Why You Should Involve People in Your Content Marketing
Marketing and technology seem to be colliding these days. Marketers have sophisticated tools for automation, personalization, analytics and more — making their lives simultaneously easier and more difficult.
On the backend, this is all made possible by technologists who have a passion for creating new ways to reach, engage and entice audiences — consistently releasing new products, solutions and workflows.
That’s why we wanted to bring together the tech-savvy marketer and the marketing-savvy technologist over a series of events aimed at advancing marketing. Last month, we held our first Tech & Marketing meetup, in partnership with Vidcaster, for a packed house!
We led the series with 5 Takes on the Future of Content Marketing. Along with four other content marketers from LinkedIn, Vidcaster, SmartRecruiters and Atomic, we all had 7 minutes to give a lightning talk on one aspect of content marketing.
Why Involve People in Your Content
My talk focused on why it’s so important to involve people in the content you produce. We now operate in a world where content marketing is the norm. If you’re not doing it, you’re officially a late adopter. But, not all content is created equal.
While researching my talk, I stumbled on this comment that Kathy Klotz Guest left on Brian Solis’s blog. She said, “The worst thing to happen to marketing was marketers who never understood that people matter.”
When it comes to content marketing, I think this comment rings especially true. There’s a lot of content out there that doesn’t serve the audience for which it’s intended. Part of the problem is too many marketers are serving the infamous content beast, not their people.
In my talk, I asked the audience, “Are you creating content for the right reasons?”
Is your content answering the right questions?
Is it reaching the right people?
Is it delivering the right value?
One way to answer these questions and create a content marketing program that connects you with the right audience is to involve the people you care about in your content strategy. There are many ways to do this. Here are four with examples:
1. Listen with a Purpose
As you monitor the conversations on social networks and blogs, pay attention to the questions and debates. One good place to look is in the comments of other blogs. You’ll find unanswered questions that you can use to inspire your next content piece.
Mark’s Daily Apple is a blog about nutrition and fitness. The author looks for opportunities to bring clarity to controversial topics. In this post, he address comments about gluten-free diets after noticing many angry debates taking place around the web. I noticed that this post received 5x more engagement that other pieces he published around the same time.
2. Support Your Audience
Your customers, online influencers and prospects are special people. Presumably they are doing interesting work that benefits your industry. Use your assets (website, blog, events, etc.) to let them shine and share their stories.
I started an interview series at Traackr called The Engagers, in which I interview Earth’s Mightiest Marketers. My goal for the series was to A) answer some of the most burning questions our prospects ask us via the voice of experts and B) connect with our own customers and influencers. The result is stronger relationships with the people who matter to us and a high-quality series of posts that consistently bring us new traffic.
3. Crowdsource Your Content
Instead of trying to provide all the answers yourself, turn to your community to develop rich content with a diversity of perspectives. Ask questions on your social channels, gather the responses and package it up into a useful resource.
David Spark, journalist, producer and content marketer, does a kick-ass job of pulling together crowdsourced content. In this example, he rounds up 20 good sales follow-up techniques. On top of answers, David provides additional information that make his piece actionable for his readers.
4. Combine Forces & Expertise
One of the most powerful ways to tell your story is to get out of the way and let someone else tell it. If you don’t have the in-house expertise in an area, look for influential subject matter experts who can help you tell a deeper story.
NetBase is a social intelligence solution that operates in a very noise world when it comes to content marketing. To rise above the rest, it partnered with, Nichole Kelly, a known expert in its field, to create a definitive guide to ROI in social media. The result is that NetBase not only accesses Nichole Kelly’s trusted audience, it also creates better content than it could alone.
In each example, the content marketers were looking to the people who matter most to them to inspire their strategy. From listening to your influencers to supporting them or even collaborating with them, there’s a spectrum of ways to involve people in your content.
When you put people at the heart of your content strategy, you no longer find yourself feeding a nondescript beast, but instead you find your content becomes a vector for creating and sustaining relationships with the people you seek to influence.
What other ways can you involve your influencers and advocates in your content? Please share ideas in the comments!