By Pawan Deshpande published July 18, 2012

8 Ideas for Feeding Your Content Beast

feeding your content beast, CMIIf you are involved in content marketing, then you are familiar with the content beast. It’s always hungry for content — blog posts, podcasts, tweets, eBooks, press releases, videos; it will eat anything you give it and, even worse, as soon as you feed it, it becomes hungry again. It has a high metabolism.

Below are 8 easy and actionable ways to keep your beast fed:

1. Content compilations

Content doesn’t need to be all written words. Try creating a blog post that tells a story through images or cartoons or tweets.

With the constant flow of content out there, take your idea and tell your story through curated images (always ensuring you are providing clear and accurate attribution to the original source of the images). Products like Storify allow you to compile images and tweets to tell your story. For example, as there is a lot of buzz about the 2012 Olympics, this quick blog post discusses the opening ceremonies and the current process host city London is going through to get ready for opening day. The post includes content curated from a variety of sources, including Twitter and online news sites, and provides an overview of what people are talking about regarding the Olympic opening ceremony. With the ability to compile content from more than one outlet, you can create a more robust and dynamic story about your chosen topic.

2. Tweetable facts

A new trick for creating fresh blog posts while giving them legs to go viral is to post interesting facts on your blog that your readers can easily tweet.

For example, you can take statistics from an industry survey and repurpose them into a blog post. You can then create a list of bite-sized, hyperlinked facts from the survey. This can be done using a resource like Clicktotweet. When you post content, ask readers to retweet about their favorite fact. When a user clicks on any of the facts, it opens up a pre-filled tweet and a link back to the blog post. By doing so, you instantly can convert readers of your blog post into viral promoters of your content.

A few months ago, Curata released a B2B Content Marketing Trends survey. We then summarized the data in a blog post, including interesting findings from the survey that readers could tweet and share — all with a link back to our content.

3. Curated content

The content beast doesn’t just feed on original content. He’s an omnivore, and feeding him curated content in addition to your original posts will provide a more balanced diet.

For starters, you can simply tweet links to third-party content you like, or write a small excerpt to a blog post you like and add your own commentary. Keep in mind that you should always curate ethically by linking back to the original source, and you should never share the full text of the original content without permission from the author — part of the benefit of curating content is creating links and connections to relevant content on your topic, in turn allowing the author to provide you with the same benefit for your original content.

4. Ask the audience

Another easy way to create great content is to conduct a poll or give your readers a question to answer. Basically, you author a blog post talking about a controversial topic, and ask your readers for their responses. Not only does this drive greater engagement, but you also get two pieces of content from it — after you receive responses, you can then take the results and craft another blog post about your overall findings.

As an example, Boston.com created a short blog post with a poll question on injuries related to wearing headphones while walking around. They then asked if their readers would decrease the volume of their headphones when outside, prompting the audience to respond.

5. Don’t make one person carry the load

You don’t have to create all of your content yourself — you can solicit content from other sources.

There are two main ways to go about this: First is to ask others to contribute to your content initiatives. Reach out to those within your organization and ask for their unique perspective on a topic. Providing a framework for the content makes the process easier for those who may not be used to it. If they are not the best writers, ask them for simple bullet points, and then flesh out the content on their behalf.

The second way is to look outside your organization for help and outsource your efforts through various content creation services.

An easy way to create content with minimal effort is to publish guest posts. In order to do so, you can invite an expert in your topic area to create a short blog post. Many people are willing to provide content as a guest blogger because it exposes them to a new audience and gives them an opportunity to back-link to their own sites. In turn, you benefit by getting free content without having to create it yourself and by associating your company’s brand with another prominent influencer in your space.

Reaching out to someone within your industry who you perceive as an expert will also provide you with an opportunity to connect and align your brands. It’s an easy win-win, and there is no reason not to do it.

6. Reuse the best of your existing content

Repurposing content is an increasingly common strategy for being more productive at content creation. If you create a 20-page eBook, you can chop that up into 20 blog posts. The opposite process works as well: you can combine 20 blog posts to create a compelling eBook. In fact, some companies and bloggers have created entire print books simply by repurposing a year’s worth of regular blog posts.

