5 smart ways to create additional content for your company blog!

by Mack Collier

How many of you have considered starting a blog for your company, but really have no idea how you could blog on a regular basis?  I get it, most bloggers have this problem, hell I constantly struggle with getting posts out on a regular basis and keeping the content fresh here.

But over time, many bloggers have learned how to either repurpose existing content, or to create new content that can be distributed via multiple social channels.  Here’s some ideas for taking content that your company is already creating, and using it on your blog.

1 – White papers.  Or case studies, or research papers.  You’re likely already sharing these with your non-blog audience, why not turn them into blog posts for your blog?  Did you write a white paper on ‘5 Ways the Cattle Industry Can Modernize For the Next Decade’?  Then why not turn that into a 5-part series of posts?  Maybe update the content a bit, add a tweak here and there, and you’ve gotten a couple weeks worth of blog posts right there!

2 – Internal Power Point presentations.  Some of these will definitely have content that you don’t want to share publicly, but if it’s fair game, add them to SlideShare, then embed them on your blog!  Each deck can be a separate blog post!  Just add a quick explanation, and there you go!

3 – Video interviews with company executives and customers.  This is how Robert Scoble made a name for himself at Microsoft.  He went around Microsoft interviewing the people that worked there, and blogged it.   The videos were remarkably effective in letting Microsoft’s customers ‘get to know’ the people that worked there.  You could do the same thing for your executives as well as customers!  The videos could not only be embedded into posts on your blog, they could also be housed on your YouTube channel!

4 – Industry events and conferences.  Oh you can create a TON of content at events that can benefit your blog and other social media efforts!  First, you can take pictures.  Those pictures can then be posted to Flickr, or Twitpic, or Facebook, or…..in a blog post!  Next you have video, you can create a ton of video about the event itself, and also you can interview company execs about the event, or thought leaders in the industry and speakers at the event!  Finally, you can write a blog post recapping the event itself!  THEN when you write that post recapping the event, you can also use the pictures and video you shot during the event!  Now you start to see why bloggers love attending social media conferences, eh? 😉

BONUS:  If you have a Twitter account, you can live-tweet the event!  Another favorite among conference attendees!

5 – Answer questions from your customers.  Many websites have a section or contact form where you can ask a question about the company, it’s products, or both.  Mine these questions for potential blog post ideas!  And when possible, mention the customer that asked the question you are answering, and link to her site or blog!  This just increases the chance that she will comment on your post AND promote the post to HER social network!

So there you go!  That’s 5 quick and easy ways to take existing content that you’re already creating, and use it for new blog posts.  Seriously, between these 5 ideas, couldn’t you get at least one more post a week up on your blog?

BTW if your company has been reluctant to start blogging simply because they aren’t sure where to get content from, show them this post.  Then I bet you can start brainstorming and come up with even more ways to leverage existing content your company is creating, into additional blog posts!

I want to thank CK for this post idea, and if you are a B2B company that needs help with social media and/or mobile marketing, definintely check out CK’s blog!

Ron Shevlin July 1, 2010 at 11:18 am

Good list, Mack. I think it’s interesting to note what you didn’t put in the list: Marketing material.

Mack Collier July 1, 2010 at 11:36 am

Thanks Ron! I think many companies have a misconception that there can be no marketing or self-promotion done via their blog. This isn’t the case, you can promote yourself and your company, you just have to be mindful of HOW you do it.

For example, let’s say a company launched a blog, and after 6 months, the company could track a 25% increase in traffic to the company’s website, due to traffic from the blog. That’s a great case study, and if the company were to write up a post about this and frame it as ‘here’s how we did it, and here’s what we learned’, then they’ve created significant value for their readers, and even other companies. Such a post would also likely be very popular with social media sites such as Mashable, and in the end, would send even MORE traffic to the blog, and boost it’s exposure.

But if the company simply wrote a ‘here’s why you should read our blog’ post, no one would care. Yet by writing up the post as a case study, the company creates value for others, which leads to a lot of additional exposure for the blog and company.

Any company can promote and market itself via social media, it just needs to be VERY mindful of how that marketing is positioned.

Marie Grimaldi @mgrimaldi July 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm

Great post, Mack! Many companies have so much content they don’t even think to repurpose! I also think there’s a misconception that blog posts need to be very formal–not the case at all! Everything from watercooler business conversations to customer phone calls can provide great fodder for sparking conversation on a blog.

Mack Collier July 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I think the problem many company blogs have is that actually do repurpose content….straight from their website.

But you’re right Marie, even everyday interactions with customers or fellow employees can be fodder for blog posts. Personal bloggers do this, why can’t company bloggers?

@JesseLuna July 1, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Great list Mack! You post shows that businesses don’t have to reinvent the wheel, most of the time they already have the content and topics.

