As an ISV startup or SMB, you may have limited marketing resources. And although you know content marketing can attract your target audience and generate leads, you struggle to find resources to produce content. After all, in a small business, one of your coders may also be your writer – or it may all be up to you.
If your ISV has marketing resources, their time may be monopolized by other activities like new releases, trade show participation and email marketing. The weekly blog or fresh post may turn into a monthly – or less frequent – activity. If you aren’t generating new content on a regular basis for your website, for social media, and to use in email newsletters or campaigns, it’s time to build a new strategy: content collaboration.
Why more is better
It’s true that search engines reward the quality content you produce, but they also reward quantity. Logically, the more content your website has on a topic and the more pages you can link to each other, the more likely search engines are to consider you an authority. Creating topic clusters is a great way to organize content on your website for your readers interested in taking a deep dive into a topic, and it’s a great way to boost search engines’ ranking of the hub or “pillar” page. But a cluster requires more than one post on a topic.
It’s also important to recognize that establishing a regular posting schedule and sticking to it can benefit your website. Web crawlers won’t crawl your site as often if they don’t find new content, so it may take longer to have new content indexed when you do post a blog or make an update. Remember, too, there is value in fresh content. It’s not all about increasing SEO, although fresh content does help. It’s also about value for your target audience. You need to keep delivering something new and current to maintain their interest, on your website and in your other marketing activities. And if you’re like many ISVs, you need help to do it.
Leverage partnerships for content collaboration
As you build your business, you are building valuable partnerships. You work with hardware vendors and other software developers that offer complementary solutions. You may have joined an industry association in your target market. And, of course, you are building your client base. Have you considered leveraging those relationships for content creation?
You know first-hand what a challenge it can be to produce a healthy quantity of content. It’s very possible your partners are in the same boat. There can be benefits from a quid pro quo arrangement that results in more content for you both. Of course, content collaboration still takes an investment of time, but by working with partners, you can multiply the return.
Ways to creatively collaborate on content
There really are no limits to how content collaboration can work. Here are just a few ideas to serve as inspiration:
- Blog sharing: They write a blog for you. You write a blog for them. Choose a topic you’ve used in the past, and adapt it into a unique piece of content. This will take much less time than starting from scratch with a new topic. It’s best to agree on guidelines such as length and a focus on thought leadership rather than product promotion. Don’t just syndicate an exact copy of each other’s blogs, however; there would be little value in it for this purpose. To do that correctly, you’d need to include a canonical tag back to the original to avoid being flagged for posting duplicate content, and you don’t want to compete for which version the search engine will index.
- Use a partner’s research or e-book as a source: Want to write a quick blog post? Base it on one of your partner’s assets. Chances are you will find statistics or quotes worth using and tweeting, and you can tailor the information to apply to your specific audience. In return, ask your partner to share your blog on social media or in their newsletter. And, if you develop an asset, ask your partner to return the favor with content based on your work.
- Interview your partner: Meeting at a tradeshow? Ask your partner a few questions for a blog – or video the interview for some content variety on your site. If your partner is using the show as a content-generator, see if you can contribute. And remember to support each other on social media.
- Collaborate on research: Share the work and the cost of conducting a survey that would be relevant to you both. Design it as a PDF, so there is no duplicate content issue if you both use it. A 10-question survey could potentially be fodder for 10 blogs. Create a plan to divide and conquer.
More content, more benefits
Channeling your efforts into a collaborative strategy will not only result in more content for your efforts, it will provide your business with added benefits as well. With your content on a partner’s website, promoted through their social media activity and, possibly, featured in their newsletters, you will broaden your reach to include your partner’s audience. With backlinks to your site in the content they post from you, especially if their website has higher domain authority than yours, you can improve your search rankings.
In addition, when you post your partner’s content, they will almost certainly share it on social media and like your tweets or posts when you share. This will grow your social media visibility and could result in new followers.
Sharing content from partners who are thought leaders can also give your blog, social media activity, and marketing campaigns a fresh perspective that may resonate with your audience. This can keep prospects engaged and, maybe, help nudge them further into the sales funnel.
Perhaps most importantly, content collaboration creates synergy. You’ll find that content creation becomes less of a chore when you are working with people who are valuable contributors. You will find you can achieve much more together than when you work alone. Your collaboration may even help you reach the goal of the right quantity of content, posted on a regular basis, resulting in the web traffic numbers and audience engagement you need.