Generating online content: The challenge and opportunity

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Gary Vaynerchuck suggests one way to maximize content is to repurpose it in different media.

These days I receive three to five requests/proposals a day to provide content for this blog, and our other regional construction industry websites. Some of the content providers offer to pay us to post their material. Others make it like they are doing us a favour to provide the material.

Almost always, I hit “delete” and ignore the proposals, even from the marketers who have learned the follow-up technique. They wait a few days and send a seemingly personalized message: “Did you get my earlier email?” I’m satisfied these messages are not overt spam, in that someone is individually sending the message to “me” — but I have no illusion that the content provider has any interest but his own (or his paid client) in seeking the access.

There are several reasons that I ignore these inquiries, the most important of which can be summarized by tomorrow morning’s activities. At this time in 24 hours (7:15 a.m.) I’ll be on a plane to Chicago, connecting to San Jose, for what has become now an annual visit to Google headquarters for a help forum contributors/moderators’ (Top Contributor) summit.

The expense-paid invitation to the Google mothership indicates the right way to do things when it comes to content production/contribution, which I’ll outline below (and has nothing to do with spammy efforts to seek search engine optimization hyperlinks on other sites).

Write the content yourself, or if you wish, contract with a skilled content writer who really knows your business and good writing techniques, to produce the content on your own site(s).

We should start at the beginning. Rich content that is relevant will work best when you focus on your own sites, rather than trying to force yourself onto others’.

Contribute responsible, thoughtful and useful material when invited on other sites or public platforms.

Several years ago, I set out to be helpful on the Google AdSense help forum. (AdSense is the company’s advertising server tool for third-party publishers and individuals.) After a while, and a nasty crisis, I received an invitation to the inner circle, the Top Contributor program. The key to making these contributions work is they must not be self-serving in orientation, though ultimately you’ll receive the rewards.

Where appropriate, invite guest contributions or offer your own contributions but only when you have an established relationship with the invitees/inviter, or you have structured an open invitation for a specific project/initiative.

This isn’t the broadcast or mass “guest blog” concept — but it could be for example, my open invitation to participate in the annual Best Construction Blog competition, and its related directory. I screen for quality and spam, but otherwise, anyone can participate, and I find it strange that I receive the many “guest post” requests when (if the publishers have legitimate blogs) they could gain access without stress. Similarly, I’m generally open to contributing content or inviting participation from others where we have a real relationship or connection beforehand.

It makes sense to repurpose your content. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

A YouTube video can provide content for a blog post, which can be repurposed for social media.  If you see others’ content that would add value to your site, be respectful of copyright, and write your own interpretation, hyperlinking links and providing proper source credit.  Gary Vaynerchuk provides some insights in this Quora.com posting, in the process practicing what he preaches about repurposing (and using invitation-based public forums to provide content.)

You can certainly create plenty of worthy content without needing to resort to spam or ineffective “content marketing” strategies.

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