We all know content is king — that authentic and helpful blog posts, newsletters and updates on social channels are some of the best ways to gain visibility, increase brand loyalty and move toward your company’s goals.
But what if you don’t have time to create original content? What if you’re too busy building a business, growing your team and making whatever product or service you offer the absolute best it can be?
Here are five ways to offer solid content for your online community without spending all your waking hours researching, writing and publishing.
Sure, creating original content is your best bet, but aggregating solid content created by others in your field is a pretty close second. (Click to Tweet this.) Collecting the best information and analysis by thought leaders in your industry and offering it in one place will not only make you popular — who doesn’t love an individual or company who makes things easy?! — it will also position you as one of those thought leaders, as someone who knows what’s going on.
You can share great content by others via Twitter, bundle it into a blog post like I do with my weekly roundup for writers, or turn that information into a coveted weekly newsletter. Some companies even make money aggregating specialty information and offering it via a paid email subscription.
What if you focused on just one blog post written by someone else and analyzed it? Added your own insight to the post and published your analysis on your blog?
You don’t want to republish content someone else has created on your own site in entirety unless you have their permission, but you can point out what’s helpful or interesting from someone else’s story, share two or three paragraphs from that story, and then give your readers the link to the post so they can go there to read the rest. Your readers benefit from your insight, the author benefits from the site traffic you send them, and you benefit because you’ve got a quality blog post without a ton of effort.
We take this approach at Brazen Life, one of the blogs my team and I manage. When we saw a post on Business Insider about the rise of coding bootcamps and how they can help you double your salary, we summarized the post, pulled two paragraphs to share, added our own two cents and pointed readers toward the full story. Here’s the Brazen post as an example.
If your main goal isn’t to showcase your own expertise, and you’re looking to grow a community around a certain topic, guest posts might be the way to go. Rather than creating your own content, solicit it from your community and respected professionals in your industry, then have an editor (could be in-house or a consultant) manage those submissions.
Some sites pay for quality content — and you might have to do that as you get started, depending on the size of your network — while other blogs offer a link in your bio rather than monetary compensation. Mashable, for example, offers writers $100 or a link in their bio; as a contributing writer there, I always take the link because the traffic is worth more to me than the money.
If you’re looking for affordable freelancers who can write about a certain topic, my company maintains a database of 450+ freelance bloggers and what fields they specialize in. Contact us and we’ll help you find the right person.
One big tip for soliciting quality guest posts is to include a page on your company’s website that explains what you look for in guest posts and how to submit. The more specific you can be, the better posts you’ll receive. Here’s an example of short and concise guest post guidelines from Expert Enough.
Guest posts aren’t the only way to use content submitted by your community. You could also share stories, photos and other multi-media created by the people who use your services or products.
This type of content is absolute gold. Not only does it minimize your effort, since all you have to do is find or solicit and share the information, it also showcases just how engaged and happy your community is with what you offer, which helps bring more clients in the door.
Want an example? On one of the Facebook pages my company manages for a social site called InterPals, we share user-submitted stories by people who have met on the site. We love sharing this type of information because it proves that the site works, our community loves seeing who has met through the site, and the people whose stories we share love seeing their photos on the Facebook page. It’s a win-win-win!
GoPro, a company that makes versatile cameras, has built much of their brand on sharing content created by their community. Their user-created content is so compelling (and fun!) that Mashable shared a list of videos shot with a GoPro camera.
Finally, you don’t have to do it all yourself! If you really want awesome content without the fuss, plenty of individuals and companies will create content for you.
Yes, you’ll still need to provide guidance — no one knows the message you want your company to share as well as you — but having someone on your side to take care of most of the grunt work can turn a terribly daunting task into one that’s doable and even enjoyable.
Don’t feel like you have to hire someone full time to help with digital content; a freelancer or consultant might be a better fit for your needs and budget. Outsourcing social media work gets a bad rap, but the truth is, working with a freelancer or strategy firm is far better than not doing it at all.
What other ways have you discovered to offer quality content efficiently? And how do you rally your community online?