Answering 3 common questions on creating collaborative content

by Chris Moody on Monday, October 28, 2013 in Content Marketing

All of us at Compendium have been stressing this for years: a high volume of collaborative content is a much better strategy than a small number of extremely polished pieces. Jay Baer wrote an amazing post yesterday, "Cooperative Content Will Eventually Dominate Your Polished Content."

But what they overlook is that 16% of the searches on Google today will be for phrases Google has NEVER seen before. The long tail is SO much longer than we commonly believe, and there is simply no way you can create content – especially expensive, high effort content – for every one of your customers’ questions and scenarios.

Further, with the increasing use of verbal search (a major driver of Google’s new Hummingbird algorithm, as I explained here in one of the most popular posts I’ve ever written), the long tail will get even longer, as verbal queries are phrased differently than typed queries. And, as more and more content is consumed via mobile devices, putting all your content marketing eggs in the polished, high effort basket becomes strategically dubious.

Being a quality article designed for a specific audience (content marketers), the comments have been engaging and thought-provoking. One of my favorites was from Tom Mangan.

The image above links to that live comment with my reply, but naturally, that should create a quick blog post repurposing my comment. Tom's questions cover generating content, managing content workflows, content distribution and the use of content marketing software. Let's dive in...

1. Who manages the creation of collaborative content?

At Compendium, it is one of the hats our marketing manager, Kaila Garrison, wears. We eat our own dogfood, so our Compendium platform is catching all of our content for moderation, workflow and a quick polish. Without the proper content strategy, it is incredibly daunting. You need to have content coming from many places - customers, employees, emails, etc. We simply can't write all the content needed for a true 1:1 marketing approach. The "herder" assumes more of an editorial role than that of a journalist. That's one of the first mental shifts we as marketers have to make.

2. How do companies control their message with user generated content?

Kaila has some say in our message or some companies have someone that may reside on a brand or dedicated content team in their workflow. We also have our best practices and keyword suggestions built into our content marketing platform (image to the right). But, as Jay mentioned... we give up some control. Some of our best content comes from clients, sales, engineering and client experience folks that may never make it onto our website with a traditional strategy. The best simple explanation of this approach I can come up with is a parenting analogy.

Compendium Content Score

3. Where is collaborative content hosted?

For us, right here on our content exchange / hub. It is a hub and spoke model. At the end of the day, we get paid on bringing money in the door (for the most part). I want all of our content somewhere with appropriate calls to action to help lead potential customers in the right direction. That being said, it would be a major mistake to not deliver the right message to the right person at the right time on the right channel. That's what we use our own software for. That *can* be done manually or with other alternatives, but I'm pretty bullish about how much easier my life is with Compendium as the platform I use. That's why I joined the team.

It is time for a subtle shift in marketing mentality.

Whitepapers are great. Chunking them up and sharing pieces of each one is obviously something you should do. But, that doesn't scale. One major piece of content per month won't bring in the growth most of the folks reading this or Jay's blog are tasked with bringing in.

At the end of the day, this strategy is working... How the CMI Best Overall Corporate Blog Winner Utilized Compendium’s Platform.


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