There are times when content planning can go a little off the rails – a holiday emptying the office, an uptick in demand kicking production into overdrive, or even the content manager taking a vacation. When hiatuses are necessary in the world of webcomics, an illustrator will usually reach out to peers in the industry to have them draw “guest posts” to help fill in the gaps. These guest posts are often lighthearted, sometimes take a good-natured jab or two at the original illustrator in their absence, and tell tangent stories about the main characters that won’t affect the overall story arc. This community outreach technique can easily be incorporated into your (non-illustrated) marketing plans.
Build Relationships with Potential Content Sources
Experts are always looking to increase the strength of their topic authority, so if you offer them a chance to show off their skills, it’s likely to pique their interest. If you decide to go this route, make sure you’re offering them something of value – an agreement to promote their books or seminars at a later date, an invitation to present at a trade show for compensation, and so on. Leading your request with data on the traffic your blog receives and an offer to peek at your metrics after their post goes live could also be considered a fair exchange. If you routinely work with a consultant on your marketing plans, consider asking them to pen a few evergreen posts as part of their contract with your company.
Ask The Audience
Another option to keep up with posting in a content gap is to ask a simple, straightforward question and detail the responses received. Interesting stories tend to do best here – if you are a delivery company, asking your drivers to detail the most challenging delivery they’ve ever worked on would fit nicely. If you sell products, ask around the office for everyone’s favorite products – this not only gives your reading public a peek at the more “human” side of your operation, it also helps highlight products that might not be getting the attention they deserve. Web comics will occasionally fall back on technique posts to fill non-strip week space as well. Consider taking your readers on a tour of the non-proprietary portions of your warehouse or office to give them a look behind the scenes, and allow them to see who’s working on their order – just make sure to tell your employees to dress appropriately if pictures will be taken.
Content sourcing can be a bit of an uphill battle, especially as a blog matures and gains readership. Discussing your needs with your network is one way to keep things fresh and prevent your content marketing plans from repeating themselves. The worst a potential contributor could say is no, so you have nothing to lose but opportunity. Take a (funny) page out of the web comic playbook and don’t be afraid to hand over the reins once in a while when it comes to your blog.
Writer Bio: Delany M is a freelance writer available for projects at WriterAccess.