How to Get More Out of Your Content Creation – @ginidietrich

Gini-Dietrich-PinterestTrying to come up with new content on a regular basis can become a frustrating task, especially considering how many outlets there are these days to provide content for: blog posts, podcasts, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube…the list goes on.

Figuring out how to creatively repurpose some of your own content can be the key to not only invigorating new life into your work, but also giving you more bang for your buck. Once you realize it’s not about how much content you can create but rather about doing more research, polishing it more and then promoting it more using some creative techniques, you’ll find that taking one recent presentation that you created can actually provide you with material for a blog post, a podcast, a few Twitter posts and more.

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communication firm in Chicago. Gini is an author, blogger, speaker and proven authority on such topics as creating content, building an online community and developing an online reputation, and is one of the top rated communication professionals on the social networks.

Rich: Hey everybody, today we are speaking with Gini Dietrich. She is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communication firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, coauthor of Marketing In The Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She is also the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Gini, thanks for coming on today.

Gini: You should travel with me and just announce Spin Sucks the way you just did, it’s amazing.

Rich: Spin Sucks! I try it different every time.

Gini: I love it.

Rich: So you came from a background of PR, public relations, did you not?

Gini: I did.

Rich: So how did you make the giant leap from PR to kind of more of a digital marketing thing?

Gini: You know, actually, it was a skill of necessity because the economy tanked and there was this thing called Twitter and then Facebook that started to become available to the businesses, and really it was because I had to figure out how to make payroll. And the only way to do that was to jump on the train and start to evolve what we were doing.

Rich: Well that’s pretty cool because I’ve definitely seen a lot of PR experts and agencies either take too long or never make that jump, much to their own chagrin. So I’m glad that you saw that coming.

Gini: And I’m glad that they’re not keeping up.

Rich: Exactly. So what are the benefits of a PR background when it comes to online and digital marketing? Is there an unfair advantage that you have with a PR background that maybe some people don’t?

Gini: I think it’s an unfair advantage because we are taught through college and through our careers how to build relationships with human beings that will buy from us. And that’s a different skillset than marketing or advertising sales. So I think it’s an unfair advantage from that perspective, but I also think that we are writers by trade and a lot of what we do on the digital web is writing. So yeah, I do think it’s an unfair advantage.

Rich: Now one of the biggest struggles that small businesses and entrepreneurs have is in creating content. I hear that it’s difficult and time consuming and it’s often hard to measure the results once you put it out there. So how can we get more bang for the buck?

Gini: There are a few things that I want you to think about. One is, how do you take one piece of content and give it legs? So I run a blog post last night and I think about it like a millipede. So you have one piece of content as the body and you add all these different legs to it.

So let’s say that we’ve taken this podcast and now we want to share it on social networks and all those sorts of things, and you’ll have your show notes on the blog. How else can you extend it and give it more legs? Perhaps you offer pieces of what we discussed in a guest blog post, or you go to some of your targeted business publications – like Inc. or Fast Company or American Express – and create content for them, 5 minutes of our conversation.

So all of a sudden you have one piece of content that is the body of what we call “content hub”, and then all of the legs outside of it that circle around it.

Rich: Alright, so we create this one piece of content, and then we try and repackage and repurpose it in as many ways as makes sense to get it out there. Is that what I’m hearing?

Gini: Yes, yes, yes.

Rich: Alright, so how did you decide to create whatever piece of content? Where do we get started, what’s the origin of the body of this millipede?

Gini: I would really think about it where you have core expertise. For me, one of the big things that’s missing in the PR industry are metrics and how we measure our results. And to your point, how to measure the results of content marketing as well.

I’ve written a couple pieces on PR metrics, and taking that and really showcasing our expertise and how we do things differently than our competitors, because a lot of our competitors still aren’t measuring the way that they do PR to a real business ROI. So now when you Google PR metrics, we come up several times on the first page, and it’s because we’ve taken that piece that we already have core expertise on, we know we do something differently than our competitors, and then we use this idea of expanding that “keyword” throughout different pieces of content.

Rich: Alright, so if I’m hearing you correctly, basically one way of coming up with some of these original content ideas is to figure out what your value add – or your unfair advantage – something that you do differently, something that you want to be known for and create some content around there. Then you use that idea of repackaging and repurposing and maybe you post it as a podcast or as a guest blog, tweets, some Facebook stuff, maybe it’s Pinterest, maybe it’s a slideshare. And you put it out there in as many places as makes sense, depending on how competitive your industry is and what words you’re using, and suddenly you may be taking up a lot of real estate on page one of Google.

