Creating valuable content consistently can be exhausting especially without a large team. Without a large team, it is almost impossible to keep up with the pace without burning out.
From creating content, reaching out to others, replying to emails, connecting with readers, updating your social media accounts, there are a lot of daily tasks to wear you out.
But you shouldn’t. You should be employing a much more advanced and streamlined process in achieving all your goals.
I’m talking about collaboration.
By collaborating with other people in your industry, you can create better content, build valuable relationships with industry experts, and streamline your content marketing strategy.
In this guide, I’ll walk you through how to approach collaborating with content marketing. Not only that, but you’ll also learn some of the most effective forms of content marketing collaboration that will generate incredible ROI for your business.
However, before we dive in,
What is Content Marketing Collaboration?
Content marketing collaboration is the act of combining resources, assets, funds, and experience with another company to attain common marketing goals. This form of marketing can be likened to a symbiotic relationship where both parties benefit.
With content marketing collaboration, your accomplishment could be more tremendous than what you could achieve on your own simply because you’re leveraging your collaborators’ resources and audience.
However, to ensure that your collaboration brings value to you and your collaborators, you need to ensure that everything else is in play. First of all, you need to create a list of the brands or influencers you believe will make awesome collaborators.
Whenever you’re considering collaborators, you should look out for the ones with a strong online presence. Not only that, but they must also be trustworthy and their audience must overlap with your own audience.
You should make sure you exclude direct competitors from your list. Instead, your focus should be on brands that complement your own business.
The next line of action is to contact the brands on your list to see if they will love to collaborate with your company. When reaching out, it is advisable to have a couple of collaboration ideas prepared. However, let them know that you’re open to new ideas.
Why is Collaborative Content Marketing Important?
Collaborative content marketing can be of huge benefit to your brand. However, to not overwhelm you, I’ve downsized these benefits thereby reviewing the four top ones.
To create better content
Let’s start with this. You definitely need amazing content to grow your business. And creating content is expensive and time-consuming.
By collaborating with another brand, you’re combining every resource at your disposal to create better content assets. These types of content add value to collaborators, and your audience.
Also, by teaming up with brands or influencers, you’re coming together to create some more high quality than what you’ve done before.
A better example is hosting a podcast or a webinar. Definitely, you need amazing people to co-host your webinar.
To Drive Traffic
Aside from joining forces to create something better, content marketing collaboration is another amazing way to get targeted traffic to your website.
Instead of relying on your own network base only for content promotion, you can leverage your partner’s network as well when they share the content assets you created together on their social media, newsletter, or blog.
The case of the webinar will also be a perfect example. Both you and your collaborator will be sharing the webinar with your audience. And that leads to more attendance.
Build valuable relationships
Partnering up with brands and influencers is a great way to develop valuable relationships with them. This relationship can open doors for amazing opportunities in the future.
Just as your network determines your net worth, the same is true in the content marketing industry. Who you know can actually influence your result. Instead of working alone, you can leverage a collaborator network for your business and brand.
It saves time and resources
Collaboration is a joint work. The two parties involved have to contribute to the success of the collaboration. Rather than bearing all the expenses, you would be sharing it together with your collaborator.
The task will be delegated between you and your collaborators therefore you don’t need to do everything all by yourself. Not only that, but you and your partners will also split the resources needed to create content assets.
To Widen and Increase Brand Reach
With collaboration, you can reach a larger audience as you’ll leverage on your competitors’ network. You’ll be able to reach potential customers given your collaborators’ audience overlap with yours.
Step-by-Step Guide on Collaborative Content Marketing
If you want to collaborate with partners, you need to do it the right way. While there are different approaches you can take, your collaboration content marketing strategy should revolve around the following:
The first step to any successful collaboration is solid research. You need to gather as much information about who you want to collaborate with.
What are they up to? Do they plan to launch new projects soon? What are their core values? Researching will give you an insight into this information.
After you have gotten enough information about them, you need to make the first big move and connect with them. If they are active on social media, follow them, and drop genuine comments on their posts. You can also share some of their posts on your profile.
Doing all these will show that you are interested in their business.
The next point of action is to send a friendly outreach to them via email. In your email, you should include how you intend to collaborate with them.
