Let’s face it: sometimes there’s only so much you can say about what you do in your business. Trying to think up the next great topic for your blog and stay relevant to your audience can become tiring, and just plain difficult.
One way to address this lull in ideas and enthusiasm for content marketing is to take a collaborative approach. By joining forces with businesses that have similar customer profiles, you can expand the quantity, quality and reach of your content, and reduce the amount of time you spend working on it.
To identify which businesses to collaborate with, start by thinking about how your product or service fits into your customers’ lives. What do your customers need that relates to you product that you don’t provide? It helps to look at the bigger environment your product or service is used in.
Let’s take a few businesses as examples.
- Real estate agents – think family/creating a home, room design, entertaining, cooking, furniture, recreation, security.
- Cake shop – think parties, games, decorations, entertainment, other food, drink.
- Bike shop – think bike routes, holiday destinations, events, nutrition, fitness, cool videos to share.
- Barber – think men’s lifestyle, wine, food, fitness, fashion, finance.
- Gym – think nutrition, recovery, injuries, clothing, workout music.
Once you have identified some other complementary products or services in your businesses environment, approach businesses that sell them to discuss the possibility of working together through your content marketing.
A collaborative content marketing strategy could work like this: each business commits to producing good quality, regular content (not sales messages), and this is compiled into a weekly/fortnightly newsletter with your branding and your content leading the email. The content would also need to be live on your site.
Content could include blog posts (around 200–400 words is fine), how-to articles, visual content, audio interviews or videos. The best content helps solve customer problems or make their lives easier. It has to be valuable.
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Each of the other business can brand the email as their own when sending to their database.
If you have 400 email addresses and six other business have about the same, then straight away you have extended your audience by 600 per cent to 2400.
Apart from time, and maybe some small email marketing expenses, you barely spend a cent. Plus, you can track the traffic to your site generated by the newsletter.
It sure beats spending money on mass advertising and actually starts to create a loyal database of people who prefer getting a range of valuable content in one email than numerous separate emails.
An important thing to remember is that each business needs to be proactive in asking for people to subscribe, both on their site and when they are dealing with people face-to-face, on the phone or on the email. My experience is that if you explain how your emails are valuable, and not purely sales orientated, then most people say, “Yes, please add me to the list.”
You then need to back this up by including valuable content. The emails can carry sales messages but they should not make up the bulk of the newsletter.
Have you tried collaborative content marketing, and has it worked for you? Please share your tips.