5 Tips to Leverage Other People’s Content
Writing is at the core of blogging. Let’s face it, most of us are somewhat lazy and find that writing is hard work. As a result, we show up at the electronic page and can get immobilized by the blank screen.
To overcome Blank-Blog-Post-Syndrome when new blog topics seem in short supply, there are a variety of ways for creating great blog content without lots of writing on your part. These suggestions leverage other people’s content and comments. Underlying these recommendations is the assumption that you respect intellectual property and will give the idea’s originator credit and won’t present other people’s concepts and copy as your own. Here are five suggestions:
- Round up information. Collect useful research and/or facts of interest on a specific topic for your audience. By putting this information together in one place and giving it context, you provide a service for your readers.
- Spotlight content worth reading. Gather articles and posts either focused on a category or issue. For example, my friend Marjorie Clayman has an inspired version of this tactic. Two months ago, she started #30Thursdays, where she highlights thirty articles each week with her short, insightful and fun comments. These posts attract lots of readers, tweets and comments since everyone who’s mentioned spreads the word.
- Ask your audience a question. Collect input on a question posed by your readers or an issue that’s surfaced in your comments. Pose it to your readers and followers to get input. If you’re associated with a company, ask your fellow employees and/or customers for their perspective. Remember to get permission to use people’s responses before you post them. Also, ask whether they want their actual names and/or social media identities associated with the content and respect their wishes.
- Check your email. Use promotional emailings that you’ve received and other information you’ve found online as the basis for discussion. This can work well for B2B blogs. Here are two great examples: Bird Watching My Email List from Chad White’s The Retail Email Blog and Keep on Blogging in the Face of a Social Wind from Jay Ehret’s The Marketing Spot blog.
- Be speechless. Instead of writing a blog entry, use another media format such as photographs, video and/or PDF presentations to change things up. Remember that blogs can present information in a wide range of media formats. Take advantage of this functionality. Don’t just post multimedia content, add relevant search optimization tags to ensure that it’s findable.
Here are three other tips as outlined in my 12 Suggestions to Overcome Blank Blog Post Syndrome column that use other people’s content.
- Gather expert tidbits. Reach out to people you admire in your field and ask them for their insights on a topic. This works great for year-end forecasts and looking forward on a field type posts.
- Interview interesting people in your field. Use a short questionnaire to keep speakers on topic and to guide the conversation. Think broadly about who your readers would find interesting. It doesn’t have to be conference headliners. You can use a man-in-the-street exchange. Ask readers for suggestions on who they would like to hear from. Remember that you can do this in either text or video. Consider making this into a regular blog feature.
- Be a reporter. Live blog or report facts from live events and tradeshows. You can do this while you’re listening to the presentation so that your input and creation time are minimized. Also, you’ve got a built-in audience that’s interested in your content, namely people who wanted to attend but couldn’t.
If you’re working hard creating original content, you deserve a break once in a while. You can use the eight suggestions above to help you mix it up. Additionally, consider using one or more of them as a regular feature in your editorial calendar.
Do you have any other suggestions for “borrowed” content? If so, would you please add them in the comments section below?
Tip of my hat to Chris Brogan since his “Cranking Out Content” post inspired this column.
If you’d like some more insights on building your blog’s content, please read these columns:
Photo credit: ciokkolata_never_trusted_silvio_bunga_bunga via Flickr