish to the page.

Ask little things

One of the best ways to get lots of people to create content for you around a specific topic is to ask lots of people to answer one very short question.

This can be a great way to collect lots of suggestions, opinions and insights to support or start a topic of interest to your readers.

The other powerful thing about his approach is that you can often get higher profile contributors to participate if all you are asking them to do is answer one question or finish one statement.

Once you collect all of your answers you simply collect them and add context and analysis.

It’s time to make other people’s content one of your content foundation planks.

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John Jantsch

John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, speaker and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Duct Tape Selling, The Commitment Engine and The Referral Engine and the founder of the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network.
  • http://twitter.com/RedSocksNews Red Socks

    This post is a great resource for curating info for blog articles, coincidentally I have been looking at CurationSoft which seems to automate the process of finding articles based on a keyword phrase, have you any thoughts on using this type of software?

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I think that’s fine tool, but the best approach is to discover the content on your own or you’ll end up with a lot of the same contributors and lot of spam.

  • http://rosiemedia.com/ Rosie Taylor

    Curating content is useful on a few levels. I’ve been using Scoop.it for some time to curate content. It’s really helpful to bring information into my view that I would have normally missed.  Plus it’s another great resource to inspire original content.  The only drawback lately has been the abundance of spam content that was appearing. I had to review my sources and that seemed to help. I would recommend anyone who is curating to regularly check their keywords and sources no matter what the platform.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I agree Rosie, while some of the services that aggregate content are a good idea I really think you have to commit to doing discovery by hand if you’re going to provide the most value.

  • alexandralevit

    Very useful  piece om this Monday morning, John!

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      Thanks Alexandra – useful is good :)

  • http://raulcolon.net/ Raul Colon

    Great idea on the PinBoard and RSS Feed options. I might look into those for some of my clients. 

    On the curating a magazine side. I have always wondered how effective that can be as for bringing new readers. Do you have any examples on how that can work. 

  • http://www.iintentio.com/ Jeff Gros

    Yes, Content marketing is intensive, tedious, costly, marketing activities. But we all are aware of the advantages of content marketing. If approached correctly there is no doubt that it can be most effective technique!

  • http://www.sivioco.com/ Sam Jones

    Great article, John. It’s certainly got me thinking.

  • http://gihanperera.com/ Gihan Perera

    The Pinboard/RSSInclude combination is the solution to a problem I’ve been having for a while. Thanks!

    By the way, the correct URL for Pinboard is http://pinboard.in/.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      Thanks glad I could help and appreciate pointing out the broken link too

  • http://www.HomeTips4Women.com/ tinagleisner

    Ton of useful information here that I need to research further. I am growing more concerned with curation as I’m seeing more blogs that are simply grabbing 10s of photos from Pinterest to create their blog posts, and while in very fine print they say they’ve gotten the photos from Pinterest, they really don’t have the right to re-publish any of it.

    • http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog ducttape

      I agree Tina and that’s not really the kind of curating I’m talking about here.

  • Paul_Wolfe

    Hey John

    That’s a cool post – and a great way to engage with your audience.  Here’s another way you can do this kind of thing – won’t work in every market area though.

    For my bass guitar site I’ve just added a blog to the website (it’s built on static html) – and every day I add 4 or 5 posts that are mostly embedded YouTube videos with a little bit of commentary. That way people can see the kind of bass guitar clips that I like and watch.

    I also use it to embed my own videos – so that it makes it easier for people on mobile devices to find and view it.  Been doing it for about two weeks and I put a ‘Subscribe’ form at the bottom of each post and it adds another subscriber or two most days.  As the post count grows….I expect the results to grow.

    Hope that’s of interest to your audience!


  • Timldrake

    Great Stuff once again. FYI the GoogleReader link in the “newletter snacks” section is broken.

  • http://www.caregiversaide.com/ Karen Shiffert

    I need to figure a way to save this info to re-read later so I can digest it further.  Makes sense if I can follow the procedure.

    • Carin

      Try the Spool app for iPad/iPhone. Lets you save for later viewing…   Carin Young, Matterhorn Social Media

  • http://www.shortcutblogging.com/ Dave Young

    You’re right about content creation being time-consuming and tedious. If you’re an expert, most of that stuff is in your head and it’s just a matter of getting it out of there. Having a good brainstorming/outlining plan is helpful as a starting point. But, you’ve still got that list of topics staring at you, daring you to sit down and write. Frustrating. We’ve found that pairing up an expert business owner with a moonlighting radio interviewer is a good way to turn those topics into 10-minute podcasts. Once you’ve got the podcast, transcribe it and re-write it into a blog post. When you’ve written several of these, turn them into an ebook. At the end of a year, you’ve got about 80,000 words to use for just about anything you want, speeches, training, business books. Everybody’s comfortable speaking about something they’re passionate about. If the local radio station called you up and asked if you could go on-air and talk about your area of expertise, would you say “no”? I didn’t think so. 😉

  • AJ

    Nice post John!
    I find that creating a content calendar i.e. editorial calendar helps to create a plan of attack for people.
    Or, you can just read stuff daily, and share the best of it :-)

  • http://twitter.com/AnthonyHunter70 Anthony Hunter

    Great Post! … I use feedly as my online organizer of content.. I like it because I can add multiple sources and categorize everything… it is like RSS but a lot more robust… also, you mentioned curation… I have been interested in using curation and I have looked a Scoop.it, Storify and Curata but I looked at one other tool. It is a WordPress curation theme  that I was thinking about trying ….. I think it is pretty new but It looks like it is worth giving it a shot…mostly because I can integrate it into my existing website…..  here is the link to the sales page if you want to check it out  

  • http://www.coachingwithrichard.com/ Richard Soderblom

    Nice po

  • Juerg’s adwyse

    While there are some good points, I would like to stress that own content is key. I unfollow everybody who distributes content of others without adding significant own knowledge. Significant…!!! Curating tons of articles in a magazine and adding one little article in my view is not acceptable.

  • Kashaziz

    Is there a way to monetize curated content? For example, if content related to some niche is curated at Storify, how can it be turned into a revenue stream?

  • http://tribalstylemarketing.com/blog TribalStyleMarketing

    I do some of these things already.  I write one or 2 posts myself & reblog one other post I really like & give my $.02cents about it.

  • Asif

    very informatic