However, your outreach shouldn’t be all about what your brand stands to gain alone. Make sure you’re offering as much beneficial to your collaborators too. When you are reaching out don’t forget to tell that you’re open to brainstorm new ideas.
Organize the Collaboration
To be effective in your content management collaborations, you need to have all your proposed collaborations captured on a great tracking system. This will help you stay organized and safe.
To be frank, staying organized when collaborating with others can be overwhelming. Sometimes, I lose track of what to do next to keep the collaboration working.
As times go now, you need to automate most of the major things you’ve done in your first collaboration. This will eventually make things easier and you certainly do not have to reinvent the wheels.
Examples of Collaborative Content Marketing
Although there are many types of collaborative content marketing strategies out there, we are going to be looking at the major 8 ways that have been able to get incredible results.
Alongside the content marketing strategies, I would be giving successful examples of collaborative content marketing
1. Guest Posting
This is by far one of the most effective forms of collaborative content marketing. Guest posting involves contributing to a blog or publication that’s not yours. This is a great way to reach more audience, get your name out there.
Publications need high-quality content. In return, your brand will receive more exposure and links. Guest posting the right way can drive traffic to your website. Aside from driving traffic to your website, it helps you:
- Piggyback on authoritative websites to build your online reputation
- Generate quality backlinks to your website
- Position yourself as an industry thought leader.
- Generate social media shares
- Generate quality leads
- Get more targeted eyeballs to your website
For your guest posting efforts to yield these above results, you need to be very strategic and guest post on authoritative websites with an audience that overlaps with yours. Also, you should ensure they have a high domain authority and strong social media presence.
Before you send in your pitch, take the time to go through the blog. Take note of things like:
- The kind of post they publish (How-Tos or Listicles, or Ultimate Guides)
- The average word count of their popular posts
- Their writing style
- Contributor guidelines (If there any)
After then, brainstorm some blog topics that will be the right fit and reach out to an authority blog. When you’re reaching out, make sure you contact the blog editor or content manager. This will produce a better result than sending your pitch to a generic email like “email@example.com” or using the contact form.
You can get editors’ emails on a blog’s about us or contact pages or by using tools like Email Hunter or Nora Roberts.
Rather than going for small blogs, you would have more success pitching for top industry blogs.
However, you shouldn’t get cozy over high industry blogs. A blog that has high engagement is better off than a top industry blog with no engagement.
Not some mere praise, Stream-Seo has one of the best communities with very high engagement. And this is a result of the amazing content. Just as most of the posts on Stream-SEO have more than 100 comments, this kind of engagement would yield great results.
Bamidele Onibalusi is a perfect example. He hits guest blogging hard. Upon launching his blog, Onibalusi did a massive guest blogging campaign on different industry blogs. And the result is breathtaking. Within a year, he grew his blog and freelance writing business to making over $5000 per month. This is amazing for a blog under a year.
His strategy is to target high profile blogs with high authority.
If you want to get a lot of guest blogging opportunities, you’d need to outsource the process.
To scale guest posting, you’d need to hire freelance writers and also outsource the outreach process.
This would mean more expenses on your side. However, the result is fast. You’d achieve what would have taken you 3 years within a year.
This type of collaborative content marketing involves conducting in-depth interviews with industry experts or brand representatives. Interviewing experts enable you to create valuable assets for your readers simply by leveraging the experts’ knowledge.
Pulling off interviews with authorities requires you to be very strategic. You need to look for industry experts that will complement your brand. If you’re just starting, you should focus more on people within your network as they will most likely agree to be interviewed.
Asking someone you don’t know for an interview may seem like too much of an ask. For you to get a better result, it is advisable to start building a relationship with them.
Follow them on social media, comment on their blog posts, or subscribe to their newsletters and reply to their email. After a while, you can send a brief email stating your intention to interview them. Upon agreement, do more in-depth research on them and compile a list of questions to ask
Most of your interviewees will most likely share your final piece with their audience to position themselves as a thought leader.
The weekly interview Ryan Robinson does on his blog, Side Hustle Project is a great example. Rather than just writing the regular posts, Ryan made a commitment to interviewing amazing entrepreneurs on his blog.
