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How to Get More From Every Piece of Content You Produce

This post is sponsored by Viewbix – Easily add apps and calls to action to your video.

Content creation must involve strategy. That’s the part that you must understand or its production is little more than a chore.

Repurpose content

photo credit: markyweiss

For some time now I’ve been preaching the idea of a “total body of work” approach to content for marketing purposes.

Waking up each day and deciding what you might blog about is not a sustainable content strategy – even though many a blogger makes it look so.

The publishing that we must do today requires us to think like, well, a publisher. We must develop a clear set of topics or chapters that make up the foundation content for trust building and SEO impact. We must determine a monthly theme and schedule for addressing each chapter. We must commit to regularly scheduled features.

And, perhaps most importantly, we must develop a mentality that habitually urges us to consider every word we publish or plan to publish as part of a giant Erector set or content that can be used and reused in many ways.

Every press release, blog post, video, article and presentation must have intended uses beyond its obvious initial outlay and it must be an interchangeable element in the total body of work.

It’s simply too costly to produce content with any other view.

I once had a conversation with Josh Waitzkin, eight-time National Chess Champion and author of the Art of Learning and he told me that he got to the point where he no longer saw a game as it was because to him the game always looked as though it was going to be many moves ahead.

I think that’s how content must be viewed – not as something just for today, but for moves ahead.

The process starts with questioning that must evolve into an unconscious way of thinking.

  • How could I expand this blog post as a series of posts?
  • How could I rework this content into other formats?
  • What would make this content worth paying for?
  • How could this content be reworked for real-time consumption?
  • What did I learn while creating this presentation?
  • How could I package this content to share it with a different market?
  • If I were writing a book would this content belong in that book?
  • What content have I already written that could form the basis of an eBook?
  • How can I share this content in a way that helps me learn?

Below are five content development habits that you must employ in the creation of your content strategy and production of your body of work.

New medium

I’m often asked to present a specific topic to a group. As I create or develop my thoughts for a series of slides I write a blog post or two from my research, record a screencast of the presentation, upload my slides to Slideshare and have the video transcribed into text.

There is very little additional work on my part to create four and five pieces of content from the act of discovering what to include in a 90-minute talk.

New form

I’ve produced dozens of eBooks over the last few years and 100% of the content for these compilations has been drawn from my blog posts. Now, understand that this doesn’t happen by some form of chance.

I plan and write my blog posts with these eBooks in mind. This requires a longer view of both blog post topics and the chosen topics for eBooks, but when you understand that this long view is required, it’s actually quite freeing.

Getting in the habit of creating an editorial calendar in advance, with your cornerstone topics always in mind, can be a great aid.

New purpose

One of the most puzzling aspects of content is consumption – meaning how people choose to get, read, listen, watch or otherwise digest it.

Understanding that people have distinct preferences in this category opens the door to an interesting aspect of repurposing.

I have a podcast that’s free to subscribe to, but hundreds of people have paid $2.99 to download the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast app (iTunes link) from iTunes because of the added control it gives them.

I have a great deal of content that is available on my site for the taking, yet people are eager to pay $3.99 on Amazon for the package that gives them the content in the form that is delivered to their Kindle reader.

New time frame

This one is a bit mind bending for some, but you have to think about real-time and long-term in the same context.

I tweet as I write something that I think is poignant and again as I write things that seem confusing. People consume this content in a far different manner than, say, a full blog post, but the engagement is incredibly instructional.

Social media is the ultimate real-time content package and this is how you tap it.

New audience

My blog readers and my newsletter subscribers are two very different groups. Sure, there’s some cross over, but some people prefer email newsletters and some won’t read anything that’s not in their RSS reader.

When you understand this fact you can begin to explore the various methods of reaching people in their preferred environment.

Giving away content in the form of a free Amazon eBook is a great way to reach new audiences. Creating workshops and making them available as a Udemy course is a great way to reach new audiences. Reworking your ten all time best blog posts and offering them as guest posts on other blogs is a great way to reach new audiences.

Once you start to think in this vein you’ll never look at a blog post or PowerPoint deck in the same way.

viewbixThis post is sponsored by Viewbix – Easily add apps and calls to action to your video.

One Click Online Meetings with Zipcast

Slideshare, the online presentation sharing service, kind of rocked the online meeting space last week with the introduction of a very nice virtual meeting/presentation tool called Zipcast that’s getting a lot of buzz.

Zipcast allows users to start a virtual meeting from any slides they’ve uploaded to Slideshare and present that meeting to an unlimited amount of viewers instantly.

zipcast from Slideshare

Viewer with slides, video, chat and social features built in

There is a free version, which is ad supported, but still allows for unlimited viewers, and a Pro version staring at $19 month, that comes without ads, allows for unlimited viewing and a dedicated teleconference number for two-way audio. With the paid version you can also password protect your presentation and make them public or invite only.

The biggest difference between Zipcast and established services like WebEx and GoToMeeting is that Zipcast runs fully in the browser using HTML5 technology and doesn’t require any downloads or proprietary software to run. Now, I’ve not tested the service with several thousand viewers or anything, but in initial tests the service is very fast and very easy to use.

Slideshare account holders can create a custom URL to use with Zipcast and then launch meetings immediately or at scheduled times. The viewer comes with built in video, group chat and social invitation functions that make it very easy to tweet or post a meeting to Facebook. Viewers can log in to their Slideshare account or use Facebook to log in and watch a presentation. Social functions are also available to viewers making the spread of ideas going on in a presentation very interactive.

Here’s how to enable a Zipcast meeting:

  1. Click Zipcast on any presentation you’ve uploaded
  2. Select Public or Private
  3. Start Zipcast & enable live video
  4. Invite friends on Facebook & Twitter
  5. Your Zipcast is on

There are some features missing from this offering, such as registration, email reminders and admin control, but for quick and frictionless meetings Zipcast should give some of the entrenched players a run for their money, particularly if they can effectively support that unlimited viewer function. Look for an upcoming meeting or two from me very soon.

How to Keep Tabs on the Greatest Presentations Made Everyday

People are presenting incredible information about your industry or topic of interest in conferences, workshops and trade shows everyday. Wouldn’t it be great if you could know what was being presented in those venues in near real time, without every leaving your office? Or, better yet, wouldn’t it be great if you could also have access to the slides from those presentations the day they were made available?

You’ve probably heard about a tool called Slideshare. If you haven’t, then you’ll love getting to know it, if you already know about and use Slideshare, I want to share a little tip today that will make it even more useful for you.

You can visit Slideshare and do a basic search to find PowerPoint slides that contain information you are looking for, but I find that the presentations that come up to the top are usually quite old (2-3 years) and sometimes not very useful. When I search on a subject I want the newest content.

The way you make Slideshare show you the latest is to search using the tag attribute. Instead of using the search box just type your search into the address bar. So if I want presentations on small business I would type http://slideshare.net/tag/small-business into that address bar in my browser and presto – I get the most recent presentation in chronological order. But, it gets even better, I can subscribe to this search using an RSS reader like Google Reader and then each day I get the most current presentation sent my way. I can scroll through that day’s list and see if I want to view any or just ignore them all.

There, can’t you feel yourself getting smarter already?

Here are the steps

  1. Go to Slideshare.net
  2. Put the tag and search term in the address bar – http://slideshare.net/tag/your-term-here (remember to hyphenate phrases)
  3. View and subscribe to the search

Generating Leads with Slides

This week, one of my favorite content sharing sites introduced a new way to generate leads.

I’ve long been a fan of the social media sharing site Slideshare. Slideshare allows you to upload presentations, much like YouTube videos, and then have them converted to flash movies that can be viewed on line and embedded into web and blog pages.

The site has grown significantly over the last few years and is also a great place to get some really good and really bad examples of PowerPoint use. Presentation owners can enable all manner of viewing, sharing, and downloading or choose to keep the files for private viewing only.

Slideshare has added a new feature, called LeadShare, that looks very worthy of some testing. Now when you upload your slides you can set-up a LeadShare campaign that allows you to embed a form in your presentations and capture leads of viewers. These LeadShare campaigns can be embedded on other sites too. You have a lot of control over the form and even when in your presentation your prospective lead sees the form.

The “white paper as lead” approach that employs a similar capture method has been around for a long time and companies that engage white paper lead generation organizations can pay as much as $100 per lead. The LeadShare system, giving you access to over 2 million visitors a day, can generate leads for as little as $1 a lead.

The jury is still out as to whether this format will prove effective at generating leads, but I think it’s something you could test very easily.

Content Creates Engagement

social networksEngagement is the buzzword of choice when social media experts get together to pontificate. And while I agree that engagement, and ultimately action, is the payoff of social media, few social media experts talk about how it’s really created. Engagement is not really created by being a nice, genuine, caring and attentive sort of chap on twitter. It’s hard to create much momentum in any kind of social network without some of those qualities, but true engagement, engagement that leads to customers and partners, is created with content. Or, perhaps more accurately, engagement is created with engaging content.

I know you’re likely sick of me talking about the need to create lots of education rich content, but there’s just very few ways around it as a typical small business. Some exceptions, marry into lots of money and buy super bowl ads, get Miley Cyrus to wear your product on stage, or get Michael Arrington and Robert Scoble to argue publicly about the merits of your feature set – baring these, think content creation.

When it comes to effective social media use, I personally push towards using a great deal of energy and activity to create awareness for your content. So, of course if you’re to take this advice, you’ve got to have lots of content. Many people do little more than create small talk on social networks and then wonder why they can’t get an ROI for time spent. Most small businesses will be far better off if they look at their status updates on LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter, not as a way to tell the world about what they are doing (unless it’s creating content), but as a way to shed light on valuable content housed either within the particular social network or elsewhere online.

This means uploading videos to Facebook, creating events, such as webinars and optimizing them using the Facebook Events app, uploading PowerPoint presentations to Slideshare and using the Slideshare app for LinkedIn, and creating a quick hit point out of your latest blog post and pointing to it on twitter. That’s how engagement leads to orders.

I’m not suggesting that you don’t also have to make referrals, point out other people’s great content, and provide great answers to questions posed on that network – that’s just smart networking, regardless of the platform, and it’s also an important trust building function. But, at the end of the day, if someone, looking for a solution, can’t find that you have in detailed, multi-format, education based content, then social media participation for business purposes can feel like a big fat high school mixer.

So, if you’re one of those that’s determined social media is a big fat waste of time, then I’m suggesting that what you’ve really discovered is that your sparkling personality isn’t enough to make social media pay.

Image credit: luc legay

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