Every content marketer we talk to struggles with creating enough quality content to feed their content marketing strategy (the “content beast”).
In the previous post, I introduced the topic of “using every part of the buffalo” to cost-effectively create volumes of content to feed the “content beast.” Today, we’ll talk about how you can create a buffalo topic that is broad enough to effectively feed your beast for a several months and how to use the research process to start creating derivatives marketing content.
Chose an Evergreen Topic for the Buffalo
As you think about the topic for the buffalo, it’s critical to make it “evergreen.” That means that you choose a topic that will be just as relevant in 12 months as it is now. For example, you could write about regulatory topics like Dodd Frank and the issues with SEFs, but make sure that your orientation is long term, rather than focusing on the immediate news issues being discussed today. For example, the SEF landscape is likely to be very different in 12 months than it is today. It’s not that you shouldn’t write on the topic now, it’s just that your buffalo will more useful in your content marketing programs if it has a long lifespan.
Another example is pre-trade risk. There are lots of regulatory developments going on right now, and lots of open questions about the implementation of ESMA in Europe, SEC’s Market Access Rule and CFTC Rule 1.73 in the US. But those issues will probably be resolved in the next 12 months. The issues make great topics for blog posts, but not such great buffalo. So rather than focusing on those immediate implementation issues, focus on general issues around risk management and the opportunities banks have to improve their overall pre-trade risk.
Orient the Topic around Relevant Business Needs
It seems obvious, but I see lots of firms making mistakes – creating premium content that is only peripherally related to their business, or not tightly related to their core offerings. If you’re going to invest in a buffalo, make sure it’s relevant to the most central business drivers that lead firms to buy your product/services. The topic should help the audience gain awareness of business problems that are tightly aligned with the capabilities you provide.
Keep it Educational
For content marketing to work, it needs to provide real value to your target reader/consumer. Focus on issues where your organization can add educational benefit. For example, you might research approaches for handling pre-trade risk and provide content that helps a business audience understand the technical and business problems that inhibit their ability to get a holistic view of customer exposure.
Developing the Story
There are lots of resources to leverage when developing the story for your buffalo. I always start with online research to familiarize myself with the subject matter. Once I have a working knowledge, I then interview company subject matter experts, sales people, product managers and product marketing to get a sense of the story from their perspective. I record EVERY conversation and have them transcribed. Those recordings can be used later for podcasts, blog posts and other content assets.
Interview External Subject Matter Experts
Once you have established a base of understanding, it’s time to reach out externally. I like to start with analysts with whom your firm has a relationship. Tabb Group, Aite Group, CEB Tower Group, Celent, and Greyspark all have excellent analysts. Before talking to the analysts, read any relevant analyst reports to which you have access, as these will give you better clarity and make your time with the analyst more productive. Here again, record your interviews. Analysts will often allow you to record and publish the interview.
Journalists are my next target. I read relevant trade publication coverage on the topic and call the journalists to get their perspective. They’re not used to being on the opposite end of the interview, so they may not be completely comfortable, but they’re often very well-informed.
I also interview companies who didn’t choose you in the sales process, competitors, industry consultants and clients. But I always save the clients for last so I can be better informed in those discussions. Again, record the interviews, have them transcribed, and take detailed notes. All this content can be turned into derivative pieces for the overall buffalo.
Remember, the Interviews are Part of the Buffalo
Don’t short-change this process. You’ll need all this content to produce a healthy buffalo that can feed your beast for a few months.
Learn More about How to Create Content
On July 18, 2013, I did a webinar titled, “Feeding the Content Beast without Breaking Your Budget.” Register here to learn more about how to use every part of the buffalo to feed your content marketing strategy.