Gini Dietrich

Content Marketing: Get New Content Without Tons of Work

By: Gini Dietrich | August 19, 2013 | 

Content Marketing: Get New Content Without Tons of WorkBy Gini Dietrich

Hubspot did a State of Content Marketing survey a couple of years ago. In it, they asked 1,400 business owners how content affects leads generated for their organizations.

The results were interesting.

It found, of the business-to-consumer organizations that consistently create new content, 88 percent of them had generated more leads than when they began content marketing. And, among business-to-business organizations, 67 percent garnered more leads.

It also found the more content the organizations created, the better their inbound lead generation.

From the study, respondents had:

  • Ten percent more leads if they created one or two new pieces of content per month.
  • Thirty percent more leads if they created two to four new pieces of content per month.
  • Seventy-seven percent more leads if they created more than four new pieces of content per month.

Though the study isn’t super recent, the results tend to be the same. Content marketing is where it’s at right now and organizations that haven’t taken advantage have a huge opportunity before them.

Content Marketing

It used to be you’d have to hire a PR firm to tell your story for you, using the relationships they had with journalists, producers, and other media. While it’s still valuable to do that if you are concerned with brand awareness, thought leadership, and credibility, the opportunity you have to tell your own story is with owned media.

Owned media, by definition, is the content you create for the things you own: Your website, your blog, your collateral, or your brochures.

But the difference between the content you used to create for those things and today’s definition is they have to be valuable and interesting to your audience. They cannot be all about you. They need to highlight your thinking, your process, and even some of your intellectual property (take a look at how McDonald’s gave away their secret sauce recipe).

Step One in Content Marketing

One of the biggest complaints I hear about content marketing is it takes a lot of time or the organization doesn’t have a writer on staff or it’s too hard to get started.

The easiest way to get started with owned content is to go through every page of your website. It used to be your website was your corporate brochure online. Today, though, your site has to be a living, breathing document that not only tells customers and prospects the pain you solve for them, but it has to be interesting, valuable, educational, and generate leads.

Some of you can print out the pages of the site and others will have to use the “find” button in your content management system.

If you print out the pages, spread them out on a conference room table and uncap a red pen. Go through each page and circle the French – the “we, we, we.”

If you use the “find” button, find those same words and rewrite the content to solve a problem for your visitors. Find all the “we,” the “us,” the “our,” and anything that talks about how great you are.

You’ll replace those words with “you,” “your,” and other words that put it in the perspective of your customer or prospect.

If you update every page on your website in this manner, you suddenly have new content. If you publish one or two new pages each week, you have new content for several months.

Of course, that’s not all you have to do. You have to understand how to use on-page search engine optimization and contextual calls-to-action to actually generate leads like the Hubspot survey shows.

We’ll talk about how to do that next week.

A loosely modified version of this first appeared in my weekly AllBusiness Experts column.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • Lara Wellman

    Great idea.  I often remind people that they need to look through what they already have on their web site and use it to their advantage or tweak it slightly.

    • Lara Wellman Very, very good advice!

      • ginidietrich Lara Wellman I think too many businesses build a site and say ‘Ok we are done’ and then wait a few years to do an overhaul. They should be updating and improving it always with everything from content to the look and feel.

  • rdopping

    It’s a good thing you used the words “valuable” and “interesting” otherwise you would be like everyone else out there trying to get my attention. BTW, it usually works better if you keep the red pen capped…..and use a sharpie.

    • rdopping I also love Sharpies! LOVE!

      • ginidietrich rdopping Me too! Especially Green Sharpies. Big. Green Sharpies!! (And I’m not a McDonalds fan but that was very creative with the “secret sauce” video!)

        • biggreenpen ginidietrich rdopping do they have Sharpies in Canada? I mean I started wondering if you folks have Cars and TVs seeing how many of your media companies don’t have facebook pages or allow me to use pinterest on their site. Sharpies? No way.

        • Howie Goldfarb biggreenpen ginidietrich rdopping I think a good place to find out about that “Sharpies in Canada” thing is @sharpiecanada 🙂

      • ginidietrich rdopping Did you know that toddlers love Sharpies and that if you leave them out they will color the walls, blankets, their legs and whatever else they can draw upon.
        Not that I know anything about this.

        • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes rdopping Note to self: Hide the Sharpies.

        • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes ginidietrich rdopping So do office workers cooped up in cubicles for too many hours.

  • I love that idea – it’s reworking content you already have. Prior to that my favorite place to find content was my “quick question” email responses. I figure if one person is asking, they represent dozens who have the same query.

    • Tinu I also love the quick question email responses. It’s easy to create content around that.

