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5 Ways to Generate Enough Marketing Content

I recently made the mistake of feeding a stray cat at the office. Now it comes back every day expecting more food. Yesterday, there were two cats outside my door. I may have created a monster…

Finding enough content for your marketing might feel like feeding hungry cats. Once you set things in motion, you need a steady stream of content to keep everyone satisfied. How can you possibly keep up? Here are 5 ideas to help you find, repurpose, or create content to feed your need.


1. Develop a strategy.

To accurately assess your content needs, you’ll first need a strategy. Who is your audience? What are their pain points? How can you help them? How often do they need to hear from you? Also consider your organization’s goals. Are you promoting a product or event? Do you need more members? What resources and budget can you dedicate to content marketing? The answers to all these questions will determine how much content you need and what types of content will yield the best results.


2. Mine your existing materials.

The easiest type of content to use is content that already exists. Take a look at your stash of marketing collateral, industry reports, whitepapers, images, infographics, audio or video recordings, and more to see what you might be able to use as-is. Keep in mind, however, that just because it exists doesn’t mean it’s relevant to your target audience. Only choose pieces that are actually useful to your base.


3. Repurpose existing content.

Repurposing content can save you time and effort compared to creating new pieces. Be creative. An infographic can become a video. An interview with an expert can become a podcast. An industry event can become a best practices checklist. We once created a series of short videos for a client using interesting facts from their annual report. Each video contained just one fact that we animated to add interest.


4. Beg or borrow content.

Look to partner organizations as potential sources of content. Their industry reports, infographics, PowerPoint presentations, webinars, or other current information might be relevant to your audience. And don’t be afraid to ask your contacts to be guest contributors to your blog or other publications.


5. Create fresh content.

If you want to maintain your place as an industry influencer, you will need to produce fresh original content at some point. You will likely need a combination of formats to maintain audience interest. Ideas for fresh content: Interview highly engaged members to discuss benefits of your association. Collect testimonials for use on social media posts or videos. Write how-to articles about your products. The possibilities are endless.

Here are just a few additional ideas:
  • Case study
  • E-book
  • Cartoon or illustration
  • FAQ sheet
  • Webinar
  • List
  • Quiz
  • Original research
  • Summary of original research
  • Annual report
  • Whitepaper
  • Survey
  • Timeline
  • Podcast
  • Email newsletter
  • Product review
  • Chart or graph
  • “Day in the Life” article
  • Resources list
  • Photo collage
  • Opinion piece
  • Template

Case study:

To help the National Association of Manufacturers promote their product NAM Energy, we developed a content marketing strategy that included a combination of new and existing materials. The NAM already had an energy-related fact sheet we were able to use by adding the NAM Energy branding elements to the document. We also developed an original infographic and three curated member stories that were featured on individual microsites. The result was a 1688% increase in total revenue for the product.

Content marketing works because it builds trust with your audience by offering something they need. It helps you fulfill an unspoken promise that your association is worth their time. With that relationship solidly in place, your audience is much more receptive to your hard sales pitches for products, events, and membership renewals. Find a way to feed the cats in your neighborhood and your association will see serious ROI from your efforts.

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10 Best Practices for Content Marketing that Converts

When my daughter was in fifth grade, she made a model solar system for the science fair. So did 15 other kids. Many of the entries looked sloppy or hastily put together. Some of the kids couldn’t explain their models very well. My daughter took home the blue ribbon. Her project stood out from the others because it was more detailed, had vibrant colors, and included an in-depth report.

Content marketing is a little bit like bringing a solar system to the science fair. Everyone is doing it. Not everyone is doing it well. Follow these 10 best practices to ensure your content marketing stands out from the crowd and actually converts.


1. Expand your definition of “content”

Go beyond whitepapers and blogs. Content can include podcasts, video, artificial intelligence, FAQs, memes, quizzes, photos, infographics, and more in addition to traditional formats like whitepapers, blogs, and reports. Anything that offers useful information to help your audience can be used in content marketing.


2. Choose the right format

Let your audience determine your format. If podcasts are your most popular offering, for example, do more podcasts. If your audience prefers substantive whitepapers and reports, focus your efforts there. If you don’t have much data on audience preferences, a good bet is to keep it brief. Start with short videos (less than a minute), infographics, checklists, Q&As, or memes.


3. Focus on the customer

Know your audience. What are their pain points? What keeps them up at night? What are their goals and aspirations? You can’t provide useful information if you don’t know what people want. Consider segmenting your list so you can tailor content to audience needs.


4. Offer something valuable

Once you’ve thoroughly considered #3 above, mine your existing brand assets for things people need. Do you have reports, articles, e-books, podcasts, whitepapers, or other helpful tools that will make people’s lives easier? Repurpose relevant materials, but generate original content if your existing stash doesn’t serve your base.


5. Use available data

Whenever possible, make decisions based on data. Look at past performance of emails, ads, and other promotions to see which topics and offers best resonate with your audience. Choose a marketing channel based on demographics or other insights you have about your prospects and members.


6. Schedule your content

Don’t just look at the content you’re launching. Look at what else your audience receives from your association. What other industry events are going on? Time your content when it will have the least amount of competition for attention.


7. Optimize for mobile

There’s a good chance most people read your communications on a mobile device. That means if your content is not mobile optimized, you are wasting your efforts.


8. Speak like a human

Avoid technical terms and industry jargon in favor of conversational, human speech. Your job is to get attention and engage people. You can always follow up later with more in-depth information.


9. Stay true to your brand

Your content marketing should be consistent, unified, and aligned with your existing brand. Consistency helps people recognize you and trust you, two key things that must happen before people will take action.


10. Include a call to action and make it easy to act

Clearly communicate what you want people to do—listen now, download this report, visit this site, etc. Make it easy for them to take action. Try prepopulated lead generation forms so all they have to do is click a button.


Case study:

We helped the Association of Corporate Council build a prospect pool and grow their membership with content marketing. To get attention and build trust, we used the ACC’s existing reports, surveys, and infographics combined with lead generation forms on Facebook and LinkedIn. As a result, we grew the prospect pool by 1400 new email addresses and gained over 600 new members new members.

There’s a lot of poorly executed content marketing out there. Unfortunately, it’s competing for your audience’s attention alongside your efforts. The good news is that it’s still possible to make content work for you—to get attention, nurture your leads into high-quality prospects, and convert them into members and loyal advocates. But if you want to take home the blue ribbon, you’ll have to be better than anyone else.

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