This article is sponsored by your friends at Dropbox

Content collaboration is a terrific way to improve the quality of your content, drive traffic and engage the expertise that hidden inside your organization and your industry.  The key to effective content collaboration that accomplishes your goals is to have a process and a platform that help to keep you focused and that make it easy for collaborators to deliver the content you’re asking for.

Today you’re going to learn how to find influencers to collaborate with and how to set up a system using Dropbox to brainstorm and collect all the information and keep it organized.

What is content collaboration

Content collaboration involves multiple people contributing their expertise and knowledge toward a piece of content or a content marketing project. Collaborating on content is a creative way to jump-start your inbound marketing because it enrolls other people and doesn’t require you to do all the content creation.

There three powerful reasons why content collaboration is a super cost-saving marketing strategy:

  1. Use resources productively.  Collaborating on content is a powerful inbound marketing strategy because it fills in the strength gaps that might be stopping you from generating as much content as you want or need to attract new customers.
  2. Add more creative solutions. When you add outside expertise to your content, you’ll automatically generate more creative ideas to problems that your audience is trying to solve.  Even if these solutions seem to contradict each other, your prospects will appreciate seeing all aspects and angles on a topic.
  3. Increase your reach and brand recognition.  Including influencers from around the industry, will give you exposure to a broader audience (new prospects) as well as building your brand awareness.  In other words, it’s free advertising to a new market.

Who to Include in Your Collaborative Content

Finding collaboration partners isn’t as overwhelming as it might seem.  Chances are that you’re within one call or email from topic experts who can really help you fill out your content calendar.

content collaboration people high fiving

In fact, research suggests that almost all B2C and 96% of B2B brands execute their content marketing program using primarily internal resources.

Internal experts

If you have employees or freelancers who help you run your business, you have access to content experts.  Most business owners assume that their employees don’t want to write articles (and that may be accurate) but remember, you’re not asking them to write an entire article, you’re asking them to answer a few questions and share their expertise with your audience.

Content Collaboration Tip for Internal Experts:
 Approach your employees or team members with the idea of adding some of their insights to your content.  See if any of them are interested in either writing content or answering specific questions for articles. Make it easy for internal experts to contribute their knowledge by outlining topics ahead of time.  For each topic, ask one specific question that your internal expert can answer either via email or on video.  For example: “What is your best tip for tracking your expenses? “

Customers

Customers are an often ignored source of expert content because you feel that they may not want to contribute, but you’d be surprised. Your customers would be honored to be featured in your marketing content.   Contributing and collaborating on your content actually gives your customers added exposure and promotion and if you make it easy for them, they’ll be happy to contribute.


Content Collaboration Tips for Customers:
Consider adding a “Featured Customers” or a “Customer Spotlight” series to your blog content.  Simply develop a series of questions that your customers can answer quickly and easily.  Here are some ideas:- What does your business do?
– What inspired you to start your business?
– Share your biggest win.
– What’s a risk you took that really paid off?
– One lesson you’ve learned the hard way. Make sure that you have lots of these questions to choose from so that customers can choose at least four questions they want to answer.  You can ask customers to contribute pictures for the post that you can include in the article.

Suppliers

Your audience would love to know what goes on behind the scenes of your operation and suppliers are a wonderful source of interesting knowledge about what makes your product or service so special.

Content CollaborationTips for Suppliers
: To create a list of suppliers with whom you want to partner on creating content, think about those suppliers who contribute something that adds that little extra zing to your product or service. One content idea is to take your audience “behind the scenes” of how your product or service is created.  For example, if you’re a salon or spa you can have the supplier explain the features of their product that contribute to healthy skin or hair.

Industry experts, journalists, and bloggers

Industry experts LOVE to share their knowledge and be quoted.  Not only that, but they will happily share your articles with their audience — and that expands YOUR reach.

Content Collaboration Tips for Industry Experts: Finding industry experts is not as difficult as you might think.  The first step is to know exactly who your ideal customers are, where they hang out and who influences them. Here’s a sneaky tip: Don’t just look for celebrities or people with lots of followers. Look for bloggers, journalists, authors and experts in your industry who are active and engaging on social media.  For example, they should be having conversations with their community on any of the platforms where they are active.  You’ll find that most influencers have a favorite platform.  So if you want to create video content, look for influencers who create a lot of video.

The key to successfully completing any content collaboration project is to consider who is involved in the collaboration process, what type of collaborative content you’re creating and then to select the appropriate tool for the job.

