Savvy marketers know that content marketing is key when it comes to building up a relationship with other sites, social networks, and syndication partners.
Whether or not you agree with slapping the (buzz)phrase 'content marketing' across many of the already commonly used SEO tactics, everyone can agree the technology to find, distribute and track how content delivers ROI (meaning influencer tracking, social analytics, custom CRMs) has really kick-started an interest in the field.
We’ve written broadly on content strategy in the past, but in this post I thought I’d share a bit more about our internal approach to a specific area of content creation.
Evergreen content is an important part of strategy to avoid news hooks and produce reference material as well as niche content that appeals to specific needs of your audience.
If you pay attention to what your audience is attracted to (a simple way to do this is simply to watch the most commented posts on a blog or social channel) and produce targeted evergreen content, your natural position in search will benefit greatly over time.
While a press release and early outreach to our network of bloggers and writers who cover the sectors we specialise in is always a must from a news-driven approach, an evergreen approach takes much more time, effort and structure.
Use your employee base
If you are a mid to large size organization or have multiple internal teams and revenue streams, you need to open things up on a number of levels. Start by hosting regular “content marketing brainstorms” where different departments share input and ideas around the messaging that is guiding their efforts.
As Econsultancy grows (we are currently approaching 50 employees in the London office alone) I’ve found it helpful to assign just one point of contact as the lead for content efforts with each other area of business.
Define your stakeholders
The PR side of your content marketing efforts is about growing your external network of bloggers/influencers who may be interested in your topic or data. Again, here you should be thinking about incentive.
We give our network early access to report findings and new statistics through my personal time/outreach efforts and a LinkedIn Group I am hoping to grow to a much more pull than push approach, where journalists know they can ask us for what they might need.
On the content creation side, our stakeholders can include contributing bloggers, vendors who have been resources for a particular report or topic, and of course our growing subscriber base world-wide.
Mapping these contacts into an internal database, and making sure that their social profiles (Twitter being the most important to us) are captured should be your second priority after employee contacts are assigned.
Whether it’s writing, shooting/editing video, or using a more creative visual approach to your content through infographics, creating content is hard work.
Producing enough quality content on my own across reports we produce, the training program, events, and client service case studies would be an insurmountable task.
Flat out bribery is always a solid call to action if you have budget for gift cards or extra Holiday, but a simple leaderboard or ongoing call out in a company email for top performers will help gamify your crowdsourcing, while simultaneously stimulating a fun and educational way for everyone to learn more about the various business areas.
Prepare a style guide
I’m spoiled in my position in that Econsultancy has run a successful independent editorial channel via our blog (currently at c950K pageviews per month) and so a style guided existed before I came on.
This simple 20-30 page PDF is shared with our network of contributors, and helps in making sure the copy, which always gets a final review from our blog editor, is in good and consistent shape before being taken live.
Choose your “Basecamp” for content marketing
Once you have your employees onboard, have defined stakeholders and a contributor network, and have incentivised posts/ideas that will be in a consistent tone for the brand, the final step for your evergreen content creation will be an internal system for organising ideas and posts around a shared calendar.
This can be as simple as a shared Google Doc and Calendar, or a more advanced software-as-a-service that acts much in the same way that Basecamp can when it comes to team collaboration and project management.
Currently at Econsultancy, we are experimenting with a tool called Relaborate, which I like for its simple design and the creator's understanding of the "stakeholders" point I made above.
With Relaborate, each of the internal contacts across different teams here has a view into a calendar of planned "content marketed" posts I have on file, as well as the ability to suggest their own content.
The system then lets me assign requests (in the form of email notifications) like "review before X date," or "publish" to the editorial team here, and also has some great added social features, like the ability to track trending hashtags on Twitter, and plug into LinkedIn's API for stakeholder suggestions.
Do you have a tool or method for sourcing your evergreens for content marketing needs? If so, I'd love to hear more about it in comments.