3 Places to Get Content for Blogs, White Papers, and Other Content Marketing

By on January 7th, 2014

When it comes to marketing, content is king. Sure, you can go out and try to find customers on your own, but increasingly, customers are finding you. They know what they want, and they are actively searching for, filtering, and vetting their print and marketing partners based on the content they find.

But where do you get the content? Especially for smaller companies, this can be a real challenge. For SEO and differentiation, you need a constant churn of print and email newsletters, white papers, blog posts, Webinars, case studies, and content for social media. What if you don’t have the resources to pay a copywriter to produce them?

If you are not in a position to write your own content (or need more content than you can create in-house), here are 3 ideas for places to get it.

1. Third-party providers. There are a number of third-party content providers that offer content you can brand as your own. They write it. You brand it. Use your logos. Even lay it out in-house so it matches your own in-house style. However, as with anything else, not all purchased content is the same. For PSPs and MSPs, content should be 1) industry-specific, 2) reflect your company’s individual expertise and business focus, and 3) offer solid, useful information but not be text-heavy.

For example, I write the content for Great Reach Communications’ Market Builder and 1:1 Messenger programs. In the seven or so years I’ve worked with them, there has been a very clear trend. E-mail articles and blog content has always been short, but especially for print, the text is getting shorter and the graphics are getting more prominent.The print newsletters are now featuring shorter, pithier articles and standalone graphics with relevant data bytes. Readers can scan the page and get the main points very quickly. This increases the chances that the newsletter actually gets read.

2. Third-party providers . . . a la YOU. When you purchase third-party content, it’s yours. That means you can tweak the content to suit your company’s unique niche or perspective.

Clients of third-party providers will often use the purchased content as base, then add to it with their own data, metrics, resources, and case studies to create custom newsletters for less than they can write from scratch. As another example, I sell brandable white papers on the best practices of digital printing, personalized (1:1) printing, Web-to-print, QR Codes, and so on. Many printers will purchase them as templates, then I will do an interview with one or more people at the company to  customize the content. I will use that time to replace generic examples with their own case studies, their own perspectives, and their own technology.

3. Tap into your suppliers.  Many suppliers develop white papers and other content that you can brand as part of the value they offer as a supplier to you. Look not just to press suppliers, but software vendors, as well. Even if they don’t offer content you can brand as your own, you can often distribute it as a resource. They will often have case studies and white papers you can draw from or cite in your materials.

Contact your sales rep and peruse what your hardware and software vendors have available on their websites, then you can reference the highlights in your blog, social media, and other communications. If you see something you want to use verbatim, ask the company permission to do so. More often than not, you’ll find the answer is yes. You’ll often see at the bottom of blog posts and magazine articles “reprinted from . . .” and the original source. With permission, you can do it, too!

This industry’s need for content is voracious. Don’t think you have to write everything yourself. If you can, that’s great. If you can’t, there are resources to help you.

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6 Responses to “3 Places to Get Content for Blogs, White Papers, and Other Content Marketing”

  1. Jim Olsen Says:

    Hi Heidi: Nice unabashed promo :-)

    Well done.

  2. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Says:

    Mea culpa, but we all do it sometimes.

    At the same time, there is a real issue here too. I have written for this industry for the past 20+ years, but in the past 12 months, there has been a huge increase in requests for custom and customized content for marketing purposes. Everybody wants (and needs) content, but few people seem to know where to get it.

    I do the overwhelming majority of my content-development work for private companies these days. That’s a huge change from even a few years ago when I did most of my writing for publications. Everybody is doing content marketing, and there is only so much content to go around. Purchasing third-party and customizing just makes sense.

    U.S. Copyright Law allows quoting and referencing of third-party materials, but many people don’t know you can do it (or how to do it). Repurposing vendor content may or may not be something printers know how to do. Purchasing third-party content and customizing to make it “yours” is non-intuitive.

    What seems obvious to us in the content business isn’t necessarily obvious to someone else.

  3. Patrick Whelan Says:

    Great info and appreciated the mention. Bottom line is that content creation should NOT be the reason printers fail at marketing. It’s too easy to access. Commitment to execute is what is most needed.

  4. Joe Manos Says:

    Agree with all of the posts! Great work.

    Let’s not lose site of the fact that how content is consumed by your prospects and customers is an important consideration and if you are going to be relevant you need to have an ongoing process in place, and technology (automated delivery system) has to be a part of your program.

  5. Greg Nash Says:

    Thank you for the post. I have one question. Do I understand you correctly by saying if I give credit where credit is due I can re post on my site?

  6. Heidi Tolliver-Walker Says:

    Not reposting in its entirety. There are laws set up for what is called “fair use” of other companies’ material as long as proper attribution is given. Up to 10% of a work may be used for non-commercial purposes (in other words, you can’t slap someone else’s content on a t-shirt and sell it).

    I do this all the time in my posts. I mention statistics, quote from market research, and pull very short sections from print or online articles, then I give appropriate attribution somewhere in the post.

    You can repost content in its entirety if permission is granted. If so, then you simply add “reprinted from” and the full attribution at the bottom of the post. I see this done all the time. It’s very common.