(NOTE – This post originally appeared in the first issue of my newsletter that’s aimed at helping companies better utilize Social Media to connect with their companies. Each week’s issue includes original content like this that’s aimed at helping your company or organization improve its Social Media Marketing efforts. Please click here if you would like to subscribe to the newsletter. And thanks!)
I’ve been working with a client that has a problem I bet a lot of you can relate to. They have several blogs, and are constantly struggling with finding enough compelling content for each blog and each channel they have. The Social Media Manager has been trying to get help internally from Subject Matter Experts, but that’s been a frequent dead-end. So instead of actually managing the company’s Social Media efforts, she often becomes the defacto content creator.
Let’s tackle this problem by looking at three different areas:
1 – What type of content can you create?
2 – Can you re-purpose any existing content?
3 – How can you better ‘encourage’ your Subject Matter Experts to become more involved?
What Type of Content Can You Create?
Let’s be honest, creating compelling content is an issue that all social media users face, and it can be an especially difficult challenge for companies. I think that most companies aren’t sure how to handle this, so they default back to what they know best: Their products and services. As I wrote about recently on my blog, Social Media doesn’t function well as a direct-selling channel. So think about the type of content you can create that will be valuable for your customers. I am a big fan of content that teaches vs content that promotes.
For example: Let’s say your company makes cameras. Is it better to write blog posts that tell me why your cameras are the best on the market, or is it better to write blog posts that teach me how to take better pictures? That’s probably what I want, I don’t want to buy the best camera, I want to take the best pictures! If you can teach me how to do that, then I am more likely to give you my business!
Now when it comes to the actual type of content, think about mixing up your media. Don’t focus just on posts and whitepapers. What about videos? Photographs? If you can alternate between different forms of media, that makes your content more interesting. Also think about creating content that can be used in more than one place. A short video interview can go on your website, in a blog post, on Facebook, and on your YouTube channel. That’s four destinations from one piece of content!
Here’s another example; Let’s say you’re going to attend an industry conference. There’s several opportunities for creating content:
1 – You can live-blog the event! All you need to do is recap your experience each day on your blog. This gives your blog unique content that your competitors probably won’t be publishing. Plus, it’s content that people in your industry will find value in.
2 – Take pictures. These pictures can be included in your recap posts on your blog, but can also be shared on your website, Facebook, Flickr, etc.
3 – Do short video interviews with speakers and industry experts in attendance. This is a GREAT way to create content that others will be interested in. Chris Yates at Huddle Productions does a fascinating job with this. Chris and his team attend Social Media events and interview speakers and industry experts, then post those interviews on the company’s blog. Earlier this month at SXSW, Chris snagged an interview with Mashable CEO Pete Cashmore. As luck would have it, right before Chris posted the interview, a major rumor was reported that CNN was going to buy Mashable. So suddenly everyone was looking for any recent interview with Cashmore, and that meant more views for Chris’ video interview with him!
What About Re-Purposing Existing Content?
The odds are you have already created a lot of content that you can re-purpose and use in a new way. A classic example of this is whitepapers. Many companies have whitepapers on their website. Why not take some of your most popular ones, and break them up into multiple blog posts? You can break them up, update any information that needs to be changed, and you’ve got a few new blog posts!
Another idea is taking customer questions or issues, and addressing them via new content. For example, if you see that many customers are having the same question/issue/complaint, why not write a new blog post that addresses it? This will also drive more search traffic to your blog because the odds are if some of your customers are writing about an issue, that other customers are encountering the same thing.
Finally, check your blog’s analytics and see what search terms are leading people to your blog. If you see keyword phrases like ‘How do I…’ or ‘What’s the best way to…’, guess what, those are blog posts! Write a blog post that answers that search query, and you’re set!
How Can You Better Encourage Your Subject Matter Experts to Become Involved?
When it comes to trying to get more involvement from Subject Matter Experts, a frequent mistake companies make is trying to ‘push’ only one method on them. If you are trying to convince a SME to write a monthly blog post for you and they aren’t comfortable with their writing skills, the odds are they won’t want to do it. So give them other options. For example, ask them if they would mind if you interviewed them and had them talk about what they do for a few minutes. Then you could take the video, give a bit of background in a blog post, and you’ve got your post! Or maybe a SME doesn’t want to blog, but they might like the idea of dealing with customers directly on Twitter or Facebook and helping them with their product issues!
A great way to get more involvement from your SMEs is to approach them with the mindset of ‘What would YOU like to do?’ versus ‘Here’s what we’d like for you to do.’ Give them several options, and you greatly increase their chances of contributing in some way.
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