5 Ways to Create Content With Limited Resources

March 02, 2015

Today we are excited to have a post by Dennis Shiao, Director of Content Marketing at DNN.

Your boss attends a cocktail party, where she talks to a number of marketing professionals. What’s all the chatter about? Content marketing. So you receive an email on Saturday at 10:30pm: “Hey, what’s our content marketing plan?”

“Well, if only I had the time to think about that. I’m the only person on the team,” you say to yourself. But thankfully, you think better of it before firing back such an improper reply.

In this post, I’ll provide five ways for you to create content, even if you’re the only person on the content team. I’ll start with tactics involving zero hard cost, then build up to programs for which you’ll need to spend some money.

1)    Encourage Colleagues to Contribute Content

Question: “Where can you find some of your industry’s top subject matter experts?”

Answer: “In your own building.”

Look around and you’ll find them. Your colleagues in Product, Engineering, Customer Success (and other departments) are experts not only in your products, but in your industry. On a daily basis, they’re speaking to customers, partners and other experts. Sorry to say it, marketers, but they have deeper knowledge than you do. Leverage that knowledge.

I used this approach at my company, DNN. I called it “href="http://www.dnnsoftware.com/blog/10-steps-to-building-a-culture-of-content-in-your-organization">building a culture of content.” Before you source contributors, explain the value of publishing content, and the benefits it brings to both the individual and the organization.

Next, create a process for submitting content, along with a reward and recognition system for those who participate. The more buzz and excitement you build, the more others will say, “Hey, I want to be part of that.” Before long, you’ll be feeding a steady stream of posts to your company’s blog. And you’ll find yourself shifting from hands-on writer to hands-on editor. It’ll be fun.

2)    Curate (and Share) Collections of Content

I love reading long-form content, but as a one-person team, your time is precious. You’re not able to produce 1,500 word blog posts each week. So what can you do instead? Find and curate existing content. Think to yourself, “what would make my customers’ lives easier?” and then find articles and posts that address that scenario.

Assemble your curated content, and provide your own thoughts, so that you’re complementing (or adding to) the piece being shared. You can provide your curated collections in e-newsletters, blog posts or podcasts. As long as customers find your curated content+commentary useful, you can’t go wrong with this approach.

3)    Invite Folks to Guest Post on Your Blog

The post you’re reading right now is an example: Straight North invited me to guest post on their blog (thanks, Straight North!). Guest posts bring outsiders’ perspectives that complement the contributions from your team.

Guest contributors may bring deeper expertise in particular subject areas. In addition, they can bring their own following with them, exposing your blog and website to entirely new audiences. For instance, I’ve shared this blog post a few times on Twitter. People who follow me on Twitter (but not Straight North) may find the Straight North blog and become a subscriber.

4)    Outsource Content Creation to Agencies

Here’s the first tactic that involves hard costs.

Over the past few years, I’m finding more and more agencies looking to help marketers with content marketing. Recently, Chief Content Officer Magazine provided a list of content marketing agencies. The list spanned multiple pages of the magazine.

I’ve outsourced the creation of eBooks to a few agencies and was very happy with the outcome. Because you have deeper subject matter expertise than the agency, you’ll need to guide them on both the high level objectives, as well as the “delivery” of the message.

Expect to provide the direction any good editor would, changing copy, or asking the agency to re-work entire sections altogether. I like that agencies manage the content project from end to end: the timeline, the deliverables, the design elements and the finished product. I’ll continue to use agencies to fulfill my content development.

5)    Partner with Firms Providing Sponsored Research

You’ll need to open the wallet wider with this approach, but it may be well worth it.

Assuming you don’t have cycles available to manage your own research project, look to firms you can partner with, to sponsor their research. Look for research that’s useful to your customers. I’d ask for a minimum of two things in the sponsorship: attribution within the report (e.g. logo, “about us” and a link to your website) and the rights to re-distribute the report.

You can decide whether to gate or ungate (i.e. place a registration form in front of) the report. If you wish to gate the report, make sure that arrangement is spelled out and agreed to by your research partner.

Sponsoring third party research gives you awareness, brand association, new leads (if applicable) and fresh content assets. It’s a nice arrangement where you trade “turnkey process” for the costs involved.

Conclusion

I hope this post helped you understand that as a one-person team, getting started with content marketing is easier than it seems. Combine a number of approaches that involve colleagues, guest contributors, freelancers and partners. And now, armed with your plan, you can reply to your boss. Don’t forget to ask her how the cocktails were.

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