“Look, I made this!”
Sharing things we create is a human compulsion that traces back to childhood. Whether you’re showing your mom a drawing so she can pin it up on the fridge, or linking social media followers to your latest blog post, it’s natural for people of all ages to proudly broadcast their creative output.
Therein lies the power of co-creation for content amplification. “If you want your content reach to be great, ask your community to participate.”
Let’s explore this approach to content collaboration from a B2B marketing perspective.
Why Co-create Content for B2B Marketing?
There are many benefits to collaborative content creation. TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden covered several in his writeup last year on winning at B2B influence with the magic of content co-creation. Among them:
- Incorporating the first-hand viewpoints of experts infuses greater authority and credibility to your content.
- Featuring various outside voices makes your content more relatable and accessible to varied audiences.
- Relevant influencers can inspire action and foster trust in unique ways.
These qualities all trace back to a core fundamental advantage of co-creation: it generates better and more resonant content. And that contributes heavily to the more easily-observable benefit we’ll focus on today: co-created content drives greater reach and engagement without needing to rely on paid boosting.
The influencer marketing campaign we partnered with monday.com to develop serves as a prime example. With a diverse team of influencers helping shape the content and sharing it out to their respective networks, the company surpassed its goal for social reach by an astounding 1,790%, driving more than 300,000 organic impressions on social media.
Maximizing Reach & Engagement with B2B Content Co-creation
Of course, content collaborations are not as simple as pushing a button. Taking the right strategic steps before, during, and after your B2B content co-creation initiative will make a vast difference in reach and engagement.
Make the Content Great
There are many tactics and techniques that can be activated to increase reach and engagement, but none are more important than simply creating awesome content that people are genuinely compelled to share.
Instead of asking “How can co-creation partners maximize the reach of this content?” start by asking “How can co-creation partners make this content incredible?” Tap their prime area of passion and expertise so that their distinct strengths are fully reflected.
Get Influencers and Co-creators Invested
If the extent of your co-creation approach is adding someone’s generic and extraneous insight on top of your completed content, solely for the purpose of shoehorning an influencer into the mix, those partners are not likely to feel the level of ownership that inspires them to enthusiastically share and amplify.
Two specific pointers to drive greater investment from influencers:
- Invite them to take part in the planning and shaping of the content, rather than asking for an add-on quote at the very end.
- Avoid the urge to push for product-focused or promotional contributions — people will be more motivated to share content if they feel it advances their reputation as a thought leader, as opposed to shilling a solution. (And audiences will find the content far more authentic.)
Make It Easy (and Valuable) to Share
Consider drafting social messages on behalf of your co-creators to make the process of amplifying as simple and effortless as possible for them. The key nuance here is to know these partners well enough to be able to create social copy that matches their voice, and to center your message on the content’s value to their audience, rather than its value to your company.
For example, if your influencer is Wile E. Coyote, you’ll get better results with the framing, “I recently shared my thoughts on what’s next in the future of trapping technology and desert ecology,” compared to “I joined a podcast to talk about why Acme brand products are great for dealing with pesky roadrunners.” Meep meep.
Involve Influencers that Bring Authority and Credibility by Proxy
One of the underrated motivators for influencers and co-creators to share content is what I like to call “authority by association.” In part this can stem from the brand itself — if you’ve built a respected and buzzworthy reputation, people in your industry will see value in having their names attached to your content — but also from the other co-creators.
Wile E. Coyote will be more inclined to share content he’s involved in if Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck also contributed. (Maybe not the Road Runner.) Or, to tie things back to real life, there’s the aforementioned monday.com campaign. Our roster of influencers included recognizable big names from the creative world, as well as up-and-comers who were extremely enthused to have their insights appear alongside the likes of Ann Handley and Minda Harts.
As a more personal example, a few years ago I was invited to write the Minnesota Twins chapter in the Baseball Prospectus 2018 annual. And while I was moved to promote the book in large part because it featured my writing and because Baseball Prospectus is a giant name in the realm of baseball media, I was extra-excited to spread the word because Nick Offerman (aka Ron Swanson) wrote the Cubs chapter. How cool is that?!
Plan for Continued, Ongoing Promotion
Given how much effort, time, and resources are often poured into large-scale content projects, it always astounds me how frequently the promotion plan basically entails sharing out a few links when the content goes live, and little else. Brands leave so much reach and utility on the table when they fall victim to Invisible Content Syndrome.
Think about ways you can extend the lifecycle of your content promotion and keep co-creators engaged for weeks rather than days. A few suggestions:
- Make timely updates to the content over time, giving influencers a prompt to re-share and highlight new value for their audience.
- Repurpose the content so they can share their portions in different ways (video, quote snippets, customized visuals, etc.) while linking back to the larger piece or asset, and space them out.
- Keep tagging co-creators on social media whenever you’re promoting the content, so it stays on their radar long after launch.
- Stay committed to mutual value. Continue to invest in your relationships with these influencers and co-creators, and promote their work on your own feeds when relevant to your audience.
Fuel Your B2B Marketing Reach with Influencer Co-creation
Our famous friend Jay Baer has famously stated that “content is fire, and social media is gasoline.” It’s a great way to describe the role that each plays in a marketing strategy, and I think it can easily be applied to co-creation as well. Selecting the right strategic partners to develop awesome content will start the fire, and taking smart steps to encourage promotion and sharing will help those flames rise high enough to be seen from miles around.