Nearly all organizations create informational content. Content marketing experts define informational content as material that has value on its own. No one has to buy a product or sign up for anything to benefit from that value. This is in contrast to advertising copy or marketing content deployed to convince potential buyers to make a purchase.
Informational content may appear in blogs, newsletters, social media posts, or articles on a company website. The company might have produced the material for a presentation, trade show collateral, or created salesperson leave-behinds.
Write Once, Read Many
Those are all great uses of informational content, but I see a lot of businesses in our industry being wasteful. They slave over getting the articles written or the slide deck produced and then they publish it once, in a single venue. That is the wasteful part.
Unless the topic is super-specific or tightly connected to a singular event, companies should not relegate the content to the bottom drawer after publication. It still has that built-in value, and a ton of people haven’t even seen it yet.
Take an email newsletter, for example. How many people read them? A 30% open rate is an above-average accomplishment, but that means at least 70% of the list didn’t see the material. And that’s only the opt-in subscribers! A lot of other folks would be interested in the article, but they don’t even know it exists. They aren’t on the email list.
And yet it gets published once, read by a few newsletter subscribers, and then forgotten.
Worth the Effort
Companies engaged in the communications business should be better about this. Larger enterprises with a dedicated marketing staff or an agency handling content distribution do a good job of repurposing content, but smaller organizations find this more difficult. I run a small business, so I understand how tough it can be. Self-promotion often sinks to the bottom of a long to-do list.
It is worth it, though, to publish existing articles in blogs or post them in social media. Those are actions even the smallest organizations can take at nearly zero expense. One can even revive articles a few months after publication, touch them up, change the titles, and publish them again – even in the original channel. Remember, only a small portion of the potential audience saw the earlier content, and new contacts or followers have added themselves to the audience in the interim.
Big Benefit, Small Investment
I have proof this practice works. In the last few months I received several unsolicited inquiries about our services from people we did not know. None of them were on our mailing list or connected on social media. They found us through searches on Google and LinkedIn that were fueled by published material. All were good matches for us. Our content had qualified the prospects and done much of the selling. Some of these leads turned into instant business, others we are still nurturing. Republishing content in multiple channels created great opportunities with little added work.
The next time your organization creates informational content, look for ways to get the material in front of as much of your audience as possible. Learn how to use Slideshare or automatic posting services for Twitter, get someone to make a video from the written content, or record someone as they read the article and post it as a podcast. Do these things consistently and the extra exposure will pay off.
Mike Porter works with companies in the customer communications industry to help them generate and nurture leads with brand awareness and thought leadership. Visit www.printmailconsultants.com to learn more about his writing and consulting services or follow him on LinkedIn and Twitter @PMCmike.