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Five Ways to Reuse Blog Content

Image by Livia Cristina L.C.

Copyblogger writers spend an average of five to seven hours developing a single blog post (including research and writing time). While this may seem like a significant amount of time to invest in one piece of content, in reality it should serve as the beginning of a longer lead campaign.

Content continues to take center stage as a top business priority – 90 percent of consumers find custom content useful, and 78 percent believe that organizations providing custom content are interested in building good relationships with them. Given the amount of time invested in creating just one blog post, PR professionals should always be on the lookout for new ways to extend the life of content by re-imagining it for new audiences, formats and outlets. Here are five ways to repurpose a single blog post for various audiences.

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Pick the top 5-10 key points and develop a slideshow

Many online publications (including eWEEK, CIO Insight and IT Business Edge) solicit contributed slideshows with 5-10 slides that feature quick tips or pieces of information. While each publication has slightly different requirements, the process generally works very similarly to pitching thought leadership articles. Use the blog post as a starting point to outline the top takeaways from the content that the publication’s readers will benefit from learning.

Engage audiences across social media channels

Start by choosing the right social media platform for your business, based on your audience. Develop content relevant to the platform and audience –  perhaps the blog topic inspires a series of images or short videos to share on Instagram – and schedule the posts over a series of a several days.

Syndicate the content on LinkedIn

In addition to sharing the blog post to a user’s LinkedIn network, consider publishing an excerpt or a summary of the content on LinkedIn with a link to the original post. From the LinkedIn.com homepage, the author uploading the piece can select “write an article” and easily add a brief summary of the post. This is a great way for the author to engage with her network, establish herself as a thought leader in the industry, and extend the content from the original blog post.

Develop a media pitch on the topic

Tie the blog topic to a trend or recent news story and develop a pitch that will appeal to media. Whether it’s pitching a contributed article or a conversation with the author as an expert on the topic, use the blog post as a tool for generating fresh pitch ideas and engaging with media. Ensure the pitch angle is distinctly different from the blog post though – journalists do not want to receive content already published on the web.

Repurpose the author’s POV for a speaking proposal

Does the blog post author offer a compelling or interesting point of view on a provoking industry topic? Narrow the piece down to a short summary (many speaking proposals require just 150 words or less for speaking abstracts), and identify relevant events to pursue.

With the increasing number of ways to distribute content, it’s important for PR professionals to have smart strategies for investing upfront time into pieces that can be used for myriad purposes. What are your go-to strategies for reusing content?

 

What Thought Leadership is Not

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Thought leadership” is often considered a buzzword in the marketing and PR world – little more than a spruced up advertisement for a company. However, if your content marketing pieces fit this description, then you’re not doing thought leadership. Thought leadership can be a strong, useful addition to a content marketing program and goes well beyond stuffing a reused blog full of keywords and hoping a Forbes editor will run it.

To understand what good thought leadership looks like, it can be beneficial to know what bad content looks like. Here’s what thought leadership is not:

Thought Leadership is Not Link Building

The main goal of thought leadership is not boosting your SEO program. That’s not to say these two programs can’t work together – they certainly can. A well-written thought leadership piece placed in a publication important to your business’ audience might also include a link to your website in your author bio. This is a great bonus and can help your company’s SEO results, but this should be considered a plus, not the end goal. Editors are not looking for opportunities to publish links to businesses’ websites, they’re looking to partner with thought leaders who can provide useful, actionable insights for their readers. Draft and pitch your thought leadership ideas with this at the forefront of your mind, and you will have more success in placing your content.

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Thought Leadership is Not About You

Since editors want content that is relevant for their readers, it’s important to remember that this also means your thought leadership content isn’t about you. While it seems counter intuitive to say that a program designed to position yourself as a thought leader is not about you, this concept is the foundation of well-written pieces. Your content can and certainly should involve things you’ve learned and how you’ve built your personal expertise, but you should frame your articles with your readers in mind. What is useful to them? How can you help them on this topic? Your purpose isn’t to highlight your accomplishments and boost your ego. Focusing on your readers first makes an article more relevant, useful, and likely to be published.

Thought Leadership is Not a Chance to Talk About Your Company and Products

It all comes back to your readers – thought leadership isn’t about your company or products, either. While this type of content ultimately boosts your brand image, it isn’t advertising. Many publications outright prohibit contributed pieces that mention the author’s products and business in the text, and will remove links back to your site. Thought leadership requires brainstorming and planning to come up with topics that don’t focus on your products and services. The key is that the topics will be mildly related to, but not centered on what your brand does. It’s also possible for thought leadership pieces to be completely unrelated to the products your company sells. Think of topics your audience is interested in and that you can talk about without using your own products as a case study or solution.

Thought Leadership is Not Copying and Pasting Your Blog Posts

Your blog can be a great starting point for topic ideas for articles. However, you can’t just take a pre-written blog and try to pitch it to an editor as a thought leadership piece. Many publications don’t want material that’s been published elsewhere, blogs included. Your blog posts will also probably need some reworking to become less advertorial and more reader focused. You can write about the same topic or a similar one, but make sure it’s tailored to your audience and the publication you want to see it in.

