A strong contributed content program can generate serious value for your client, but it requires you to constantly come up with new ideas for guest articles and pitches. As someone who manages several contributed content programs, I’ve learned that the best way to consistently get strong topics is to come up with more ideas than you’ll need, have your client review them, and keep the ones they like. Often, you’ll get other ideas from the discussion, but it’s critical to have something to put in front of the client first.
This puts a lot of pressure on you, as the PR person, to come up with topic ideas on your own. Inevitably, you will hit a slow month with no news from your clients to tie into and you’ll be forced to pull ideas for guest articles out of your magic PR hat. You do have one of those, right?
To help you out, here are five ideas for contributed content that you might not have thought of before.
Big events in your client’s industry?
Get one of your SME’s take on a major event in their industry. For example, if it’s a security company SME, have him or her analyze the latest major data breach and offer some key takeaways. If it’s a networking company, dissect the latest Wi-Fi protocol under development. If it’s an IoT or gadget company, get their opinion on the most popular gizmo introduced at CES. In short, pick a topic that’s already getting media attention, and have your client use their expertise to explain or analyze it.
Review an industry event they are attending
If your client is going to a trade show or industry event, have an executive take some photos and write up his or her experience post-show. Many vertical outlets will publish these (especially if your client can offer opinions and analysis on top of reporting on the event), particularly if the publication don’t have a reporter attending the event in person. With shrinking budgets at media outlets, that’s pretty common.
Find an employee with an interesting backstory
Is one of your client’s engineers a self-taught coder with an awesome open-source project on the side? Does one of the executives have an interesting life story or did that executive make a dramatic career change? What does the CEO do in his or her free time that you might not expect? Plenty of business and entrepreneurship pubs will publish guest articles from leaders who have unique or interesting life experiences that shape their approach to business. Find one of these people at your client and get them writing!
Ask what they are hearing from their customers
Your client’s salespeople have a huge amount of industry knowledge because they are the ones talking to customers day in and day out. Ask them about the biggest complaints or feature requests they are getting from their customers and leads, then put together an article for an industry pub based on that information. This can be a great way to get material for an article that isn’t directly promotional of your client’s products or services but is still closely related to their area of expertise.
Write a how-to guide
In tech PR, the best contributed articles are the ones that teach readers how to solve a problem. Ask one of your client’s SMEs to write a how-to guide for solving a problem they have had to deal with in their day-to-day job. Alternatively, get their take on how to fix a common problem in their industry. For example, maybe the CEO of your startup client figured out a new way of putting together a PowerPoint that was really helpful in VC meetings. Maybe the CTO developed a method to use the company’s network monitoring product to help manage IoT device rollouts. Or a security analyst made a new tool to track malware payments. Find out what your SME’s cool new projects are and have them write a about it.