Sometimes easy is better than hard. Finding great blog content for your business blog doesn't have to be a struggle. You can make great use of "OPC" – other people's content. I stumbled upon this tactic while trying to find blog content before going away on vacation.
Remember the old Yellow Pages ad, "Let your fingers do the walking?" Here's how to let your fingers do the heavy lifting. Everything is done by email, except of course the actual posting to your blog, but then, your fingers do the work there too.
The idea is to write a series of interview questions (5-7) about your core topic. Send them off by email to the 10 top experts in your field. Ask them for 5 minutes of their time to complete the emailed interview, and let them know you'd like to feature them on your blog.
Then run the interview series on your blog. This provides your blog readers with valuable, relevant content in addition to your own experiences and perspectives. Your readers will deepen their understanding of your topic.
Your interviewees, for the most part, are grateful for the opportunity. Not everyone will take the time, but those who do will provide you with insights and stories you never could have known about.
I ran a series of interviews from content marketing experts 6 months ago. This is an invaluable opportunity to get to know colleagues who are writing about similar things, with a different perspective. As a bonus, I may compile the interviews (about 20 so far) into an ebook or special report on the topic of Content Marketing.
Here are the exact steps I took:
- I identified a compelling topic that holds some mystery for most readers: "content marketing" is a term that is relatively new, and means different things to different people depending on their business niche and previous marketing experiences.
- Identified a group of content marketing experts. First I emailed colleagues and peers I knew personally. Then, thanks to Joe Pulizzi's Top 42 Content Marketing Blog list, I requested interviews from the top 10 on the list, some who were complete strangers. Eventually I hope to get to all the others on the list of 42 blogs in the content marketing niche. You can stay in touch with these blogs through Alltop.
- I made up a list of 7 questions about content marketing, including how they defined and used it, advice they would give to others, and (this is very important) what kind of business they were in and where people could find out more about them. This provides a big benefit to those people who choose to participate because it means additional marketing exposure for them.
- Sent the interview questions to people by email with the subject line "May I have 5 minutes of your time for 7 questions?" Even with a clearly stated subject line, it's hard these days to get email responses in a timely fashion. You'll need to follow up with people, especially if you don't have a personal relationship with them.
- Do not underestimate the time required to get interview responses. Spend some time doing "outreach," which may include visiting and commenting on their blogs, following them on Twitter, and participating in their worlds in order to get a relationship started.
- Once you get at least 10 responses, start your interview series. Do not post them every day since that may tend to overwhelm readers. Sprinkle them in between other posts. Most of the responses you get will constitute in-depth content. You don't want to take them lightly.
- Make sure you highlight and showcase the interview on your blog by writing an introductory paragraph to underline the key points of value.
- Post a picture of the interview author. Readers like to know who is "talking" to them.
- Be sure to email the permalink and your thanks to each interviewee. Better yet, send them a thank you card, or a book, or a gift from you.
- If you decide to compile the interviews into an ebook or other product, be sure to get appropriate permissions and a way for each person to benefit from the publication. All this is open to a number of business models.
I hope this helps you find great content for your business blogs. What started out to be a couple of easy steps to getting "OPC"… other people's content… can turn into a major project, but one that can lead to other valuable opportunities.
Any time you involve your colleagues and other experts and give them a spotlight, you never know what can happen. It's one of those "everybody wins" projects. It's well worth it.