Content Marketing Bootcamp Questions Answered!

On April 21st, HiveFire conducted a webinar “Content Marketing Bootcamp: 5 Simples Steps to Get Started.” During the session, we had a number of fantastic quesitons that we we ran out of time to answer. Since you took the time to ask them we thought we could take the time to answer them!

1. Are there re-publishing concerns that we should be aware of? How is Plagiarism addressed? Is attribution enough? And will a short intro do? Are there any issues with respect to linking? Are there “official” fair use practices published anywhere? Should we be sending out content from the marketer’s name, the subject matter expert, or the company name?

Pawan: Since there were a number of questions around content curation and plagiarism I thought I’d provide a bit more insight through two previous blog posts related to the issue of Fair use of Being Ethical and Curation and regarding Pirating:

Content Curtion Fair Use: 5 Rules to an Ethical Content Curator

Create, Curate, but Don’t Pirate: 2 Pointers about Content Curation & Ethics

Joe: I just completed a post that addresses these kinds of questions with help from Pawan: Fair Use of Online Content for Content Curation

 

2. How do you motivate people to create content?

Pawan: Make it a game to get the most page views, tweets, back links — instant gratification.  To do so, you need to open up analytics to all content creators.

Joe: First, make sure they (employees) understand why they are creating content.  If it is tied to specific marketing goals, make sure they know that they are having an impact on those goals.  Develop a sheet of measurement criteria – tweets, posts, page views, conversions, so everyone can see it, and reward those who outperform.

 

3. Is it best to create a whole new site and build community there or to use existing structures like corporate blogs, Facebook, etc…?

Pawan: A whole new site let’s you do things you cannot do on an existing property.  For example, if you want to curate content that talks about competitors, you would not want to do that on an existing site, but it would be very appropriate for an industry microsite.  A new property that is relatively vendor neutral let’s you do more and increases both your credibility and shot at becoming a go-to thought leader for the industry.

Joe: There are Pros and Cons to both. As Pawan says, a new site gives you greater flexibility to create a “media” type site.  Leveraging an existing site may not give you the flexibility, but it gets you faster credibility with Google building upon your current indexed site.  Whatever you decide, make sure that the repository of content is actually yours…you own it and control it (as opposed to Facebook).

 

4. Do you recommend making content visible to anyone who visits the company’s Web site or only visible to those who register with your company on your Web site?  Would registration hinder the “expertise” factor?

Pawan: If you goal is educating the marketplace, increasing brand awareness, or thought leadership, registration walls for content hinder your efforts.  If you put up a registration wall, two things happen — first, search engines cannot index your content.  Second, a sizable portion of visitors will turn away when they see a registration page.  Both of these are harmful to your goals.  If your goal is simply securing lead information for sales, then this is not a bad approach.  The best option is a combination of the two with industry content without a registration wall, and the more sales content such as datasheets and case studies requiring registration.

Joe: It depends on your goal.  If you absolutely must drive name acquisition as part of the content program, you better have a form somewhere in the process.  But know that if you gate your content, it will be shared less, and your message won’t be as likely to be shared. This post on Gated Content will help: Why Gated Content Might Not Make Sense

 

5. Can you recommend additional search engines, other than Google, to research sources for identifying pain points for prospects?

Pawan:  Google Blog Search for finding relevant blogs which may not surface in normal Google Search Result Pages.  Twitter and twitter lists for social media chatter.  Backtype to see what prospects are commenting on various blogs.

Joe: This post should have everything you need. 10 Steps to Finding the Influencers in Your Market

 

6. It is easier for someone to find the data on my site than to just google whatever the topic is?

Pawan: It depends.  It’s safe to assume that in most cases, Google will be a starting point.  However, if you are curating content on a specific topic, as you should, your curated topic microsite may return better results.  As an example, one of our customers has microsite where they host curated content on IMS (IP Multimedia Subsystem).  If I were to search for IMS + some keywords, the results are often noisy because IMS is an acronym for many other terms such as Instant Messages.  However, I directly search for those keywords on the curated microsite, all the results will be relevant.  That’s an example of where curation really shines over automated approaches.

