One of the companies I worked for early in my career was a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company, iSearch, which had applicant tracking system (ATS) software. Back then, people still mailed in their resumes in droves and companies needed them scanned into their database to be searchable. The paper resumes would end up in the basement of the building where I worked, where they would be fed into a big scanner and then optical character recognition (OCR) software would convert the documents into computer text. From there, about 20 people at a time would manually check the scanned results to make sure it wasn't a mess. Today we no longer need people to manually input resumes into a database, however, we do need to manually database other things if we want to be successful digital marketers.
Each industry exists online as its own ecosystem of company websites/blogs, trade publications, tradeshows and market analysts that are constantly churning out content. For most content, especially B2B, it only exists for a small group of people who are in that industry and happen to be connected to the small part of the web where it may be seen, typically a corporate blog and their social accounts.
It's rare that any content gets bouyed by enough people that it becomes viral and is seen by a wide audience. Good to note, however, that viral content is pretty much never a blog post, tweet or status update, but are nearly always images or videos, because people.
We have to get smarter about how we leverage content. We must change tactics from publishing on the few channels that we all think we have to do – namely, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter - and start creating strong, custom content distribution networks. There are actually as many channel opportunities for content as there are relevant magazines, blogs and conferences - anywhere that your customers are. It may not make sense to publish on the "Big Three" at all if it's not generating hardly any results, your customers don't spend time there, or customers simply aren't receptive to your messages there.
To build a strong content distribution network, it all starts with social listening.
There really are only two types of marketing content that we can create, original content (primary research) or consolidating content that has already been published (secondary research), giving it new life and adding your own twist. It's no more "cheating" to use published information to create a new marketing piece than it is to utilize secondary research to write a term paper, and the same rules apply:
▶ DO NOT copy text word-for-word
▶ DO put concepts into your own words and add your own thoughts
▶ DO make it obvious when you quote someone and link to the source
Another benefit of using secondary research is that you can see who wrote it and linked to it, so now you start to build your database of Influencers and Websites to reach out to, in order to get your content some attention. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself, so let me back up.
To build a strong content distribution network, it all starts with social listening. If we were helping you with your social marketing efforts, we would begin by building a "keyword Bible" and identifying the low-competition and/or high-competition keywords that we want to target to increase marketshare. We typically start by targeting keywords that generally describe your business, work our way into those that describe products and/or services, then key in on targeted industries... and new content is coming through based on those keywords every single day! We monitor this content, manually tagging and databasing articles, industry Influencers, and the Websites that publish them. From this, we can do all kinds of wonderful things!
▶ Identify Influencers who write for industry publications and blogs
▶ Identify Influencers who share relevant content on social media (may not write for a publication or blog), has authority (helped amplify content based on reach and engagement), and has a large numbers of followers
▶ Identify Editors to send press releases, case studies, etc.
▶ Identify Freelance writers to potentially write for you
▶ Identify Bloggers to build relationships with to market to their audiences
▶ Send Influencers branded merchandise as an outreach campaign to drive partnerships
▶ Send Influencers invitations to product/service related events (press days, user conferences, tradeshows)
▶ Send Influencers gifts and holiday cards
▶ For articles, identify the website that is publishing on behalf of the Influencer
▶ For keywords, identify the top 10 websites that show up in a Google search for that keyword
▶ For articles and the top 10 websites, analyze backlinks (links to them) for valuable websites
▶ Identify content contributor/syndication opportunities to get your content in front of valuable audiences
▶ Identify directory listing opportunities to create more links to your website
▶ Identify online display advertising opportunities to drive paid traffic to your website
Content Creation & Curation
▶ Identify articles by third parties that can be shared through social media (curated content) to build thought leadership
▶ Content writers (yours or ours) can access a database of tagged articles as reference material
▶ Identify opportunities to make infographics, videos, fun surveys, mini games, and other tools that can be shared
▶ Identify potential leads who are quoted in articles, locate them through social media, and offer something of value
▶ Identify competitors in your industry to monitor and perform competitive product/service analysis
▶ Analyze what content performs best for a competitor on any topic
▶ Send competitive news to management and sales teams to be aware of competitive landscape changes
▶ Evaluate competitors’ articles for where in the customers' buying cycle the content lives and to respond competitively
Want us to create a content distribution network for you? Contact us for more information.