One way to keep your B-to-B content fresh is to inject the information and opinions from experts related to your product, service or industry. Writers call these their “sources,” and developing these relationships can inject new life into your website, blog, e-newsletter and articles.
Look for sources who are regular users of the product or service.
If you are a manufacturer, an expert doesn’t always have to be a CEO, engineer or marketing executive. A source can also be a customer or dealer who has experience with the product in the field. If your company is in the business of renting machinery, the opinions of a machine operator or a construction project manager would be very valuable to a potential customer. Each source will have a different perspective on the experience of renting a machine. Varied experiences will add credibility to your message. Customers love reviews from regular people. Salespeople can help identify potential candidates.
Look for sources in a business related to yours.
Your topics don’t always have to revolve directly around your business. A moving company might ask a professional organizer for moving tips that could form the basis of a blog post, checklist or whitepaper. A commercial real estate advisor might ask a lawyer to provide information about lease transactions.
You can find sources for a wide variety of topics using a free service like HARO (Help a Reporter Out) to identify experts in particular fields willing to answer questions for an article. PR Newswire has a similar service for journalists. You can also identify like-minded bloggers using tools like Technorati or Twitter. Consider asking an expert to write a guest post on your blog.
Look for sources through industry associations and publications.
Industry associations and b-to-b publications are typically tremendous sources of information. If you see an article you like, ask the editor for permission to republish it in your e-newsletter, on your website or in a blog post. (There may be a fee.) Search the news sections of an association website for press releases highlighting industry research and to identify potential interview sources.
Look for sources among your strategic partners.
Your strategic business partners may provide content that your customers find interesting. In fact, they may already be creating that information for their own customers. Explore content sharing ideas with other businesses and industry trade groups. For example, a website developer might provide information on the latest updates to Google for any number of firms with small business clients. I know I often share my marketing articles, blog posts and presentations with a local printer.
Finding credible and intelligent sources for your online content can go a long way toward building your company’s online reputation. If you have a large audience, sources may be happy to provide information for its publicity value. If not, you may have to work harder to get what you need. Start by building relationships with industry movers and shakers. One way to do this is to comment on their blogs, “like” them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. And of course, make every effort to meet in person. However, be realistic in your expectations and let them know how their business might benefit from the relationship.