Content marketing has been the entire buzz since Google started to sniff out all the nasty and manipulative links over the web. Don’t worry, I won’t start with why content is so important in this line of work (yes, yes, I know that you know that content is king).
I’ve been thinking of writing this post for quite some time now, and I’ve even wrote the draft for this post while I was away for a business trip late last week.
Aside from talking content development/marketing with one of our biggest clients last week, I also sat for a very long time thinking how we’ll be able to put our ideas into easy-to-follow processes.
Since almost everyone’s shifting towards this area of online marketing, I believe that this topic is something that might be really handy for a lot of “marketers for hire” out there (especially those who have just recently transitioned their efforts to making real great content).
Obviously, most of us who’re in consulting firms and agencies have worked on lots of clients in different industries that we don’t actually know anything about at all to begin with.
So I’ve thought of some ways you can create expertly-made content on niches/industries that you have zero knowledge of.
Create content assets based on FSQ/FAQs
This is probably the easiest way to build content assets on niches that you don’t know much about.
Basing your content strategy on FSQs (frequently searched queries or FAQs in your client’s industry) is very effective, since there are so many available resources for your content already (content and information provided by your competitors).
The main key to succeed when using this approach is to ensure that you’ll come up with content assets that are far more comprehensive, actionable and informative than what your competitors have already published.
Several things that you may have to check out before creating your own content are:
- Find the successful web pages/blog posts about the subjects you’ve chosen (use Google search). Evaluate and understand why they are ranking.
- Make a list of the things/information lacking within their content (such as visuals, personal insights/opinions, data, etc…) – as you can use them to your advantage once you do your own version of the content.
- Check and make a list of the sites linking to those content and people who have shared them on social networks. You can use tools like Topsy, Open Site Explorer and Ahrefs to extract these data sets. Reach out to them afterwards once you publish yours.
Key: Outdo your competitors’ content.
Get insights from your clients
The first thing that you can do before running a content marketing campaign for a new client (especially those who’re in industries your team has no background in) is to send intake forms that are solely about the solutions that their business provides.
Gather as much data as you can from your clients, as these things can help you out in generating content ideas that match their expertise.
Interview your clients (if possible) and include their insights along with your own perspectives within your content. You can even make your client’s insights the basis of your content development by breaking down each answered question into different posts.
Get insights from industry leaders
I actually mentioned this tip on my post from 2 weeks ago (on scaling content marketing). Instead of interviewing industry influencers (or doing group interviews) and publishing them as an “interview with xxx” type of post, why not just ask for their take/opinion on a particular subject you’ll be writing about (to mainly validate your own ideas).
Advantages of taking this route, instead of full and exclusive interviews:
- It’s not that time-consuming for the influencers you’re targeting to engage – as you can do this through a short and quick email or even through social networks.
@jasonacidre Hey Jason! Quick question: if you could only use 3 SEO tools for your link building campaigns what 3 tools would you choose?
— Richard Marriott (@clambr) July 19, 2013
- It would be easier to get their attention, trust and respect, when they see that you’ve mentioned them in a thorough article with your own thoughts and ideas.
- You’ll be able to demonstrate your brand as an expert/authority. Given that your ideas are validated by other industry leader(s).
Hire someone who knows and understands the field
Content is an investment that you really have to make if you want to succeed in online marketing. And obviously, the better way to get significant results from your investment is to get not just a great content writer – but a writer that really knows your client’s industry.
If you already have a solid content team, delegation will play an important role. It would be easier if you’ll assign your writers to topics that they are really interested in (or already have a background in).
Like in our team’s case, it has been really easy for our in-house media specialist (Vincent Sevilla) to penetrate a-list design websites/blogs (like Buzzfeed, Behance, etc…) since he’s really into that niche.
Create your own case studies
Research is a vital process in content development. And sometimes, this phase takes weeks to get done. So why not make the most out it by making your own case studies while you’re doing your research.
There are so many ways to gather data for case studies. It may take you some time to get the content done, but the result it can yield is definitely a force to reckon with.
Below are some of the ways that you can do to get data for case studies (while you’re on your campaign’s research phase):
- Get actual data from other publishers/bloggers. Since they’ll be benefiting through the exposure they can get when you publish it on your site (or on other sites), the chances getting them to participate may be a bit higher (ex: Nick Eubanks did this type of case study about my blog’s evergreen content strategy and published it on Moz).
- Consumer surveys using Google Consumer Surveys and/or SurveyMonkey. Use the collected data to create a data-driven content.
- Ask or request existing data from your client that they are willing to publicized – particularly those that are relevant to their products/services/consumers.
- Reach out to their loyal customers and ask if they’ll be interested to share their experiences or the results they’ve got in using your client’s products/services.
- Make your own experiments. You can also document your research process (as well as your findings), as you can transform this as a comprehensive content/research paper.
What’s important is to be able to provide accurate information to your readers. That’s what users consume and share – and certainly what Google will most likely rank.
- Tips for promoting a client who sells something you don’t know much about
- How to generate (pseudo) expert content ideas for your client