Gini: Yes! Exactly, exactly.

Rich: Alright, so let’s kind of walk through one piece of content, and I know you kind of started this. So let’s say we have a blog post – let’s go with the idea of a content hub – so I create this piece of content now because it’s something I want to be known for. I put it out there, and it almost sounds like the first step is to create something that I can expand on. So in other words, instead of a tweet, I’m going to start with something like a blog or a podcast or a YouTube video. Does that sound fair?

Gini: Yes, it does sound fair. I would focus on something that you can link to from your website or blog. So, a blogpost or a podcast. I’d stay away from a video as the main hub, I like paper and e-work,”frequently asked questions” page on your website. Now what you do is, you have this piece of content, or you’ve written a podcast, then you’ll link to that on everything you do outside your own website.

Not only are you getting that ever valuable backlink from another site, which helps Google notice you as an authority on this, but you’re also driving new traffic and using other networks and using other readers on other sites to some to your site. So you always want to make sure that you’re linking back to that piece on your website or blog.

Rich: Alright, so that makes a lot of sense. The bottom line is the hub of our content hub is always going to be our website, some piece of property online that we own. And then we can supplement it perhaps, and if we’re doing something on “how to increase our email conversion rates”, maybe we also create a video that we also post to YouTube and then we embed back into our blog. So that might be another way to repurpose.

Gini: Yes.

Rich: And it sounds like another benefit – we talked about the SEO benefits, we talked about becoming an authority – but I would guess also that our audience may like to learn things in different ways. So having these in different media may be a great way of being able to reach a wider audience.

Gini: Absolutely. I think the statistic is like 65% of us are visual learners, so video for sure you should be doing. And then another good percentage are auditory and another good percentage are by reading. So we want to for sure hit all three of those learning styles.

Rich: That’s great. Can you give us some specific techniques you or your clients have used to take one piece of content and repurpose it to an advantage on another medium?

Gini: I actually wrote a blog post called How To Create Content That Gets More Reads And Shares, and Joe Pulizzi at Content Marketing Institute saw that post and asked me to do a more advanced presentation at Content Marketing World on that same idea. So now I have the blog post that I’ve written, I do the presentation at Content Marketing World, where I’m in from of 250 people that see the presentation. Of course I talk about Spin Sucks, so I’m updating subscribers and readers. Then I upload that presentation into slideshare – linking back to Spin Sucks, of course. I mentioned it in Inside PR, and so in the show notes it links back to Spin Sucks. I did a piece for someone else’s blog and linked that back to Spin Sucks.

So you start to look at all these different areas where you got the opportunity to provide that link in different places to that one place on your site.

Rich: That’s fantastic. And it’s actually funny that we’ve been talking about digital marketing, but of course step 2 for you was actually creating a live performance. And the same thing happened to me, I was speaking at BlogWorld in New York once and they asked me what I wanted to talk on, and I had just written this blog post, Fifty Ways To Create Content When You’ve Run Out Of Ideas. So I basically just sent them the title of the blog post and the introduction and asked them if that would work. And they loved it, so I ended up doing that, and then I tried to take it to the next level and pre filled my Twitter account with the 50 different ways that would each come out one a minute during the presentation.

Gini: I love that!

Rich: So flyte new media was live tweeting it as I’m presenting it, which then I told people they don’t even have to take notes because all you need to do is just retweet any idea you like from flyte new media. So we picked up a whole bunch more users.

Gini: That’s so smart, I love it!

Rich: It was one of my shining moments, actually.

Gini: That’s very smart, thank you, I’m totally stealing that.

Rich: Please, steal that idea.

Gini: I’m going to.

Rich: Anybody who’s listening can steal that idea. But yeah, that worked out great for me. And from there I actually was able to repurpose that and actually made smaller presentations to deliver locally, and then it actually became a blog post on a different version. So if you’ve got 50 ideas, I was able to basically slice and dice that a number of different ways and even come up with different categories of ways and really able to repurpose that quite a bit.

So I strongly recommend when people need to create all this content, first of all there’s only so much time to consume this. So I think it’s not about how much content you can create, it’s about doing more research, polishing it more and then promoting it more using some of these techniques we talked about today.

Gini: Yeah, I totally, totally agree.

Rich: Is there a difference between repurposing content and just promoting it? In other words, if we’ve come up with our theme – whether it’s gluten free pizza or content creation or whatever – there’s creating that original piece of content. But are we actually providing any value when we’re tweeting and posting Facebook or is there a way to do that, or is it really that all of those smaller pieces of content are just about driving traffic back to that main piece?