9 Easy to Start Content Collaboration Ideas

Most any type of content can be created by collaborating with others.  But it helps to have a short list of ideas to get your creative juices flowing about how you can add collaborative content to your content marketing strategy.

  1. Round Up Articles: Whenever you see an article with the headline “25 Experts Share …” that is a “roundup post”.  To create a roundup post, simply choose a topic and invite a group of experts to share their answers, advice, strategy or tip.

    How to create a roundup post: 1. Create a shared folder on Dropbox with your topic title and then use Dropbox Paper to work together and brainstorm a list of topics.
    2. Choose a hot topic or question relevant to your niche
    3. Inside the main folder, create an additional folder where experts can save their images and bios, call it (expert images and bios)
    4. Find experts on BuzzSumo – click on “influencer” search on topic
    5. Send a simple email asking them a question they can answer in under 15 minutes.
    6. Rather than having them respond to the email, include links to your Dropbox folders where they can leave their headshot, bio and response to your question.
    7. Send an email thanking them and including pre-written social shares that they can copy, paste, click
    8. Once you get enough answers, publish them all to your site
    9. Send outreach again to your experts and ask them to share your post  

  2. Reviews: Your audience LOVES reading reviews, especially if they come from people who are avid users of products, software or services.  For example, you could create a round up of book reviews; 34 Chiropractors Share Their Summer Reading List.
  3. Interviews and Podcasts: If you don’t like to write, a great type of content collaboration is doing interviews and podcasts.  You can create video interviews by recording webinars or Facebook LIVE interviews as well as private one-to-one interviews.  Convert those interviews to audio and you have a podcast.  Use the list you’ve created of influencers, employees and vendors and schedule them to appear on an interview or webinar with you.  Make the focus of your interview or podcast to entertain and educate your audience.  You can take the same topic ideas you used for articles and convert them to video or audio.
  4. Slideshows and videos: If you’ve reached out and collected tips, strategies or quotes from experts and put those into an article, why not take it a step further and convert that article into a slideshow or video.  With over 500 million (half a BILLION) people are watching video on Facebook every day, your collaboration is bound to pay off with more traffic and shares than an article alone.
  5. Social Media campaigns : Social sharing is much more effective when you enroll others to collaborate and share social posts.  After collecting your content from experts, employees and suppliers create a library of social media posts that include copy and images inside a Dropbox folder, then share the folder with the collaborators so they can easily cut, copy and post these social shares.  The less work collaborators have to do to create and share content, the more likely they are to share.
  6. Books: Collaborating on a book is a great way to put a book out without doing all the writing.  Simply pick your topic and then invite topic experts to contribute a chapter.  Most experts have existing articles and content that they can easily enhance and repurpose into a book chapter.  All you need to do is be the coordinator and the organizer. Create a shared folder in Dropbox, insert sub-folders or use that handy file-requests feature.
  7. White Papers and Case studies: If you’re in a highly technical business such as software or manufacturing, then white papers and case studies are content that your customers definitely want to see.  This is the ideal opportunity to enroll your vendors and customers to share their obstacles and challenges and how your product or service helped them.  The easiest way to collect this information is to create an outline with questions and interview selected customers and vendors.  Use Dropbox shared folders to store each interview so that you can easily share it with the folks you interviewed to check for accuracy.
  8. Courses, Workshops and Demos: Prospects love workshops and demos because it gives them very specific how-to information.  The key to developing great courses and demos is to get input form the people who are very close to the function of the product.  Consider asking customers who are power users to join you on the demo or the workshop to share exactly how they use your product or service.  This is even more powerful than a testimonial because it’s hands-on proof of actual application.
  9. Newsletters:  Nothing increases loyalty like a great newsletter.  The secret to a great newsletter is to include a wide variety of content.  One way to get that content is to curate content that your customers would appreciate from around the web.  Use tools like Feedly or Pocket to save and tag articles that you might want to use.  Another easy thing to do is to post your collaborated content such as customer spotlights on your blog and then insert those stories into your newsletter with a link to your blog.  This is a great way to drive traffic to content that may have already gotten lost in people’s streams.

Whew, I just gave you a lot of collaborated content ideas that could fill your content calendar for more than a year.  One easy way to get started is to pick just one of these ideas and implement it.  Work out the kinks and when you have a process that runs smoothly, take on another one.

 

Conclusion

I hope this article helped you step up your content collaboration game.

Now I’d like to turn it over to you:

What was your favorite resource from this guide? Or maybe you have an excellent tool, tip or strategy that you think I should add.

Either way, let me know by leaving a comment below right now.

 

 

This is a sponsored post for Dropbox. All opinions are my own.