7. Interview an expert

Another trick to produce content quickly is to post an interview with an industry expert. In order to do so, you simply email a willing interviewee a short set of questions for them to answer and return to you. After a little editorial cleanup, you can post the resulting interview on your blog. Again, this does not require you to create much original content (aside from the interview questions) and provides a fresh perspective to your audience.

8. Recap a relevant event

Following a trade show or webinar that you’ve attended, it takes only a few minutes to build a coherent summary from the content that others have already shared. You can do this by manually stitching blog posts and articles together with tweets, photos, or videos.

As an example, following a webinar I did with Lee Odden, I quickly created a webinar recap post from the tweets of attendees. Similarly, following last year’s Content Marketing World conference, I created a blog post of various speakers who talked about curation.

These are just a few quick ideas; but my company, Curata, recently released an eBook “How to Feed the Content Beast (without getting eaten alive)” that is full of tips and tricks to feed your content beast. It also has a foreword by Ann Handley, the Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs and author of “Content Rules”. You can download it here.

Want more content marketing inspiration? Download our ultimate eBook with 100 content marketing examples.

Author: Pawan Deshpande

Pawan Deshpande is the CEO and visionary behind Curata, a CMI benefactor. Curata is an easy-to-use marketing solution for content curation and content marketing. Pawan has spoken at leading events including Content Marketing World, SXSW Interactive, Online Media Summit, Social Media Breakfast and multiple AMA webinars. Prior to founding Curata, Pawan held positions at both Microsoft and Google. Pawan attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for both his graduate and undergraduate degrees in Computer Science. You can contact Pawan via Twitter @getcurata or on LinkedIn, or Google+. If you're getting started with content curation, Pawan would recommend downloading 5 Simple Steps to Becoming a Content Curation Rockstar, which includes tactical tips so you can get started curating today.

Other posts by Pawan Deshpande

  • http://nopassiveincome.com/ Chris

    Hi Pawan, great tips. Especially reusing content is very helpful ( I call it “recycling” ;) ) – It doesn’t take a lot of time and we have new content (for other platforms of course).
    Thanks for sharing
    Chris

  • http://twitter.com/bd_richardson Ben Richardson

    Hi Pawan, thanks for sharing.  Number 6 on the list really stands out to me.  After all, creating a book from your blog posts can be a great way to make that daunting challenge of authorship look not so threatening after all. If you already own the content, and you’ve done the work/paid the money to have it written, why not go big with it?

    • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

       Ben, “Booking” your blog is a superb idea. Most bloggers have a ton of content on their blog. A better and more efficient idea is to think ahead and actually blog a book–write your book post by post on your blog. I actually wrote a book this way on the topic! It’s called How to Blog a Book. It touches on booking a blog but focuses primarily on blogging a book (obviously). That said, I spent a whole month blogging about booking blogs and I’m currently running a series where I’m featuring Q & As with blog-to-book authors. You might find it interesting. It’s at http://www.howtoblogabook.com.

  • samedayessaym

    I thoroughly enjoy your blog posts and I consciously put into practice your concepts as they allow us to..

  • http://www.brickmarketing.com/ Nick Stamoulis

    Repurposing content is a great strategy.  People like to receive information in different formats.  If all you have is blog posts, turn them into white papers or videos.  If your industry is always changing, go back and look at popular posts and update them to reflect the new technology, etc.  

  • http://twitter.com/Rogercparker Roger C. Parker

    Great summary of options to hang on the wall next to your computer!

  • http://twitter.com/NinaAmir Nina Amir

    Super suggestions for bloggers looking for ideas for posts!

  • http://www.bobangus.com/ Bob Angus

    Excellent advice. I like to publish a regular links post that compiles favorite articles that I’ve read this week or top articles about a specific subject. For example, a recap or recap posts about SMX.

    I call them Prime Angus Filets for some branding flair and so my readers know it’s a links post.

    Now I’ll have to add curated tweets on a hashtag/chat feed/event to my repertoire.

  • http://allmarketingsolutions.co.uk/social-media-marketing-services Ayaz

    Great Post and really doing interview one of the guru in your industry can enhance your site’s visitors as well as you will be get a chance to get the readers on to your site as well. 

    Thanks for sharing great usefull information.