I got blogging started at my previous company, a B2B electronics company. At first, I was the main one generating blog ideas then would have the product experts write the copy. I would post the item and managed all aspects of the blog. About a year later, we re-designed the blogging architecture on the site and the area experts were trained to do their own blogging and come up with their own topics. They’ve done a nice job.

The other tip I would add to your list is to encourage feedback from all the different company functional areas. Marketing can use it to promote products and company news, HR can use it to help with recruiting, Information Technology can use it to demonstrate new site features/releases, etc. We even had our warehouse manager getting in on the blogging action. And, you can do blogging for *internal* company reasons. Sometimes these things aren’t obvious and only the functional area leaders will be able to tell you what they really need.
.-= @JesseLuna´s last blog ..20 Ways To Add Video To Your Blog Today =-.

Mack Collier July 1, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Jesse I think you just hit on a key reason to get multiple departments involved in the blog writing. In general, the ‘marketing people’ are better at being conversational and crafting interactive content, but sometimes don’t do as well with the technical aspects. On the other hand, the people that are product experts that DO understand the technical aspects of the products, don’t always do the best job of connecting with readers. Those are both generalizations, but you get the idea.

Heather Villa July 2, 2010 at 4:17 am

Everyone has different points of view and ideas within an organization. A few months ago I implemented a program where team members could to contribute to our company blog. This has created a great flow of diverse content and creativity on the blog. It also has helped in promoting some ownership within the organization.

Great list Mack!
.-= Heather Villa´s last blog ..The Fastest- Easiest- Most Efficient Way to Get Stuff Done =-.

Mack Collier July 2, 2010 at 2:16 pm

Heather that’s very interesting. Have you seen any indications that these team members have taken what they are learning from blogging/social media applying that to the company’s existing internal and external communications?

Heather Villa July 4, 2010 at 4:54 am

We are a virtual organization. All of our internal communication is done via email, instant messaging, and telephone. In order for my organization to work well, everyone must communicate well.

What I have seen is a rise in the quality of work and the moral. My belief is if you can instill a sense of ownership, then you are partners working WITH you instead of employees working FOR you.

The other thing I have seen is that once they have this sense of ownership, they then promote and talk about the organization on their own social media accounts. In a positive way. This benefits the company in a number of ways.
.-= Heather Villa´s last blog ..Weekend Reading- My fav’s from this week- 7-2-10 =-.

mack collier July 6, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Oh that is a GREAT point about instilling a sense of ownership in the direction of the company, and then these people have the incentive to promote the company to their own social media networks. Love that!
.-= mack collier´s last blog ..5 smart ways to create additional content for your company blog- =-.

Tanya Lee July 2, 2010 at 9:41 am

Great list Mack! Good to see this post and read some of your ideas. So many blogs I read focus on large businesses and what they are doing correctly or incorrectly with regards to blogging. Always good to see a post that gives ideas for businesses of all sizes to be able to jump in with both feet and implement!

Mack Collier July 2, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Thanks Tanya! I think so many companies forego blogging because they don’t think they can keep up with the content-creation demands. I wanted to use this post as a way to illustrate that they are probably already creating content in several forms, that could be utilized on their blog!

Nicole De Falco July 2, 2010 at 11:29 am

Hi Mack! Tanya’s comment is right on about these ideas being useful for companies of all sizes. I work/network with a lot of entrepreneurs and small business owners who fear blogging because they see it as a huge “time suck.” They envision themselves chained to the keyboard hammering out content while their other responsibilities pile up like dirty laundry in the corner of a dorm room. Some of the suggestions here demonstrate not only the ease of generating and posting content, but also the ways to spread the responsibility across multiple people. By the way, another excellent source of content, especially for sole proprietorships, is to enlist “guest bloggers.”

Take Care Mack–see you in the Twitterverse!

Mack Collier July 2, 2010 at 2:21 pm

Hey Nicole! Yes and I think once companies start repurposing some of their existing content for their blogs, I think they’ll start thinking about ways to do this in the future. Events are a great example, because there so many ways to create and utilize content created there. Video interviews can go on the blog as well as a YouTube Channel. Pictures can work on the blog in a post recapping the event, plus they can go to Flickr and Facebook. Plus you can live-tweet the event, and use those tweets as takeaways for the blog post recapping the event!

So many opportunities out there, not just for company bloggers, but personal bloggers as well!

Kim Kolb July 2, 2010 at 12:51 pm

Mack I am reposting this article for all my clients to see. You said it so well there is no need to repurpose it. I think my new blog slogan is “What size brick do you want” so I can smack you up side the head to get you to realize that blogging is important.!!