      • ginidietrich Tinu Love this idea too! Plus, there’s the added benefit of not having to type out an answer every. single. time. the question is posed. A quick reply and link to the blog post and you’re set! 🙂

  • One of the easiest ways to jump start your writing is to ask yourself “What’s in it for THEM?” Tell your readers (and potential customers) exactly what they’re going to get from working with you, buying your product, attending your webinar or whatever it is that you’re writing about. Then take it one step further and get as detailed as possible. Instead of saying they’ll get “tips for writing better copy” say that they’ll learn the “5 biggest headline writing mistakes and how to avoid them.” 
    Of course, I am probably in the biggest need of a re-working of copy right now. Typical cobbler’s son with no shoes scenario. *sigh*

    • TaraGeissinger Ha! Don’t go to the Arment Dietrich site. 🙂

  • I mentally went through this exercise on my site as I created it, but love the idea of printing out the pages. Sometimes it’s easier to edit on hard copies. Think I’ll use purple…

  • susancellura

    It’s interesting…I was discussing the “we” versus “you” with my boss the other day. (I didn’t know/never thought about it being “french” – love that!) An ad that is being created is headlined, “UOY”, with a reflection. The text reflects the message that the company is behind you every step of the way. My argument was that we need to start building the relationship, which you do by listening versus beating the proverbial chest. The result? He doesn’t want to like the ad, but he does!

    • susancellura I LOVE this! I can imagine he does love the ad.

    • susancellura Good for you! The former marketing director of GEICO presented an idea (about 20 years ago) for a funny ad with a Gecko to the VP of Marketing and CEO. They both thought it was dumb.
      She, however, was a 5′ 2″ woman with a genius mind for marketing, an encyclopedic knowledge of baseball, and an unwillingness to take “no” for an answer when she knew she was right. She wore them down. You know the rest of the story.

      • ExtremelyAvg susancellura ginidietrich well Gini is 5’2 and is genius but a mad genius at that.

        • Howie Goldfarb ExtremelyAvg susancellura Well, 5′ 3″

  • I still hate the term “content  marketing” because it sounds like jargon to me and I am big on simplicity. It is story telling, that is what we do. We tell the story about hour our products/services make life easier for prospective and existing customers.
    But I like your idea of repurposing existing content. Work smarter, not harder.

    • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes I agree with you. AND…many business owners/leaders keep hearing “content marketing” and want to know what it means and how to use it. Sometimes it’s easier to educate them around what they’re hearing in the news vs. trying to get them to call it something else. I also hate the word “consume,” but people keep using it. Grumble.

      • ginidietrich Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Yeah I’m not super into the term, but, it is not a bad idea at heart. 
        On the other hand, I disagree  with Hubspot’s survey to some extent because I think the way they highlight the data encourages a dangerous conclusion: more content is better. 
        In web marketing / digital comms any shiny new thing tends to work for a while, but as people see more of it the effectiveness wears off. This is already happening with content marketing, and will continue, especially with B2B. To borrow from SEO, great content has to have a long tail, and “3 Ways Social Media is Like Acrobatics” is the sort of crap that will hasten content marketing’s death as the next big thing.

        • JoeCardillo Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes The way I present this study when I speak is this way: It goes to reason consistency in content increases leads IF you have really good on-page SEO, contextual calls-to-action, and valuable information. Just updating your website isn’t going to be enough.

        • ginidietrich JoeCardillo Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Ah gotcha, yep – ecosystem perspective, it all has to work together. Good point.

        • JoeCardillo ginidietrich Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes it is like Social Media. There is nothing social about media. It is ‘Social Enabling Communication Technology’ but Social sounds better. And Content marketing sounds better than ‘Creating Things For the Web that help you with Search Engine Optimization Efforts’

  • I love that you included a practical tip that can be implemented right away. It reminds me of when I printed out one of your posts and highlighted and marked up the whole thing … It can definitely help to breakout paper and pen at times. Great post!

    • KateFinley LOL!! Which post was that?

      • ginidietrich KateFinley must of been your post with the Guacamole recipe I still have that on my fridge!

  • Since I’ve been deep into writing web copy the last couple of weeks, this really hits home…as per ginidietrich’s usual voodoo magic. I’m definitely making an effort to write and rewrite our content for our customers. Helpful tips here as always.

    • katskrieger We’re going through this process for a client right now and they keep adding “we” and “our” back in. Oy.

  • Living this right now as we re-platform our website. Hope to release on Monday, but our biggest challenge was going through our website and taking all of the text that was captured in graphics – and make them text again, so they could be found by search algorithms.
    Then I started looking at anything from “troubleshooting/educational” emails to clients, to white papers, to glossy one pagers we had as marketing collateral. I went back to the domain experts and said “great, now make this a series of bite-size blogs for your new readers”.
    Let’s see how it goes…

    • dbvickery Holy cow! That sounds like a ton of work. I’ll bet you’ll be really happy about it, though.

      • ginidietrich Time will tell – I know I’m very excited about the website design over our current one.

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  • We’re going through a complete rebrand right now at DXB (new name is secret) and my mind has been in this space for about a week now. I think that whether starting, re-starting, or fixing, there is an awful lot of easy-to-do steps that should come into a site owner or marketers mind after content like this. Divide it up into smaller steps, expand your “content marketing calendar” to a couple months so you’re sending new signals longer, and don’t think its a zero-sum game to be done in one day.
    Guest post opportunities on your site create an awful lot of additional content, and you can really do some fun campaigns with content on other pages of your site that will show both customers and Google that you’re more than a one trick pony.

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  • Nicky Helmkamp

    Hi Gini! We included this article in our resource round up 

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