Using White Papers and Adovcacy Reports to Build Web Traffic

By February 9, 2016Blog

Generating content for your website and social media channels might seem like a chore at first blush, but it doesn’t have to be “extra” work for your organization’s dedicated staff. There are several strategies for keeping the burden light while also producing rich content that serves your mission and can help to increase your users’ bonds with your organization. This post is the first in a series that will explore approaches for easing the content-production burden by mining existing workflows and work product to produce high-value content.

We’ll begin the series with the most obvious work product — white papers and advocacy reports that are already being produced in the normal course of doing business. Often great care and effort is taken to produce a tidy paper that ends up being a printed booklet or a downloadable PDF. These reports are often filled with valuable information and insight. In addition, a good deal of effort has been expended to generate a piece that is completely ready for prime time. This finished product may be distributed to lawmakers, advocates, or members and, finally, posted to your website — in some cases almost as an afterthought.

There is an amazing content opportunity here that is overlooked by many organizations. The common view is that posting that link and releasing the full report is the end of the line. In reality this should only be the beginning. Rather than simply posting it to the publications section of your website and running a promotional spot on your homepage, that single report could power your blog and social media posts for a month or even an entire quarter if done properly. With just a little creativity that report could be reimagined and repurposed and the information could be parceled out to populate blog posts, social media posts — and even an email newsletter — for some time.

Here’s a quick list of content opportunities presented by that single report:

  • Create a video trailer with interviews of stakeholders, the author, or people quoted in the report.
  • Present a graphic recording that outlines some of the report’s main points or findings.
  • Share infographics on social medial with links back to blog posts or news items about the report.
  • Poll your users about matters covered in the report.
  • Produce a Buzzfeed-style quiz that helps engage a wider audience in the topic.
  • Focus on one of the report’s findings each week for a series of weeks.
  • Highlight one chapter each week or month for a series of weeks or months.
  • Publish a process algorithm or flow chart as a teaser to get casual readers interested in the content.
  • Share an interesting statistic or a series of statistics on Twitter to make people stop and take a closer look.
  • Offer pre-populated tweets for your users to share with their followers on Twitter.
  • Ask a stakeholder quoted in the report to write a short piece for your blog or social media channels.

While it’s true that some of these ideas will require the commitment of resources from the organization, many of them won’t unduly burden program staff with the task of producing extra content. Rather, these approaches use existing content that’s already been vetted and approved and could be managed by support staff or the communications or web team. Many of these ideas have an added benefit — they can be scaled to fit available resource and talent pools. The idea, though, is that the road doesn’t end when the report is printed or published on the web. The finished report can instead serve as the starting point for a creative communications team to populate various content channels for weeks, and perhaps even months, to come.

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