Joe: Your job is to be the leading expert in your industry niche.  If it’s easier to go to Google, you are not doing a good enough job.  You have to be the best resource in the industry.  If you aren’t going to strive for that, it’s best not to do anything.

7. What is your opinion on developing content and curating content that informs and builds thought leadership while still trying to protecting your product/brand – meaning finding the balance between creating content while making sure that you are not driving your customers to competitors.

Pawan: You need to do both.  If you only include content that mentions your brand, then it’s no longer a credible industry destination — and people will go elsewhere for the full perspective.  On the other hand, if the content as a whole does not positively your brand, then it’s note a useful marketing tool.  There are no right answers — you will have to find your own balance.

Joe: You have complete control over this product, so it’s up to you…just remember, if you do not include the full balance of what’s available in the industry, you will not be the definitive resource.

8. Does Google penalize duplicate material that is acquired legally such as through linkage and RSS feeds?

Pawan: Google’s algorithm is constantly changing so it’s difficult to know what it is evaluating at any given point.  If you are considering curating third party content and linking to it and possibly including excerpts from the article, you should also embellish the article with other value added content to get the most SEO gain.  For example, you can add your own comments below the article, rewrite the title or the description, or suggest other related content.  For example, Digg.com does very well in SEO for individual articles though all their content is linked to external.  This is because they add other value added content such as comments, and related stories. See a summary of my last AMA webinar for more information.

9. How about if you run out of content on that one topic?  Can you expand what you want to be known for?

Pawan: Yes, you can certainly do this.  In fact many of our customers will try curating content on a topic and quickly realize that the topic is either too broad or narrow, and will iteratively refine their topic focus until it’s at the right level of scope. 

Joe: First, make sure you focus on your industry niche.  If you are truly doing that, and you are putting the necessary resources and attention to your content, you will never “run out” of content.  Those companies that can’t find enough content aren’t setting up the correct listening posts to gather information for their content marketing.  If anything, you should have too much content.

10. At what point does your marketing stray too far from the end goal of selling your product?  Can you go too far?

Pawan: Yes, you could go to far.  In the new world of marketers-as-publishers, it’s possible to get carried away as being a publisher and forgetting your marketing goals.  If you are successful as a publisher, you will have built a respected media property for your topic area over a period of time.  At that point, and along the way as well, you should ensure that your new found visibility is used to meet your marketing goals. If your goal is to increase your brand visibility, ensure that the content you are publishing reflects positively on your brand.  If you goals is lead generation, ensure that you have calls to actions on your media property.  Otherwise, you will just be publishing for the sake of publishing.

Joe: Every piece of your content has a marketing goal.  You are not creating content for content’s sake. Understand the behavior you want to see with your content. I think it’s less of a problem of going too far and more of a problem with not understand what kind of content feeds certain marketing goals.

 

11. Is there any way to collate content from multiple sources? For example, combine content on the same subject but some from newsletter and some from Social Media combined into one folder for access all content pertaining to one topic?

Pawan: These days most of the content that is published ultimately resides on a web page somewhere and email, social media and RSS are means of pointing to that content.  If that’s the case, you can use something like a social bookmark service like del.icio.us to store all the link you find from those channels, or a more sophisticated tool like Curata that will help monitor those channels for new content, organize it and let you selectively share that content.

12. Can you use content marketing to launch a new company and get a customer from scratch? (especially in the B2B space)

Pawan: If you consider blog a form of content marketing, then many start ups often launch a blog even before their corporate websites — so yes.  Many of our customers launch a topic microsite of curated content as a part of a new product launch. In fact, many of them do this many months prior to a product launch to build their credibility in a new and emerging space.  You will eventually need a site that talk about your company and what you are selling, but content marketing is a good way to build attention before or after you have created a corporate site.

Joe: Yes, we did that at the Content Marketing Institute.  We launched in May of 2010 with nothing, and on the back of original and curated content, now see approximately 40,000 unique visitors a month.  That said, refer to this post first.  Setting the groundwork is most important. 10 Steps to Finding the Influencers in Your Market