It’s true. Content is king. But content all by itself is like a tree falling in the woods. No one hears (or reads) it.
Distribution is what crowns content “king.”
Many pet-positive brands like yours are creating and publishing superb content to educate, enlighten and entertain pet parents, while positioning their brand as an expert resource.
And savvy content publishers establish partners to increase their reach exponentially.
Publishing content on a small scale can be disappointing when you don’t get the engagement your awesome content deserves. Also, for smaller companies, creating and publishing content can distract you from other important business initiatives like manufacturing, servicing clients, selling, quality control and more.
And of course, developing quality content can be costly—especially if you have limited marketing resources. You need experts, writers, editors, and digital, print or broadcast platforms to deliver the content goods.
So what’s a small business to do?
Establish content partnerships.
Simply put, content partnerships allow you to utilize another person, company or platform’s content, community and possibly their commerce channels.
In this way, brands of all shapes and sizes develop mutually beneficial, strategic content partnerships to leverage each other’s assets.
Take a look around and you’ll see it happening everywhere. For the pet industry, one of the most successful and popular partnerships is the “Dear Kitten” video series. A 2014 joint venture between Purina and Buzzfeed, it generated 18 million views on YouTube in less than six months!
Compared to a control group, Nielsen research indicates that Purina saw a 58% lift when people exposed to the video were asked, “How likely are you to consider buying wet cat food for your cat?” So, not only did “Dear Kitten” go viral in a way we all dream of, but it resulted in buyers as well.
Outside our furry industry, strategic content partnerships allow for mutual distribution, exposure, and even revenue sharing. You can bone up on what the big brands are doing by taking a look at the partnerships between YP and Yelp!, Gillette and Thrillist, Netflix and Wired, and more.
The best news about all this is that you don’t have to be a gorilla-sized brand to develop valuable content partnerships! And those engagements don’t have to be complicated or costly.
Content partnering in its simplest form happens when a post on your company Facebook page is “shared” by another brand, a pet lover, a retailer, etc.
To take that up a notch, strategically pairing with a publisher of credible pet content can allow you exposure you’d not have otherwise, at a reduced rate.
So how do you choose a content partner?
When considering partnerships, cast a wide net and think creatively. Pet and veterinary trade platforms and printed magazines might be the first things that come to mind when you think of publishers. But bloggers, influencers, retailers and many larger, more established brands are publishers, too.
It’s important to choose partners wisely because the objective is to leverage another platform’s strengths, while having something of equal value to offer them in exchange. That value could be in dollars or in trade of equal value.
Here are some questions to ask yourself or your marketing team to help you identify likely partners.
- What other brands in your niche publish content that dovetails nicely with your brand?
- What are YOUR specific business goals?
- What other platforms have similar, but non-competing goals?
- Who has an audience just like the one you want to reach?
- Whose brand would benefit from what your brand does, has or can deliver?
- What can you offer that would enhance the content they’re pushing to people you want to connect with?
Are you seeing any common threads in your answers? Once you have a good handle on how you can help each other, reach out to your dream partner(s)! Speak to them about their goals and your own. Determine their needs and nice to haves. And then develop a content partnership plan that’s mutually beneficial to both of you.
Have you ever formed a content partnership? What piece of advice would you give to others?
If you’re thinking about content partnerships, what questions do you have about the process? Tell me in the comments!