Riyaz July 4, 2010 at 3:07 am

Hi Mack! great list. This is not only useful to companies but also to bloggers in general.

I liked the #5. Blog comments from readers can often give ideas on the next post. I recently released a WordPress social plugin GetSocial, which got a very good response. Questions users asked is certainly giving me ideas to post how-to guides on tweaking it further.
.-= Riyaz´s last blog ..Socialize Your Blog with GetSocial WordPress Plugin =-.

Eric July 5, 2010 at 1:09 pm

All great ways to get additional information.

One way I do it is to work hard on getting people involved in my Monthly Experience and the Enhanced section as well. Help spread content all over the web on my blog and add value by doing so.

Great ideas here! :)
.-= Eric´s last blog ..Blogging Better- The Two Simple Ways To Do So =-.

Alison July 6, 2010 at 9:58 am

We’ve used each of these methods on our B2B corporate blogs. #1 is good for lead gen when the white paper requires registration. The blog puts some useful content out there & points readers to the paper to learn more. For #2, I often just pull one or two slides, and turn them into a single blog post. One example is a post I did called, “Analytic truths or analytic myths?” which reprinted a slide from a customer presentation & generated some good discussions on Twitter and industry blogs.

mack collier July 6, 2010 at 1:47 pm

Alison that’s a great idea about using individual slides as the basis for blog post. An even more efficient use of existing content!
.-= mack collier´s last blog ..5 smart ways to create additional content for your company blog- =-.

Janet Aronica July 8, 2010 at 11:19 am

Hey Mack! Great post. I like your last tip about answering questions from customers. Although oneforty is kinda new and still building up our reputation and customer base, I am trying to answer the questions of *potential* customers based on the questions I see re: Twitter apps based on some of the saved searches I have set up on CoTweet. It’s pretty much the gift that keeps on giving for SEO and also because people are constantly asking for the iPad apps, Blackberry apps, etc… If I do a post well, I have something to refer people to for a while (until it becomes outdated and I have to write another one. :) )

Great tips! Thanks again for the #chatchat advice.

community manager @oneforty

mack collier July 10, 2010 at 11:44 am

Janet that is a GREAT point about answering questions from POTENTIAL customers. You could also extend that to answering potential questions from customers or potential customers! That’s really mostly what I blog about here, either issues/problems current clients are having, or ones that potential clients are facing.

Great reminder, and thanks for stopping by 😉
.-= mack collier´s last blog ..Understanding why Social Media works- in less than 3 minutes =-.

Sherry Lowry July 8, 2010 at 7:06 pm

Mack, obviously, here’s a feast of #blogchat themes and topics for a good 6 months!

Isn’t it interesting how ANY content creation that has real legs can be used so very, very many ways. This definitely qualifies for a terrific small business “rule” of the successful:

“Anything worth creating ONCE, is clearly worth retrofitting and releasing into FIVE different streams for a blend of monetized and free resources.” (just made that up expressed just ike that…but it’s based on real stats from somewhere or other in the Small Business Development world. Promise!)

So…what could you do next with all this – or you probably, knowing you, already HAVE and this is a re-contribution back out once it seasoned and laid fallow a spell. 😉

But let me be clear just in case someone else is puzzled…anything, anything, you decide or agree to prep up for: a talk, a workshop, an article, a free perk downloadable, even a detailed conversation, an elaborate agenda, a significant post, a “work for hire” piece, etc…commit to being able to find FOUR additional uses for it, as well.

Let’s take your white paper suggestion….

Just last week, our good, mutual friend, @ConnieReece, suggested i take a big chunk I NEEDED to really do something other than post on my main site – and convert it into a white paper. Duh!

That’s only been hanging around out there, with occasional updates, probably 4 yrs. And tho the content (distinctions between coaching, mentoring, consulting, counseling, et al) still remains useful, it’s long outlived a primary roost on that site.

I just didn’t know what else to DO with it! Am realizing, also with help of Connie, I’ve have a closet of archives of similar content. My field really needs well depth context released to the free world. I’m qualified.

A lot is changing since I met you, and now that Connie and I are actively talking “what next!”

If anyone’s looking for some qualified social media consulting, I’m definitely able to point them the way of both of you.

Armen J. July 14, 2010 at 7:17 am

You mentioned a good list for creating Blog entries, we at CERTPOINT started our Blog a few months ago, and we were always thinking of how to find content, but we are doing #1, #2, #4 from your list, i will try on #3 and #5 as i learned from this excellent article. Our company is a B2B company and i have to say that Blog is a great way to generate traffic to our website and our social networking sites. I liked the idea in one of the comments above that Blogs should not be formal, they can be informal and do the job even better, good point. Our latest Blog a few days ago was #4 from your list above, our lessons from an event.

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