Previously, I blogged about common types of material used to fill the content pipeline. One key item is feature material (typically longer articles such as case studies or technical tutorials), which also plays an important role in satisfying editorial requests for a company’s media relations effort.
One of the most common questions asked is “where can we get ideas for feature material?” Many companies are running lean, and we often hear they don’t have time or resources to develop fresh material. The answer is simple. Transform material that is already accessible and available to you.
Here are six ways you can tap into existing material and come up with thought-leadership content for your editorial and content marketing efforts.
- Company Literature. Chances are your company already has literature such as brochures, selection guides, catalogs, product installation tech manuals, etc. This material often covers tips and advice for selecting the right equipment, addressing application challenges, and key specifications to consider for a given type of installation. These are the same topics editors are interested in as well. One of our most successful cover stories developed for Machine Design magazine originated from company literature and a phone interview with the product manager.
- Training Classes. Many companies offer “how-to” classes for technicians and customers. This instructional material can often be converted to thought-leadership content, for example as basic “101-level” article material or even as advanced articles about problem-solving or troubleshooting.
- Sales Presentations. Although they usually contain a lot of proprietary information, many sales PPTs contain the foundation for external article material that editors love, such as industry challenges, trends, features, benefits and product solutions.
- Executive Speeches. With transcript services readily available, converting an audio file of a speech delivered at a conference or trade show is one of the quickest and most effective ways to develop thought-leadership material.
- Web Inquiries. Editors and customers love material that addresses how to solve industry challenges. Many companies field questions that come in through contact forms or “ask the expert” submissions via the company website. Many questions are most likely the same, so why not turn them into an FAQ compilation for editorial and thought-leadership use?
- Your People. Customer service reps and sales staff often hear about some of the most unique applications describing where and how the product is being used. Even if you can’t name a customer publicly, these stories make great blog entries and provide the basis for new application technology articles.
Many of these techniques may still require some input or a final read-through from a specialist or product manager to verify technical accuracy. However, using these tactics to get you 75 to 95 percent of the way there can be much less daunting than asking someone to stare at a blank screen hoping to bang out 1,500 words for an editorial placement.
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