Are you ready to create an awesome piece of content that will take your blog and organic search rankings to the next level?
We recently attended an awesome webinar hosted by Jason Miller, the Senior Manager of Content and Social at LinkedIn. The webinar was called “Creating Your First Big Rock” and covered creating and promoting what's known as everything from "big rock," "trailblazing," and "home-run" to "marquee" content—you know, that one piece of content that puts you on the map.
The webinar was chalk-full of information and tips for content marketers and business owners alike.
Here’s Jason’s eight-step process, replete with key takeaways and screenshots!
Step One: Finding the Right Content to Own
First and foremost, you have to know what pain points your target audience has and therefore what you need to write about.
Jason recommends that instead of starting with buyer personas, content creators should kick off their project with keyword research. If you use Moz, they have a great keyword tool built into their software. If you don’t, check out Ubersuggest and Bulk Auto Suggest to get some great keyword recommendations.
You can also decide on a topic from conducting customer interviews and/or surveys, from social listening, Linkedin groups, your sales department and SDRs, product team, verticals, and/or “geos” (geographically-specific problems/pain points).
Step Two: Create the Framework
Before sitting down to write, you need to plan your course of action. Jason suggests the following framework:
- Outline: Create an outline of your eBook, article, white paper, tip sheet, etc.
- Socialize: Tell others what you’re working on and gather information from multiple sources.
- Share: Share your outline with others within your company to give input.
- Feedback: Collect feedback from the people you’ve selected.
- Set a Deadline: Set a strict deadline for collaborators to get you feedback. If it’s not in by that day, push ahead without it.
Step Three: Write the Big Rock
Here are some things to keep in mind during the actual writing process:
- Don’t make it an instruction manual. People would rather go to YouTube for that content.
- Use a conversational tone.
- Pull in supplemental data from different sources and fact check.
- Run it through an editor for grammar, spelling, and to flush out unfinished ideas.
Step Four: Invite Influencers
It’s important to include influencer input in your marquee content.
First, identify industry experts. Then use a five-question interview that includes three questions that are the same for everyone and two that are unique to the expert. After you have your responses, pull out quotes and sound bites from them.
Lastly, before you release your beautiful piece of content to the public, give the influencers who contributed an exclusive preview of it (make sure to add something like an “exclusive preview” stamp on the cover and ask them not to share it with others).
Step Five: Launch Your Big Rock
When the time comes to launch your piece of content, launch it like a product. After all, you’ve invested a lot of time and money into it.
Use everything at your disposal to spread the word. This could include:
- Email: internal/within company and to employee advocates, customers, partners, influencers, press, etc.
- Blog (the mothership, as Jason calls it)
- LinkedIn InMail
- Company page
- Sponsored updates
- Add a link to your marquee content in your email signature (use a banner image)
Step Six: Carve Up the Turkey
Jason suggests that you think of your content as a left over Thanksgiving turkey (or any turkey, really).
Essentially, you utilize your turkey (your “big rock” piece of content) in as many ways possible by carving it up. You can carve it up in the form of infographics, blog posts, webinars, slide decks, videos, etc. and use it in your content marketing strategy.
Remember, your big rock is gated, so use these carved pieces as bait for people who might not want to give away their contact information just yet. This will help you stay top of mind, reinforce the value you provide, and persuade the hesitators to download your content (and become leads).
Step Seven: Keep the Thunder Rolling
Now that you’ve carved up and repurposed your content, don’t promote it once and then let it sit there. Keep promoting those carved bits and pushing your actual piece of content so that it reaches as many people as possible.
Check out this gant chart (in the form of a mixing board) that Jason’s team created to illustrate how they promote their marquee content:
Step Eight: Measure Success
Last but not least, it’s important to measure your results out of the gate—from when you first launch your content to the subsequent promotions you run.
Here’s a breakdown of how Jason’s big rock content performed:
Furthermore, here’s a checklist of the metrics you should be measuring:
Remember, the whole point of you creating this marquee content in the first place is to get higher quality leads, faster. If you’re not getting those leads, you need to reevaluate your process and identify what’s not working (and keep doing what is).
Ultimately, that trailblazing piece of content won’t only drive traffic and leads to your site, but will label you as the definitive source on that issue, increasing your organic search ranking.