This post was originally published as a chapter in our eBook, Inspiring Customers to Create Content for You: A Marketer’s Guide.

Content teams need to stop making all of their content in a vacuum. Creating all of your content yourself is a huge time and resource investment—and it’s not the most effective way to reach buyers.

Prospects put more weight on social proof from their peers than they do anything else. When our customers say, ‘I’ve used this product and I saved X amount of money or time,’ it lends a lot more credibility to our brand. This is why advocate-authored content is critical to reach buyers today.

It’s also the reason we actively motivate our customers to become content creators for and with us. This can be as simple as requesting a quote or testimonial for our website, to something more involved, like asking them to write entire blogs or eBooks with us.

The key is starting small and nurturing them toward bigger asks.

How to transform your B2B content marketing strategy with advocates

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Transforming HP Software’s Customer Experience With Advocacy
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Before we make a content request, we’ll ask our advocates something easy, like “Do you want your name in lights? If so, which topics and which formats (e.g., blogs, videos, etc.) are you most comfortable with?” Once they’ve expressed an interest in a topic or medium, we’ll screen further by asking: “If you were to write about this topic, what best practices would you recommend?”

Based on how substantial their response is, we’ll either get them to contribute to a related project we’re working on, or have them write an entire blog post to expand on their ideas (or feature them in a video or webinar, for example).

This nurturing strategy has allowed us to publish two new eBooks with advocate contributors: one on IT service management best practices that was written 100% by advocates, and another on DevOps that was written in large part by our ITOM Insiders advocate community. Our advocates also write 50% of our blogs, and we encourage them to read and comment on other posts to spark a dialogue.

Advocates make your content better because their words and examples add more color and authenticity to your stories. Just make sure your content requests ask advocates to share best practices and valuable insights—not just talk about how much they love your products.

Why advocates want to be a part of your content marketing strategy 

Nine times out of ten, advocates will jump at the chance to build their personal brand through content creation.

But we like to go beyond just featuring them in our content.

We also incentivize them by giving them kudos in front of our entire advocate community (a little recognition from their peers goes a long way!). The best part is this strategy can inspire other advocates to participate—which can help generate more content, even faster, over time.

Chris’ advice for getting advocate stories in your content marketing strategy

1. Figure out what media and topics your advocates are most passionate about
2. Mix easy content co-creation opportunities with more involved ones to appeal to all of your advocate types
3. Formally recognize them in front of their peers for their contributions so they feel like stars

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