As the content manager for many of Text 100’s digital platforms – our blog, Facebook, Twitter, and our newsletter, the Digital Download – I’m constantly trying to come up with new and creative ways to source interesting content that will keep our readers, fans and followers engaged without adding too much work to the plates of our consultants and staff who contribute a great deal to our thought leadership.
I’ve noticed at many of the conferences and events I’ve attended, the same question always comes up: how do you get people to contribute content to your platforms?
If you’re reading this, you’re already aware of the great content on our blog – but did you know that both our readers and contributors are global, we’re posting relevant and engaging content at least three times a week on average, and to top it off, we have about 8-10 new stories in the pipeline at all times? I like to think that’s pretty impressive, especially considering how busy our consultants are on a daily basis. (Unofficial Proof: did you see this fun study that said the marketing/public relations industry has the second-highest proportion of workers who say they need coffee to power through the workday?)
So what’s the secret? Make it as easy as possible for people to contribute to your blog.
While I can tell you that getting this level of engagement for Hypertext means that those of us on the editorial planning side have to do a bit more work (we initially had to create a strategy, draft submission guidelines, and share lots of knowledge about what makes a good blog post, on top of the outreach we do to get contributors), the enthusiasm we receive every time we reach out to someone to write is well worth it.
So, with your strategy and plan in place, here are my top ten tips for sourcing content ideas:
- You probably are already reading the news every day – is there a recent story affecting your industry that you or one of your internal experts can share an opinion on?
- Any time someone attends an industry event, ask him or her to share their takeaways in a post – or, sync up with them beforehand and see if they can draft a post about what they’re most looking forward to.
- If your company publishes research, white papers, or any other sort of report, look for a way to take that content and turn it into a blog post or two – perhaps it’s a matter of shedding perspective on why you chose to tackle that research, or maybe you can break up the white paper into pieces that serve as little snippets of helpful content for your readers.
- People love lists (just like this!). Can you create a list of benefits for doing something, a list of tips for people using your product, or even a list of recent industry links that you’re reading?
- Conduct an interview with someone within your company. This is a great tactic for engaging someone with an interesting position who might not be comfortable drafting content themselves.
- Tap in to the expertise of your company’s HR, marketing, finance or sales teams. Ask them to draft a post talking about how their work relates back to the company’s goals and objectives.
- People love how-to posts (almost as much as they love lists!) – can you create a video or a step-by-step tutorial on how to use one of your products or services?
- Take one of your company’s recent press releases and drill it down into two jargon-free paragraphs explaining its significance.
- Has someone in your company done a presentation recently? Take their slides and share them on the blog, or ask them to draft a short post on what they presented on and why it’s important.
- Pull questions and content from existing forums – look for questions on LinkedIn or Quora worth posing to your readers, or perhaps there is a customer service inquiry posted on your company forum that you can use as the basis of a post. And when in doubt, use your Facebook or Twitter following to your advantage – ask a question of your followers, and share their responses in a post.