And the result is amazing. Not only did he build a loyal audience, but Ryan’s interviews also got him a lot of mention on popular blogs plus links to his blog. The interviews generated more editorial links than an average post on his blog. And this kind of result is obtained from collaboration.
3. Expert Roundup
Simply put, an expert roundup is a type of blog post that features contributions by different experts on a particular topic. These contributions will be optimized in a way that’s easy to read and process.
With expert roundups, you can gain insight from multiple industry experts and also position your brand as the thought leader at the same time. Not only that, but it’s also a smart way to get quality web traffic.
How successful your roundup effort will be is mostly determined by some major factors. One of such factors is how relevant your roundup topic is to your industry. You can simply validate a topic by asking your readers or visiting groups or forums where your ideal readers hang out.
After you’ve validated your topic, look for industry experts that will be interested in talking about it. Make sure they have a strong online presence and that their audience overlaps with yours. And send personalized outreach to them.
If you’re looking for someone to organize an expert roundup for your blog, I recommend this website.
Podcasting is yet another form of content marketing collaboration. By interviewing thought leaders in your industry on your podcast, you get to add value to your audience and at the same time build a relationship with them. Also, your listeners will enjoy the first-hand experience with you and your guest.
However, you must feature the right kind of guest. With the right guest, you can add value to your listeners and double your reach by leveraging on their network.
But unless your podcast has tons of subscribers, you may not have tons of volunteered guests who want to be interviewed. So in order to get guests on to your podcast, you will need to reach out to them and more importantly give them enough reason to join you on an episode. Also, you will have greater success pitching industry leaders who are not popular in your niche. As your podcast grows, you can move up the rank.
Before you reach out to someone you’ll like to have on your blog, make sure you’ve done your research on them to consider what their interest is in. In the course of your research, you may need to tweak your proposed topic to fit their preference. But make sure you have your audience in mind when doing this.
A perfect example is the marketing school podcast hosted by Neil Patel and Eric Siu.
Neil Patel is a renowned and well known digital marketing expert. Likewise, Eric Siu also runs a six-figure digital marketing agency. First of all, they both own their separate digital marketing agency, which could have been a conflicting collaboration.
But it isn’t. They know the power of two. Instead, their businesses are growing and receiving more attention thanks to the podcast.
Eric Siu and Neil Patel have both appeared in different interviews and digital marketing conferences together.
And this result can be traced back to their joint work on the Marketing school podcast.
5. Joint Webinar Series
Here is yet another way to collaborate with ideal brands or influencers to achieve a common interest. Before you conduct a joint webinar with your partner, you should have a clearly defined end game that will benefit each party. Also, you need to have clear cut roles in the webinar.
Lastly, you both should be particular about the problem you all want to solve for your audience and more importantly the stage of the customer journey which they are.
Navid Moazzez had a breakthrough with virtual summits. Virtual summits are similar to webinars. After months of publishing great content on his blog with little result, Navid Moazzez achieved a great milestone by launching his first virtual summit, where he collaborated with other entrepreneurs.
The Virtual summit led to him making his first $20,000 from the summit. All of this is from co-hosting a webinar with other amazing minds. And you can always do the same.
While hosting a webinar isn’t expensive, you wouldn’t still be doing this alone. Although you might be the one bearing more of the expenses, the potential is amazing.
For hosting a webinar, you need a webinar platform, webcam, and your co-hosts or guests.
For Navid, he interviewed over 60 entrepreneurs and the interviews were what resulted in a paid webinar. And the attendees were happy to pay for it because webinars work perfectly for conversion.
Here’s the interesting part. There’s no better time to host a webinar than now. The present global epidemic, coronavirus, has made a lot of brands get into webinar hosting.
Instead of hosting real-life conferences, you can do the same with an online webinar.
Ebook is yet another valuable asset. Instead of creating an ebook alone, you can collaborate with a brand and combine assets to create something even better.
An example of this is Go for Growth, a guide that Upwork & Evernote created for small businesses that are struggling to scale their business. The ebook positioned both companies as effective tools that help to scale small businesses without any hassle. For Upwork, it’s a platform for outsourcing some work for fast growth, while Evernote is a tool for organizing and jotting down ideas.