Gini: I would hope that you’re providing value to social media, because otherwise you’re probably not driving traffic back. So yeah, I think one of the things that we see our prospects do – because we certainly don’t allow it once they become clients – is taking a piece of content and saying, “Read my blog post!”, and then posting it on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter with all the same message and no reason for anybody to be engaged or to click on it.

So you can get really smart testing different headlines, especially on Twitter, test five different ones throughout the day on Twitter and the one that’s most popular we’ll actually change the blog post title to. You can do that, you can ask questions that then drive people back to read the content. There’s lots of different ways you can add value from that perspective, for sure.

Rich: I like that a lot, I especially like that testing of the different headlines. I do that naturally, I don’t think I’m using the Google url builder to really figure out which was the right one that drove all the extra traffic. So that’s an interesting approach.

Now that also brings up a question. You mentioned that you don’t let your clients post the same message to all these different things. Now one of the things that I always do when I’m posting new content is I always tell people that as soon as you post something you go and share it on all the different networks using the sharing buttons on the top. And the reason I did this is because I used to bartend and I always tell people the very first thing you do at the beginning of your shift is put a dollar in the tip jar. It’s that social proof.

Whenever I go to a blog and I see blog post after blog post with goose eggs all across the top, my gut reaction is, “Wow, even the author can’t get behind this.” So that’s one of the things that I do. And I try and vary my message, but what you’re saying is it’s critical to make sure you’re not posting the exact same thing.

Do you have any tactics or strategy behind that? Do you stagger your shares across the different platforms or do you just try to massage your message to match up with the platform? Any details on that would be great.

Gini: I agree with you on the social share buttons on your blog. You absolutely, 100% should be doing that because there’s no reason on earth, especially if you’re sharing i you’ll at least have 1 share instead of the big goose egg.

On Twitter I share our content 5 times a day, so I do it right when I publish usually around 6am central time. Then it goes out 5 more times, each message is different, and I do test those kinds of messages to see what comes best.

I do Google+ and LinkedIn and Pinterest all at the same time, usually around 8am central time. And then I do a couple of buffer posts that go out on Twitter as well. I do Facebook after noon, just because that’s when my crazy friends tend to be more engaged is after lunch time. So I always post a blog after noon. I found when I do it first thing in the morning when it publishes, that I don’t get as much engagement, as people are getting ready for work and getting kids ready for school.

So from the perspective of where anybody else should be doing it, it’s testing. Test, test, test. You definitely want to post – I would say – four to six times on Twitter per day, easily. And then think about the different social networks as they are. Facebook is definitely the watercooler, so you don’t want to be all business there. If you want people to read your content you have to find a fun and interesting way to get them engaged.

Twitter is like a big networking event, so talking about yourself without being self promotional. LinkedIn is the business site, so you can be a little more about what the business value is that you’re offering. Google+ I would say the same, but I’m less concerned with Google+ and engagement I’m more concerned with just getting the link in there for search purposes. So, you have to test.

Rich: Interesting, And how about after day 1? You talked a lot about what you do on day one, do you continue, do you have an auto drip system setup, or do you taper it off over time?

Gini: No. I’m really, really bad after day 1.

Rich: Well, I am too. And that’s actually why I’m asking. Ok, so here’s my follow up question: Is everything going out through Gini or do you have different accounts that you use?

Gini: Everything goes out through me first. Spin Sucks has an account which our media manager manages and my team all share stuff. And I notice that I’ll share stuff post day 1, but I typically do not.

Rich: Yeah. Well, to be honest I finally started to outsource things to my own team here at flyte. I post stuff through my own accounts and then I’ll retweet myself through my own accounts through other accounts that I have through flyte and Agents Of Change. But I also have made part of my marketing person’s job that she promotes The Marketing Agents and flyte new media stuff, and puts it into Hootsuite and makes sure there’s a consistent drip over time because certainly even I’m not on Twitter every single day. People take a day off and you just might want to drive traffic to an older post.

Gini: So does your marketing person taper it off after a week?

Rich: We tend to, yeah. In a perfect world – which we do not live in – there’s a Marketing Agents podcast that comes out every week, we’re pretty religious about that. We’re supposed to, between Katrina and I, each write a blog post every other week, so we have one, big piece of content every week. And then sometimes we do what I call a “fluff piece”. And the fluff piece could be, “Hey, here’s an interesting infographic that we didn’t design, but I did a Google image search and I thought I’d share it here.”

Only because sometimes those get more traffic than I would have thought, and it doesn’t cost me anything to post it. So that’s kind of how we work and we play around with it a little bit and if we see we’re just not getting as much action on Facebook anymore through our pages, I just don’t pay attention to it as much, quite honestly.

