How To Create a White Paper that will Generate Leads- Part III
Editor Note: In Leah's first article of this series (How To Create a White Paper that Will Generate Leads- Part I), she approached the topic from the angle of topically speaking. In the second article (How To Create a White Paper that Will Generate Leads- Part II), she shed light on commission, partnership, and curation. The third article gives some hints on how to share your long term content.
In the first two parts of this series – “Creating a White Paper that Will Generate Leads” I hope I emphasized the importance of creating content with shareability in mind first and foremost. I really can’t stress this point enough, explained so well in a Kissmetrics blog written way back in 2014: “A piece of content should produce 20+ snippets that you can share on social media”. If you’ve done that, you are just about guaranteed that your new white paper or another piece of content is going to get some social media traction. Kissmetrics graciously gives very detailed examples on what those shareable snippets should entail here.
Share Now, Share Later
Unless your white paper or eBook is about a very specific breaking news event, it has potential to be evergreen content, and it also has potential to be utilized in several ways. Be creative. Share it on social media, not once but multiple times (and in multiple ways as Kissmetrics recommends). Make sure to use thought leaders’ names/handle, hashtags, statistics (even if the writer did not provide any, they are out there!) so you can cut through the noise of hundreds of competitors out there all trying to get eyeballs.
I commissioned an eBook focusing on three researchers in the field of biotech by a published science journalist. For this one eBook, I created 7 blogs: three focused on breaking news for three of the individuals’ research or organizations this report was about, three focused on each individual making sure to use popular keywords in the titles and text, and one was an infographic I created for some extra promotion of the eBook. Not only do multiple blogs give you the benefit of more chances for eyeballs, they also give you some great data to test for future content.
Once you have promoted the heck out of your content, keep in mind that the topics, news or individuals you have written about are not static. They will potentially make news over the next few months and this news is something you can use to your advantage. Take your topics and individuals and file them away, create some Google alerts. When a particular topic or person suddenly is in the news, ride the bandwagon. Curate that original news story to your communities on social media, then create a new post (or posts) mentioning the news and link to your article because, of course as an awesome content marketer, you knew it would be a hot trend six months ago.
In my experience, content has been a tool – a very malleable one – that is not only useful for lead generation, but also an important way to start a conversation, do some branding, or even attract an investor or future employee to your company. There are times I have shared a piece of content on LinkedIn, for example, as a means to an end - a tool for me to start a conversation about some hot off the press, unpublished data I had acquired. My original content wasn’t really discussed, judging from the subject matter of LinkedIn Group engagement that ensued, but repurposing the older content was a way for me to start a conversation – and in turn, the conversation gave new life to the related, but a bit older, content.
Whether readers find your content through a search engine, an email or social media, accept that only a small number of people will actually read your content in its entirety – and as Venus Tamturk so aptly related in a recent CMS Connected post – many people will share your content on social media even if they haven’t read it. And it’s ok – maybe even good. As long as you, as a content marketer, don’t take it too personally that your recent piece of content is not quite in a league with the Great American Novel and might not make the pages of Forbes or the Wall Street Journal (you still need to try to make it great of course).
The point here is to make sure you are aware of the fact that once content is out there – it is no longer controlled by you – the conversations stemming from it could pivot into discussions you never intended, or imagined might happen. Just as it is exciting to watch your content being shared by a Twitter account you have no prior relationship who has 40K followers, it is a bit scary when people start arguing with your posts online or attempt to repudiate the statistics of a thought leader you interviewed. And they will so be ready.
The Bad News
In my experience, marketing automation software has not quite caught up to measuring a rather large portion of the digital imprint your mad skills are going to give it. I discuss this in depth during a CMS-Connected show here. Let’s say, for example, a really super important organization with 40,000 Twitter followers Tweets your article. They not only use your Twitter handle, but they also use one of your hashtags. All of this is free, unpaid word of mouth advertising. Your marketing automation software is not going to give you information on all the people that saw this but perhaps didn’t click. And these people Googled you and looked at your site, they brought you up in conversation, many of them ReTweeted the Tweet to their followers – again this is something you can’t track. You also can’t track all the other people who seeing this created their own Tweets about your content and shared with their groups. It’s just impossible unless you do it manually, and even then it’s only anecdotal. But it’s ok! Someday marketing automation will catch up with our content marketing, until then I swear by screen shots. One trick to find shares is to plug the Blog Title into Twitter – it’s not foolproof but it will usually show you relevant Tweets. Think there might be blog shares out there that don’t use the Blog Title? Plug the blog’s link into Twitter, that sometimes works too.
Conclusion: Content is King. Really.
Content really is King. It’s going to take you places you never thought your brand would go, from creating discussions at competitor LinkedIn groups to being featured on the Twitter feeds of influential organizations and individuals. That’s why billions of dollars are being spent on content marketing. In a survey of 3.4K companies with 250 or more employees, Kapost found that $5.2 billion a year was spent on content marketing. Unfortunately, they also found that inefficiency led to “$958 million in excessive spend for mid-to-large US companies”. I am not surprised, we’ve all seen it. The video that went unwatched, the infographic that never got shared on social media, the White Paper that no one promoted. But you’ve taken the first step, just by reading this article, to getting your content out there and generating those leads. And pat yourself on the back because in the process you’ve provided valuable information to your audience that will make their jobs easier and help them succeed.
Got any comments and suggestions for content promotion ideas I may have missed? Tweet to me at @Leah_Kinthaert!