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Content may be king. But how do you produce native content if you’re a small- or medium-sized business?

by Jerry “Doctor Spin” Silver // Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn
Senior Digital Strategist // Spin Factory

This week, my friends at Mynewsdesk will be launching an experiment:

They will be following Kerstin Wolgers, an 82-year old senior citizen, as she goes online for the first time in her life. Wolger’s first week online will, of course, be fully covered over at the campaign site Mynewsdesknow.

I think the campaign will show that people can adapt to a life online quickly — and actually start to produce real-time content themselves. As we’re waiting for the next 1,000,000,000 people to come online in the coming years, being able to produce meaningful native content will be a valuable skill.

The increasing need for native content was also why I was invited by Mynewsdesk to speak about inbound marketing at their annual ‘Mynewsday’ events in Stockholm, Gothenburg, and Malmö.

Content may be king — but how do you produce native worthy of people’s attention?

Why Native Content is Important

When I studied strategic communications at the Mid Sweden University, media logic was a big thing. The premise was clearly divided:

On the one hand, we had interpersonal communications. How we perceive and interpret others depend greatly on context and psychological factors.

On the other hand, we had mass communication. How we transfer information and persuade audiences to depend greatly on structures and the needs of the many.

Since this was back in 2000-2003, we obviously focused more on media logic affecting mass communication. But as Jesper Falkheimer, Professor in Strategic Communication at Lund University, pointed out when I met him in Helsingborg a few weeks ago for a joint seminar — we might just see an advent for interpersonal communication theories with the rise of inbound communications.

As more and more people actively are seeking out the knowledge they need in their lives (instead of being fed information through mass media), instead of manufacturing the illusion of consent through surveys and events, providing knowledge-based content becomes crucial for all companies.

But serving up your knowledge on a plate can prove to be a tall order.

Challenges with Native Content

Content marketing has risen like a Phoenix from the ashes. I say this because PR professionals have been producing corporate content for owned channels since the birth of strategic communication as a discipline.

And in a world where everything has been upside-down for many, content is tangible. And it works.

But everything isn’t fun and games. Here are some of the challenges with producing content:

  • Massive competition: Every content provider on the internet competes with every other content provider on the internet.
  • Native content: Packaging your knowledge requires professional communication skills for various channels across text, audio, video, and graphics.
  • The sharing dilemma: Share your knowledge for free, but never ‘give away the farm’. Knowing that difference = strategy.

Native Content Toolbox for Small Businesses

Here are a few of my favorite tools for producing native content:

1. Ask your prospects for their no. 1 challenge.

By asking your prospects what they’re struggling with, you get perfect inspiration for producing content that matters. Ask everyone who signs up for your mailing list. Ask everyone who takes your surveys. See more inbound examples here.

2. Blog.

Blogging may be around for quite a while at this point, but corporate blogging is still king of the hill when it comes to inbound marketing. Don’t get discouraged by all the boring corporate blogs out there — be the difference! Check out this framework for corporate blogs.

3. Use Fiverr for copy-editing.

Did you know that you can find a professional that copy-edits your blog posts over at Fiverr? If you find a couple of great professionals, they can make your process much easier! Try Fiverr here.

4. Use 99Designs for your content design needs.

I’ve used 99Designs several times and I’ve been very happy with the results. You submit your idea and several talented designers will compete for your business. Try 99Designs here.

5. Try Canva for making quick designs yourself.

Canva is a great service and I use it all the time now. They provide easy-to-use design templates in common sizes and with a little tweaking, you end up with original designs that still looks quite professional. Try Canva here.

6. Use Mynewsdesk as an online knowledge hub.

Most companies use their newsrooms to host their press releases. But you could also use their plug-and-play platform to serve knowledge-content to your prospects as well. Try Mynewsdesk here.

7. Use CoSchedule for scheduling.

To free up more time for content creation, find ways to plan your publishing across platforms. I personally like to use CoSchedule paired with Buffer (for WordPress users). Try CoSchedule here.

8. Apply the ‘Instant Results Technique’.

Provide actionable knowledge, i.e. knowledge that is so easily actionable that your audience can apply your advice and get a result within 15 minutes. Check out this storytelling technique as an example.

9. Focus on ‘Evergreen Content’.

Before publishing online content, ask yourself: Will this piece of content still provide valuable knowledge two years from now? Across acquisition, retention, search, and conversion, this baseline filter could multiply the total value of your online content over time.

10. Add a CTA (call-to-action) to your content.

This technique forces you and your team to ask yourselves the question “then what?”. Because getting people to your content is not the end game — it’s the start of the customer journey.

What about 82-year old Kerstin Wolgers, then?

What are your favorite resources for producing online content? Please share in the comment section.

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Behind the keyboard:

Jerry Silver is the author of Doctor Spin, a PR blog that's been around for 15+ years. Via his agency Spin Factory, Jerry is advising brands on how to adapt to a 'digital first' world. In 2016, Cision Scandinavia named him "PR Influencer of the Year". Jerry lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his wife Lisah, news anchor and television host, and their three-year-old son, Jack.


Doctor Spin’s comment policy:
“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”
— Eleanor Roosevelt

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Mickie Kennedy

Great advice, Jerry.

Also: don’t forget about crowdsourcing. Asking top experts in your field for their brief input on a particular topic or question saves a ton of time/copyediting, and the material tends to be really popular.

Reply
Doctor Spin

Awesome addition, Mickie. Thank you.