7. Quote and Mention
This simply involves the inclusion of relevant quotes to back up the content marketing assets. Majorly, you’re to take quotes relevant to your content from industry experts. With these quotes, you will be able to strengthen your content more.
After you’ve hit publish, you can reach out to them to notify them that you mentioned them in one of your articles or ebooks. Hopefully, they will share it with their audience therefore you can leverage.
Closely related to that is asking for an original quote from the influencer. This is different from using any pre-existing quotes.
8. Case studies
By collaborating with your customers, case studies open the door to building a long-term relationship with your audience.
With a case study, you can reflect on your customer’s major challenges and how they were able to solve them with your business. It is used to reflect how the collaborations between customers and your business have been beneficial to them.
This could be that your business helped existing customers save time or made more money.
To create a case study, you should first determine an objective. After that, find the right candidate, make sure you ask the right kind of questions.
Instead of looking outside for an example, Stream-SEO makes a perfect example for case studies.
Servando Silva has a lot of case studies published on this blog. Both guest contributions and his personal experience.
And the result. Most of the case studies were received well by everyone. Some of the case studies have more than 150 comments and have been shared numerous times.
Here’s an example, the on-page SEO case study with 75 comments so far.
However, it’s wise to note that the case studies were not a result of collaboration. But if they were a result of collaboration, it would receive a more massive promotion – I presume.
Marketing Tools to Organize Your Collaboration
I would be frank here. Managing collaboration especially when you have a lot of collaborators can be overwhelming.
While you’re working with one of your collaborators, you might get emails from your other collaborators on other ideas to implement.
And if you also have a team of freelancers you’re working with, you need to keep the communication going smoothly without any disturbance of your daily tasks.
At this junction, I would be giving you the essential tools for effective collaboration.
Google sheet is a free tool that saves me a lot. I use Google sheets for compiling my collaboration ideas.
From Google sheet, I share my sheet with my collaborators, and they get to see all I’m doing as we progress on.
Google sheet is what I use to track my guest post opportunities and outreach. I have columns to track the date of outreach for each site, a column for the contact address of the editor, and then follow-up emails, etc.
You can add as many columns as you need to track. I also track other things like deadlines to submit the guest post.
Monday.com is a tool built for effective collaboration with other people and companies. Monday.com is a project management tool that you’d need if you’re managing a content marketing project.
With Monday, you can add collaborators and assign them their respective tasks. Although it’s a paid tool, it’s worth the investment.
Slack / Chanty
The communication process for emails is quite long. You’d need to send an email and then await a reply for several hours if not days.
However, I strongly advise you to use Slack for effective communication. I use Slack to communicate with my team and collaborators. From Slack, you can integrate Google sheets.
Another alternative you can use is Chanty a great tool for team collaboration too. You can have a group discussion on Chanty and private discussions.
Any of the options you use will pretty much do the job.
Skype is also a communication tool. However not for a team. However, what I use Skype for is to connect other influencers and chat.
Also, Skype is a great alternative for interviewing influencers. It works fine and doesn’t come at any cost.
Just the same way you make a call, you can organize interviews on Skype too. I have used Skype for an interview before and their sound quality is okay.
Final Thoughts: Content Marketing is a Friendly Match
Thinking of marketing as a competition will end you in trouble. Definitely, it’s a competition. But your response to marketing matters a lot.
Take it easy on marketing, and collaborate with other marketers for amazing results. As a content marketer, you already have a lot of things to keep you busy, from creating content, building links, and many others, you can get lost (read: you might lose your mind if you’re taking on too many tasks).
Rather than doing it all alone, I strongly advise collaborating with other content marketers.
In the end, if you want to make a big hit with collaboration, you’d need to automate and outsource some tasks too.
Over to You
Are you giving collaboration a trial? I would love to hear about your experience with collaboration.
And also let me know if you have any questions about getting started.
About the Author
Akinduyo Eniola is a content marketer and writer that specialize in the Saas niche. He writes about business models and marketing on his blog, GurusCoach. If you need amazing content, you can check out my hire page.
Connect with him on Twitter