How to keep your brand's content pipeline flowing

Between a blog, Twitter feed, newsletter, guest posts, and other platforms, we have a million places to publish content but still only 24 hours in a day to create it. That's why you'll often see a company launch a blog, publish a few dozen posts, and then lose momentum as other priorities edge out daily blogging.

However, some brands have found ways to produce content on a consistent basis and keep that content marketing pipeline flowing. Read on for six ways to do this.

Licensing content

Several companies license content that's available for publication on other websites for a fee. The upside of this approach is that there's no potential copyright or fair use issue because you've paid to reproduce the articles in their entirety. Of course, licensed content must be reproduced as is, so you miss out on the chance to incorporate your company's point of view. And because search engines don't index licensed content, the SEO benefits are minimal.

If your blog covers mainstream topics, you should have no trouble finding relevant content to license. But if you have a more niche focus, it could be tough to find articles to license. Cost is another downside of licensed content.

Hiring a dedicated content creator

Some brands choose to hire a full-time content strategist or team of content specialists to focus on creating content and repurposing material created by senior leadership. This approach helps ensure that your organization has a steady flow of content that's written in a consistent brand voice.

On the flip-side, hiring full-time employees can be costly. In addition to the financial cost, it's often necessary to invest considerable time in coaching that person on industry jargon and your company's approach to business.

Crowdsourcing internally

Instead of making full-time hires, some company blogs publish content created by employees from outside of the marketing department, bringing a wider variety of voices and areas of expertise to the blog. Employees who work in areas like sales or customer service may have a solid understanding of customer concerns and interests, which could be a huge asset.

However, internal crowdsourcing requires a lot of coordination, both in terms of the product schedule and the workflow process. Employees outside of marketing also tend to have other tasks on their plate that take priority over content creation. Awarding prizes or perks to employees who blog can help, but sustaining interest in the blog over the long term is a challenge for more brands.

Outsourcing

In cases where internal crowdsourcing doesn't make sense, outside agencies --  like Brafton or services like ScriptedContently, or Skyword -- can help brands outsource content creation to freelancers. Outsourcing is often more cost-effective than hiring an internal team. It's also more flexible because you won't have those employees on payroll when you don't need them.

But the quality of outsourced content can vary and freelancers may not have as deep of an understanding of your company as an internal employee.

Collecting user-generated content

Well-known B2C brands often request stories from happy customers in what's known as user-generated content (UGC). Having customers tell their own stories brings a level of authenticity that the company itself might not have. The other big advantage of UGC is that shining the spotlight on outstanding customers can help strengthen your relationship with them in the long term.

However, while B2C companies may have a passionate customer base that is willing to create meaningful content, B2B companies typically don't. Any company that lacks an enthusiastic customer base will likely not be able to make UGC work.

Curating other people's content

For brands that don't have the time or money to create all their own content from scratch, finding, organizing, and sharing the best third-party content on a given topic is a good alternative. This is called content curation. The best content curators link back to the original piece and add their own opinion on the topic rather than simply summarizing what others have written. Given the staggering amount of content published online, there's no lack of ideas on any given topic.

Tools like Google Alerts and RSS can automate some of this process but it takes a human to formulate their own opinion and publish it.

Pawan Deshpande is founder and CEO of Curata.

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Comments

Nick Stamoulis
Nick Stamoulis September 4, 2013 at 1:23 PM

"Employees who work in areas like sales or customer service may have a solid understanding of customer concerns and interests, which could be a huge asset."

That is what I always tell my clients. Even if you only have one great in-house writer, you've got dozens of people with ideas and thoughts and opinions. If you can just pull that information out of their heads you've got a goldmine of content!