Content Generation & Syndication – Why you need to push content out consistently, and identifying the right channels.
They say, “Content is King”, and given our inboxes are overflowing with newsletters, invitations to attend webinars, watch a video case study or to download an e-book or whitepaper, it’s clear we are requesting key information to be directed towards us. At the same time, we are also perusing links posted to social media or published on various websites, and are searching key industry platforms which aggregate a variety of information, some of which may be sponsored content, to brush up on specific topics for both personal and professional knowledge enhancement.
Not only are we consuming more information these days, we are digesting it through a variety of mediums, at an increased absorption rate. Hence, there is a reliance on people and companies to produce a lot more content for both internal and external purposes.
Smaller organisations unfortunately, don’t have the luxury of a Marketing Communications (Marcomms) specialist to draft and disseminate content on behalf of the business. How is it possible then, for an SME to reach a broader audience with limited or no resources in this space? Who should take responsibility for the content creation, and identify the target audience you need to attract? Before we answer these questions, let’s first look at why it’s important for all organisations to create and circulate content.
The reason why you need to create an array of content is to promote your Why! How are you able to generate awareness for your business, inspire people to work with you, or turn a profit if you are unable to communicate your purpose, your experience, your capabilities, your products and/or services. Your business might have started through referrals, but at some point, you need to reach beyond your existing network, and to do that you need to showcase your Why through a variety of content generated mediums, and via a range of platforms.
Your company website is going to be the first port of call for most people looking to engage a business with your expertise, so the content on your website is the most important information you need to draft to explain your Why. You might think that’s obvious, but when you really get down to it, you find it’s much harder to draft or reposition your capabilities than expected.
This leads on to another reason why content generation is so important, you need to ensure strong SEO for high Google search rankings. Let’s face it, if you aren’t coming up on the first page of a Google search, it’s unlikely people are going to research your website or get in touch. The best way to improve your SEO and search rankings is to create regular content that is uploaded on to your site and pushed out through all relevant online and social media channels.
Depending on the size of your business, you need to determine what amount of content generation is feasible to achieve. I would create a content calendar, setting monthly, quarterly and yearly targets based on the number of contributors available. If you are engaging a third party to draft the content for you, it’s imperative you identify these milestones and develop clear discussion topics before anything is officially drafted and published. And remember, even though you are not writing it, your individual name and company is being attached to the article, so make sure you have approved both the content and tone used – not to mention, verify all sources and claims.
It’s time to go back to the questions I posed earlier. I’d like to address these in a certain order so that you can see a clear progression of stages which will help you structure your overall content strategy.
1. Identification of your target audience
Assuming you have previously identified your target from a sales perspective, think through who you would like to attract to your business in terms of customers, partners, vendors and potential staff. At the same time, identify your top three competitors from both a horizontal and vertical perspective, as there’s no harm in showing them you mean business.
If you can categorise your target audience in to four or five key areas, you can use this as the basis for drafting the key discussion topics that will cut across multiple streams. Knowing who you are targeting with your content is the first step to structuring your content strategy.
2. Who should take responsibility for the content creation?
If you are drafting industry related content that has a business focus, then it’s best coming from the Managing Director or Founder/ Owner. Technical content should be created by your most senior technical consultant/architect. On occasion, you may require a third-party copywriter to create an impartial whitepaper, e-book case study or survey.
Realistically, the responsibility for the finalised Content Strategy should lie with the Management Team if you don’t have a Marketing Manager, and one clear person identified as the Executive Sponsor to ensure milestones are reached and deadlines adhered to from month to month. I also believe in “sharing the love”, don’t rely on the same people to create content, however, it is important to ensure consistency in the tone of voice, as well as leveraging key terminology, therefore, the Executive Sponsor should be reviewing (and editing) all the content prior to publication.
3. How is it possible to reach a broader audience with limited or no resources in Marcomms?
Now that you have taken the time to create a content calendar, identified the key audiences, and decided who is going to be responsible for drafting the variety of content required, it’s time to turn your attention to your communication channels.
Start with your organic network within your CRM and send them an email with Article Headliners and links to all new content uploaded onto the website. This can be managed by your Office Manager. Next, push all content through your company’s LinkedIn and Facebook profile pages and ask every member of staff to either Like and/or Share each article, image, link etc. for maximum exposure and reach. To increase your digital footprint, boost posts if the organic response rate is positive and high – it’s a cost-effective option. If you prefer to use a third-party application to send your posts via multiple channels at the one time, there are a number available on the market, just choose the right one for you – they will save you time, and for a monthly fee also provide reports and statistics on how your posts and content are performing.
Depending on the audience you are addressing, you will find that various industry or association based publications will be discussing a range of topics throughout the year. Get in their ear, ask for a copy of their schedule, and pick the best topics to showcase your business. In this case, let them create and disseminate the content for you!
There are many more ways for organisations to generate and push their content out to increase awareness and raise their profile, but this is a good starting point. So don’t shy away, get creative today!