One of the greatest challenges every email marketer faces is how to have a consistent flow of great content. We’ll share what we do at WhatCounts each week to create content for our blog, newsletter, eBooks, and more, because once you understand the system, it can be adapted to work for your company.
First and foremost, we read. We read a lot. All WhatCounts team members have a mandate from CEO Allen Nance that we should devote 30-60 minutes a day reading, researching, and keeping up to date on our industry and the industries of our clients. To do this, we use a variety of different tools like Google Reader, Flipboard, Salesforce Chatter, and our internal Intranet to share information. We read, share, and discuss as much as time permits. If you haven’t done so already, create and share a list of top blogs in your industry that your team should be reading and share it out among your team as an OPML file they can import into services like Google Reader.
Our blog comes from a variety of different sources. Sometimes it’s from our reading and research, but the best posts, the most interesting posts, come from questions that our clients ask us. We’re asked how to implement something or what kind of strategy would be appropriate for a niche product, and that finds its way onto our blog. Listening to your customers is one of the greatest, easiest sources of content you could ever hope to tap, as long as your customers feel comfortable and encouraged to share and ask questions.
Our newsletter, the GameChanger, is composed of a roundup of what we’ve blogged and shared socially for the week, along with original, in-depth content. Each week, we aim to deliver one extra piece of content in the newsletter that we don’t publish anywhere else, from recommended videos on marketing to custom-developed code we give away to in-depth looks at economic data and how it applies to marketing.
After each quarter, we examine what’s been most popular, most shared, most discussed, and often turn that into longer-form content such as eBooks, webinars, and other materials. You’ve likely noticed that we’ve been talking about our email deliverability eBook recently – that came from a popular blog post series (which originally came from a customer’s question).
There’s a logic and flow to the system that makes content less of a struggle for us. We hope this glimpse into our system gives you ideas for your own content generation system!
Christopher S. Penn
Director of Inbound Marketing, WhatCounts