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Understanding Content Marketing: Finding Content

content_is_kingThere is a lot that goes into building a business from having a creative vision to hiring a staff to finding and nurturing your customer base.  And all this effort is directed toward keeping your business relevant and growing. Marketing – the process of communicating the value of a product or service to customers, for the purpose of selling that product or service –  is a necessary part of business growth.

In the online world, getting the word out about your business is accomplished via the content you post online.  Content Marketing, therefore, is any marketing that involves the creation and sharing of media and publishing content in order to acquire customers. Seems pretty simple, right? Anytime you post to your blog or share a status, link, photo or video via your social media sites, you are a content marketer.

But, how do you find that content?  Where do you post it?  How do you share it so you know it is reaching your audience?  The answer is surprisingly complicated.  This post is the first in a three-part series on understanding content marketing.  Finding content, sharing content and repurposing content.

Step One: Finding Content

Before you can share content, you have to find it or create it. There is a lot of content out there, but not all of it is suitable for sharing.  Some content is outdated, some doesn’t share your point of view, some is poorly written and some is great, but written by your competitors! Here are a three ways to find shareable content.

1.  Google Alerts: One of the first things any business owner or new hire should do is to set up Google Alerts for their own name and the name of their business.  You can also set up alerts for key terms about your business or industry.  For example, if you run a financial services firm, you can set up alerts for financial planning, retirement and wealth management.  Setting up alerts will send the top matches for these to your inbox daily so that you can review them and share what interests you.  Or you may find content that you feel compelled to write your own commentary on or counterpoint to on your blog.  Just be sure to link to the original source!

2. Twitter Searches: Twitter searches are a great way to find content to share.  There is a search box at the top right of your Twitter account or via content management tools like Hootsuite.  Typing a keyword into this field brings up all tweets that use this terms as well as suggestions of Twitter accounts to follow which heavily feature that term.

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3. LinkedIn Groups: LinkedIn is the number one social network for business and can help you find prospective employees, promote your business and connect with other professionals and prospective clients. LinkedIn hosts nearly two million groups related to every professional topic imaginable. When you join a group, you are apprised of new threads created within the group which can be merely informative or used for sharing. Best of all, the topics created contain links that have already been curated by professionals in your industry for suitability!

Now that you are familiar with finding content, we’ll use our next post to talk about the best ways to share that content. Stay tuned!