Good Thought Leadership Is…

Knowing what thought leadership is not provides a jumping off point to a good program. A good thought leadership article is not easy or quick to put together. It will require some research, brainstorming, and drafting. It will require a constant focus on your reader, and putting your own brand in the background. It will also require some patience – you’re probably not going to be published in Forbes right away. But focusing on quality content can lead you to opportunities with publications your readers know and respect, and eventually lead to a stronger brand image overall.

5 Associated Press Stylebook changes marketing pros should know

The Associated Press Stylebook isn’t just for journalists. For the best in clarity and consistency, corporations should use AP style in nearly all their written communications materials.

The stylebook is updated year-round based on current usage and feedback from an annual survey. Some changes make headlines: in 2014 when AP said that “over” was an acceptable alternative to “more than” when describing relative amounts, the copywriting community was up in arms. In a critical Washington Post op-ed Alexandra Petri claimed the AP was letting usage win over correct grammar with this change.

The 2015 revised book contains over 300 changes, none of which incited the same response as the “over”/”more than” update. Nonetheless, there are five updates that are most important for those who write or edit for business.

1. New terms.

A new entry has been added regarding suicides and suicide attempts. Overall, AP recommends avoiding detail on the methods used, with the following style change: “Committed suicide” should be avoided except in direct quote from authorities.

It’s also advised to use “Affordable Care Act” sparingly, as not all Americans recognize the law by its formal name. AP suggests using “President Barack Obama’s health care law” or “the health care law” on first reference, and “Obamacare”—in quotation marks—on second reference.

2. Food names and phrases.

The AP made dozens of minor updates to this category. Most relevant: “BLT”—formerly bacon, lettuce and tomato—is now acceptable on first reference. And “craft brewery” should replace the use of “microbrewery.”

3. Social media lingo.

“Favorite” is now an acceptable term for the Twitter button users use to “express approval for a tweet, and/or to bookmark that tweet, and any associated links, for later consumption,” according to the AP Stylebook.

“Favorite” can also be used as a verb, as in: I favorite all the tweets from PR Daily’s Twitter account.

Though social media professionals have used “memes” to increase online interaction with their audiences for a while, it’s now an official AP style term. A “meme” is “a piece of information, such as a cultural practice or idea, that’s shared verbally or transmitted widely, often in social media.”

4. Sports slang and organization names.

AP Stylebook now includes several standardized basketball terms, such as “Elite Eight” and “Final Four,” which are now capitalized.

The AP is also putting the brakes on sports clichés: “A team losing a game is not a “disaster.” Home runs are homers, not “dingers,” “jacks” or “bombs.” A player scored 10 straight points, not 10 “unanswered” points. If a football team scores two touchdowns and the opponent doesn’t come back, say it “never trailed” rather than “never looked back.” In short, avoid hackneyed words and phrases, redundancies and exaggerations.”

5. Index of terms.

Though not a style revision, AP Stylebook has added an 85-page index to its 2015 edition to help users find words more quickly.

What’s your favorite and least favorite AP Stylebook rule?

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A Better Editing Process

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I know the saying goes that is far easier to edit a piece of writing than to start one from a blank page, but I sometimes find the editing process just as hard. These four steps recently offered by Ragan’s PR Daily have really helped me lately to break down the process of editing as well as examine a writing piece as a whole instead of focusing on particular grammar and punctuation errors.

1. Read and read only

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to read the article before making any changes. Keep your fingers off the keyboard (or put your pen down) and just read.
I know it’s tempting. You see a typo or a sentence that can be broken into two, and you want to change it immediately. Wait until you’ve finished reading the article. You should comprehend what you are reading without the distraction of catching errors or rewriting sentences.

2. Macro-editing

After reading, it’s time to focus on content. This is “macro-editing” at the paragraph level.
Macro-editing deals with the article’s overall structure. For instance:

  • Does the structure make sense?
  • Does the article flow from paragraph to paragraph and from section to section?
  • Are introductory statements supported by the rest of the article?
  • Do you need to move the background information to the end of the article and the explanatory quotes to the beginning?
  • Is the article complete?
  • Are there unanswered questions?

Marco-editing is also where I check my facts and my sources.

3. Micro-editing

“Micro-editing” is done at the sentence level. It typically deals with the technical aspects of the article: sentence structure, style, usage, spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, and capitalization.

Most often, the micro-editing stage is where I tend to get bogged down. Separating it from structural editing helps me focus on the nuts and bolts of the writing.

4. Proofreading

This fourth step may seem redundant, but I find that it helps to proofread the article after I’ve completed my macro-editing and micro-editing. I need one last sanity check after moving paragraphs or rewriting sentences. Since I’ve completed the rewriting tasks, I can focus on catching typos.

What do you think? Any other tips you find helpful during the editing process? I find step 1 incredibly hard to do, but worth it in the end. I also find it helpful to take a break away from the writing for a bit before completing a final proofreading. I am always surprised at what else I find with a fresh state of mind!