By Vishal Khanna published March 11, 2016

Content Marketer of the Year Shares How to Find Hidden Content


Some days it’s easy to find what I need for a new story. I’m a marketer in academics and a quick search of the past month’s peer-reviewed publications from my institution’s renowned faculty usually gives me 20 new starting points.

Those are the good days. I find my topic, shape the angle, assign a writer, and then hit my buddy Luciano’s food truck for a triple order of the best chorizo tacos in the Southeast United States.

But not all days are so good and on darker days, the only tales my genie tells me are convoluted messages written in the scientific world’s most twisted version of language: Glycobiology. Have you ever tried to edit something about the relationship between the letters G, A, T, and C? It’s torture.

Fellow content marketer, we’re like junkies, aren’t we? We’re desperate for new stories, new angles, new chances to tell our company’s tales. How are we going to feed this hunger, this content habit of ours, when our tried-and-true genies stop talking to us like they used to?

We start by asking the right questions to the right people. (Hint: Look inside your organization.)

1. Find your new genie

Identify your front-liners. Who talks to your prospects the most? It’s probably your salespeople, customer service reps, and technical experts. Have a marketing slush fund? Me neither, but if I did, I’d use it to take those folks out for lunch and ask them two simple questions:

  • What was the last question a prospect asked you?
  • What was your answer?

If you have a trusted relationship with the front-liners, ask if they will share any emails sent with more verbose answers. These emails will be dense with valuable information you can repurpose to your heart’s content.

2. Follow the prolific

Search your colleagues on LinkedIn to identify who regularly posts original content to platforms like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium. Invite them to write for your corporate channels as well. This not only gives you a new stream for content, but also helps build goodwill between marketing and other departments as you help promote their staff as thought leaders.

3. Search your servers

Explore the hidden corners of your shared corporate servers. Search for documents, images, or even videos that could be repurposed for your external marketing goals. But make sure to get approval from the owner of that content before using it to ensure that you’re not exposing confidential or proprietary information. If it’s not apparent who the content owner is, check the document’s metadata to find its history of editors.

4. Go antiquing

If you work at an established company, you may have a treasure trove of content packed in storage just a few hundred feet from your office. Explore your company’s archived fact sheets, white papers, or technical documents that were never published online and then do just that with the evergreen ones. You also could use the outdated content for ideas on potential update opportunities.

5. Seek the ubiquitous

Surgeons speak at morning grand rounds, architects collaborate on CAD drawings, and the C-suite crowd makes PowerPoint presentations. Find out how leaders in your organization structure and share information, get in the middle of that content flow, and then repurpose the best of what you find.

Sometimes the biggest challenge in creating a content factory isn’t building your digital platform or developing your attribution models – it’s finding the right stories to tell.

Sometimes those stories are hidden right in front of you.

Vishal was selected as the 2015 Content Marketer of the Year for his high-impact work with a small staff – it’s him, one other full-time employee, and two part-time contractors. Learn more from Vishal in this post written when he was named a finalist.

To learn more about the other Content Marketer of the Year finalists and Content Marketing Award winners, click here.

Want to be there when the 2016 Content Marketer of the Year is announced and boost your own content marketing skill set? Make your plans for Content Marketing World today. Use code BLOG100 to save $100.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Vishal Khanna

Vishal Khanna is the 2015 Content Marketer of the Year. He leads digital marketing for Wake Forest Innovations and the Innovation Quarter in Winston-Salem, NC, and is the founder and president of the digital strategy firm, Produce Creative Follow him: on Twitter at @bediscontent.

Other posts by Vishal Khanna

Join Over 150,000 of your Peers!

Get daily articles and news delivered to your email inbox and get CMI’s exclusive e-book Launch Your Own Content Marketing Program FREE!