What a high-volume, high-quality production model might look like if you published very little of it on your own site…
By Tracey Wallace
If technology buyers (i.e. me and you!) still use Google search on their buying journey, but don’t trust content from B2B brands––where does that leave content marketing teams?
I have a lot of thoughts on that but one in particular that I’ve been thinking about for years and haven’t yet brought to fruition, and I want to know if any of you have:
A partner content network.
Now, when I first started in content marketing, it was common for a partner company to hand over a blog, and I’d have to publish it exactly as it was––no edits at all. This didn’t work out well. While partners felt good about the published content, no one saw it.
- My sales team didn’t use it.
- My social team didn’t promote it.
- And it wasn’t driving any organic traffic.
It was a nice pat on the back for partner marketing and strategic busienss development teams––something to put as a line item in their deals. Overtime, I was able to convince my teams that this partner content wasn’t effective––and that other things could be.
That’s when we started doing bigger content plays to produce online conferences, go on road-shows, and produce in-depth research my lil’ ol content team wouldn’t have been able to afford on our own.
Those pieces were far more successful because two brands came together to produce something useful, and were able to distribute it further and wider than each would have been able to do on their own. That’s a partnership sweet spot.
But for several years now, I’ve thought back to my early content career days. Coming from a journalism background, I was always interested in starting a newsroom of sorts, turning my B2B brand into a network of its own.
That never materialized (and perhaps rightly so), but what if I was just thinking about it wrong. What if I created a partner content network? Here’s how it would work:
- I hire a team of expert, seasoned writers (And/or have them on speed dial from a freelance perspective)
- I cozy up with my partner team, and offer my team’s writing services up. That’s right, my team with our high standards will write content for our partners’ blogs––on any topic they want.
- We get backlinks, of course, and get to lean heavily on our tool as the preferred vendor wiuthin the content. But otherwise, its thought leadership content that a lot of our partners wouldn’t be able to produce on their own––due to time and/or financial constraints.
- Over on my own blog, we’d publish less––align content to campaigns primarily, or customer stories, but otherwise, we’d simply update the trove of content we’ve already produced, and lean on URL age, updates, and a partner network of backlinks (good ones, y’all, come on) to help us improve search rankings.
This strategy build stronger relationships with our partners, yes. It can increase our position in SERPs, yes. But more––it increases the amount of seemingly 3rd party content on the internet that reinforces my company’s beliefs, point of view, and overall moat.
- What if we’ve had this wrong all along in trying to drive traffic to ourselves first?
- What if we’ve needed to be putting ourselves last––driving traffic through our partners and their networks of honed expertise before leaning so heavily into our own content operations?
- What if we had a partner content network that was the tide that rose, not just part of the tide that rises?
So, that’s my thinking––and I’m curious to see how it evolves as 2024 plans and strategies shape up.
In the meantime, a question for all of you readers:
- Have you done this?
- Have you seen anyone who has?
That is––are there content teams out there who have produced content in bulk for partners, rather than their own site? Is so, who––and how did it work?