Gini: Algorithms, grrr!

Rich: Oh, that Algorithm. Punch Mark Zuckerberg in the neck.

Gini: Exactly.

Rich: So anyway, we talked a lot about this, I want to kind of pull this back together because one of the things I mentioned at the beginning was the difficulty in measurement and seeing if there really is an ROI. Do you have anything you can share with us today in terms of how you would recommend measuring the time that we spend, or the money and energy we spend on this content hub?

Gini: Well this is why everything has to come back to something that you own, because if you don’t have it on your website or your blog, you can’t track the effectiveness. Of course you want to see increase in visitors and uniques and all those kinds of things, you have to track those because that’s going to give you an idea whether or not somethings working. Then start paying attention to where that traffic is coming from. Twitter for us is our number 1 referral from social, so that tells us that either we need to spend more time on the other social networks or spend more time on Twitter really engaging those people. And because the referrals are so high from a Twitter perspective, we actually have a pretty strong strategy to focus more time there.

Then you say, “Ok, I have all these things happening and it’s increased my readers, now let’s start testing some things behind a landing page.” So that’s where you start to see if maybe there’s an ebook or a larger piece of content or an hour podcast, versus your 20-25 minute podcast, that you put behind a landing page. Then you start driving people to that landing page, they have to give you an email address in order to get the content, and now you have an email address to market to to track through the sales process.

So what drove them to want to get more information and did they become a customer? For us, I know 80% of our new customer base comes from reading Spin Sucks, about 15% come from my speaking, and then 5% comes from other areas. So I know those statistics just because of the work we’ve done the last 3 years to really drive that.

Rich: And that then gives you a sense of where you need to put your energies going forward, which is critical. So I do want to bring up one thing, marketer to marketer, right now. You said something that I struggle with all the time. So we’re getting most of our traffic from Twitter, so either we’re going to do more or we’re going to do less. Ok, so that’s my dilemma. If I’m doing really well in something, does that mean I just keep doing it the way I do? Do I double down on it, or does it mean that I should be spending more time with my other children, my Pinterest or whatever it is?

Statistics only take you so far, traffic reports only take you so far. I’ve got a really high bounce rate, do I worry? I’ve got a lot of new visitors, is that maybe bad? These are the kind of things where you start to kind of say, “Ok, I see what the numbers are, but what’s the context, what story is this actually telling me?” So I’m kind of curious what you think, because you said yourself, if we’re getting most of our traffic from Twitter, does that mean I should be spending more time or less time on Twitter?

Gini: So I’ll give you an example. Last year we noticed that StumbleUpon was creeping into the top 10 social referrals, and so for 3 months we decided that we were going to spend some time on StumbleUpon and really use that to drive new visitors to the site. It went from #10 to #7 in that 3 month period, which just was a lot of work and just didn’t drive enough. It’s still in the top 10, I think it’s # 8 or #9, but not enough for us to worry about.

Now one of the things we actually just talked about in our staff meeting today is, we have about 50% of traffic coming to Twitter from a social referral perspective, let’s see if we can get it to 60%. We know Facebook’s not going to work, although Facebook is #2 for us right now, that number continues to decline because of Mark Zuckerberg being a capitalist. So let’s find ways to use more “snackable” content on Twitter.

So using tools like Click To Tweet and having that right in the blog post where you can say, “Hey, click this and tweet it”, and people just can click right from the blog post and tweet it an get that out. So we’re going to try some of that to see if it makes a dent. If it doesn’t, we’ll just keep doing what we’re doing and maybe we’ll need to focus on LinkedIn or Google+.

Rich: Alright, good stuff. I know that we’ve just scraped the surface here, I know you have a lot more to offer. If somebody’s listening right now, where do you want them to go check out to learn more about you and your company?

Gini: is the easiest place.

Rich: We’ll have all of those links that Gini mentioned in the shownotes in the transcription, as we always do. And Gini I just want to thank you very much for the time you gave us today.

Gini: Absolutely my pleasure, Rich.

Show Notes:

  • Want to learn more about Gini, you can find her via her website.
  • Gini is founder and CEO of Chicago-based Arment Dietrich.
  • Follow Gini on Twitter.
  • Read Gini’s book, Spin Sucks.
  • Gini also co-authored the book, Marketing In The Round, which focuses on developing an integrated marketing campaign.
  • Gini co-hosts a weekly podcast, Inside PR, which explores social media and public relations.
  • Click To Tweet is a free tool designed to promote and advertise your stuff on Twitter.

Previous blog posts discussed in this podcast: