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.
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?
RSS to HTML
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.