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Shortcuts to Creating Original Content

Despite the benefits of sharing others’ content (and there are plenty of benefits, but that’s another post), original content always performs better in terms of publicity, lead generation and increased online following. I know this both from anecdotal experience and from stats floating about the Internet. Original content does much better in Google searches, and it establishes thought leadership much more effectively than re-posting someone else’s content. Netflix has made leaps and bounds in business due to original shows like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black. Also, only original content can go viral.

taylor-swift-writers-block-dump-your-boyfriend1However, as we all know, creating original content is hard work. Like extraordinarily hard work. Researching, writing, editing, designing, producing, organizing. It’s all very labor-intensive, and it’s even more disheartening when you realize content production is only half of the process. (For an overview of the other half, check out ASPE’s blog post here.) It’s easy to understand why blogs are abandoned, Twitter feeds sit idle of years, and YouTube channels are updated, well, never. Content marketing can feel like a black hole — the more content you create, the more pressure you feel to create even more.

I do my best to stay above the craziness with a few simple tricks I’ve learned over the years. Hopefully, you can use them too!

Tip 1: Drag out the content:

I’ve talked about this several times in webinars and blog posts, and this process is used by nearly every content marketer. Essentially you want to focus on creating two to three large pieces of content each month (like a webinar, white paper or event) and then divide that content into chunks that you release over a period of time (i.e. A webinar can give you twitter quotes, photos, a YouTube video, a follow-up blog post, etc.). This isn’t a new idea. However, I’m challenging you to drag the content out, and I mean reaaaaaaaaallly drag it out. A few ideas include:

  • Visuals with every piece of content. Every blog post gets a branded photo. Turn pull-quotes into bright, motivational memes. You’d be surprised to find how much you can convey in an infographic.
  • Pre-content teases: Got a blog post? Don’t publish it immediately. Instead, announce that you have an “upcoming blog post on topic X.” Include a juicy quote. Really build the anticipation.
  • Live content: Are you hosting an event? Live tweet it. Get ambitious and live-blog it. Post photos to Facebook as you take them.
  • Post content in a series: If you’ve got a dynamic white paper or lengthy blog post, break it up! Give a part 1, and a few weeks later provide part 2. Any Hunger Games or Harry Potter fan will tell you this is annoying, but it works so well to build excitement!
  • Get personal: I’m amazed at how just about anything works on Instagram, if you add a personal touch. Setting up for an event? Take a team selfie. Designing a new product? Get an action shot. Did two employees come to work dressed identically? Instagram it! (I’m totally serious here. I had a client that did this without telling me, and I freaked out … until I saw it got more likes than anything I’d posted to date.) Personality works, and it’s so easy!

Tip 2: Get your audience to create content for you:

This is also not that unique of a strategy, but it works really well. People love it when you promote them, and will happily help publicize content that shows off what they have to offer. There’s a danger of falling into the “replicated content” trap, but it’s easy to keep content original by using these strategies:

  • Photo contests: Ask users to tag photos with your username and a special hashtag. Use those photos as a way to promote your contest. Share the winning photo with a congratulatory note.
  • Ask questions and turn the responses into a blog post or infographic: This works especially well if you already have a network of bloggers or other partnerships. One of my clients is an endurance supplement company that sponsors elite athletes. Our latest blog post was nothing more than quotes from our athletes about how they stay motivated in the winter. And each athlete was very happy to promote this post on their own channels.

Tip 3: Partner up:

This is a more-involved version of Tip 2. If you partner with similar influencers in your industry to co-host a webinar or co-write an eBook, you’ll do half the work and get access to twice the audience. That’s a cost-benefit analysis that would please anyone.

  • The only example here is to co-host, co-author, co-present, co-publicize, co-whatever. Just find a partner and create something awesome together.

Hopefully these tips can help reduce the time you spend on content marketing:

What are your shortcuts? I’m always looking for new ways to produce more content with less effort, so I’d love to hear from you!

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