Far from being a one-off or occasional activity, content generation is a process that best happens on an ongoing basis. Producing content that can be used on a blog, in an electronic newsletter or on your website as downloadable content will help you showcase your expertise in social media, and increase your inbound leads.
The two essential elements of successful content generation include solid content and regularity.
While we certainly cannot claim to have found the absolute secret to successful content generation, at Greenfield we have enjoyed increased exposure, and the notice of our target market with regular content publishing. Often we are asked, "how do we do it"?
- Establish a Regular Schedule: it is far easier to maintain a regular schedule if you set deadlines. In the case of the two blogs we maintain at Greenfield, the Membership Engagement blog and this one, we initially set out with a twice a month schedule. Gradually this has increased to almost once a week for each blog.
- Establish an Editorial Calendar or Topic List: My colleague Meagan Rockett is a master at this. She picks a topic for a particular month and produces 3-4 posts around that theme. Her "New Sheriff in town" series on Canada's Anti-Spam legislation earlier this year garnered her accolades and lots of re-tweets!
- Look Out for Current Events or Happenings in Your Industry: you can comment on current events or use it as an analogy in your content creation. Current affairs and related titles will help your click through rates when you post new content and social media. For instance, some of this blog's most widely read posts included a commentary as a first-time attendee to the Green Meetings Industry Council annual conference and a tribute The Sutton Place Hotel Toronto, a place which I called my professional home for five years. The plus to both these posts were that they were relatively easy for me to write!
- Have a Back-Up Plan: Content generation is not easy. For times when you have to deal with overloaded to-do lists, travel schedules and personal agenda, I recommend having guest blog posts. That's how earlier this summer I was able to take a bit of a break from contributing to this blog. The boon was that some of our guests are more widely read authors than I am so we had a spike in traffic with articles such as Art Sobczak’s What Losing Weight and Sales Have in Common and Cara Tracy’s Advice from a Meeting Planner to Suppliers.
- Know the Best Circumstances for YOUR Content Creation: You have to write when the inspiration hits you. I have been fortunate to experience success with a dictation tool. Often I will get an idea for a post so I grab my iPhone and blurt recite my thoughts into it. I then email the text to myself and look at the post when I'm back at the office. Alternatively I have sent my spontaneous creations to an editor for review and editing (see next point below).
- This brings me to the last key point: not everyone is a writer, but with help you CAN look like one. I enjoy writing and I've been told I get my point across relatively well in the written form, but I am not a professional writer. So I work with a team of professionals to see my through those busy periods when I either cannot find time to write myself. I work with a writer who will produce an article based on just a phone conversation/interview we have on a topic. My editor is just as wonderful: I can send her my rough, dictated text and she will edit my ramblings to publishing quality!
So remember to make sure your material is focused on the specific needs of meeting and event planners. While it is acceptable to create some content that covers leisure or consumer-related topics, you will be more successful if you make your material related to your B2B prospects.