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How to build an army of content partners who will happily promote your content for you

Helloooo content connoisseurs.

It’s Perrin from Content Bites.

Want some of the most powerful content distribution that exists for free? Today, I’m going to show you how to build an army of partners who are happy to promote your stuff (fair warning: it takes a bit of elbow grease, but after you have it in place, it can be wildly strong).

  • Appetizers: Links from Leadfeed, CMI, Ahrefs, and more

  • Main Course: How to build an army of content partners

Let’s dig in.

Hors d'oeuvres: Are you ready to outsource content strategy?

Last week, I launched a done-for-you content strategy service called Playbookz.

If you want to see if you’re ready to outsource content strategy, click here to answer 11 questions to find out.

It’s free, you get a personalized report, and it takes about 2 minutes. Take the quiz here.

Appetizers: Content about content 🤯

  • How ConvertKit Grew from $98k to $625k MRR by Doing 150 Webinars in 1 Year (link) « (this one is discussed below)

  • 7 Content Marketing Conferences to Attend in 2024 (link)

  • Your Ultimate Guide To Master the Content Creation Process (link)

  • 15 competitor analysis tools to spy on your competition (link)

  • Why the Worst Search Marketers Start Content Strategy with “SEO Keywords” (link)

Main Course: How to build an army of content partners

Content marketing usually boils down to one thing: leverage

Getting more reach per dollar. Getting more reach per unit of energy. Getting more customers per piece of content. 

To be a good content marketer, you often just publish a lot. But the great ones usually have really, really high leverage on their content.

Now, there are a lot of ways to create leverage on content. You might have a big audience; that’s leverage. You might have super efficient paid traffic; that’s leverage, too. There are lots of ways to do it.

But one of THE best forms of leverage for content marketers is content partnerships. 

Content partnerships = anyone who will help create or distribute your content with no money exchanged

If you pay money, they’re not partners; they’re influencers. 

And content partnerships can be really, really powerful. 

They’re also usually very hard to build. But if you do manage to build them, you can generate metric tons of reach for basically no cost. 

Why are they so good, though?

First, they leverage other people’s audiences. It’s usually way, WAY more efficient to just use someone else’s existing audience than it is to build one from scratch. 

You can do that with ads or influencer marketing, but the only free way to do it is with content partnerships. 

Second, in addition to a bunch of free reach, you also get tons of free trust. Presumably, if someone else already has an audience who regularly interacts with them, they’ve built at least a little bit of trust.

By creating/promoting content with them, you get that trust implicitly. And trust is often even more difficult to build than reach, making it its own form of leverage. Over time, this can even help you build a brand. 

And lastly, as a portfolio (meaning you have a little black book of regular partners), partnerships can = strong, consistent reach. 

Disclaimer (don’t be weird)

Don’t be weird, guys. 

…not that you would.

But it’s worth noting that building a rolodex of content partners who are willing to help create or promote your content, is about relationships. 

And the best version of it is built on actual friendships. 

So, while, yes, it’s great to have a rolodex of content partners, this will ONLY work if (1) you treat them like friends, and (2) help them advance their own goals.

Keep in touch with people outside of the campaigns you’re running together. Don’t be shy about letting them promote their stuff, too. Talk them up to your audience. 

That kind of thing. 

Remember, content partners aren’t incentivized in any way except by the relationship and mutual benefit

And usually, in my experience, it’s a lot more fun to work with a group of friends anyway. 

Ok, let’s talk about how to actually do this stuff. 

Step #1: Build a database super-sharers.

This is one of my favorite kinds of content partners. 

They’re hard to find, but they’re usually fun to work with, and they often need the least in return. 

Super-sharers = people who already frequently share content in the places you want to promote content

Examples are like:

  • People who share stuff in private Facebook groups

  • People who post a lot in subreddits (long-form posts are ideal)

  • People who lead discussions in Slack or Discord groups

  • Long-time niche forum members

These people don’t even have to be all that well-known.

The important part is that they already enjoy producing content for or sharing content with an active community

The reason these folks are such great content partners is because they get their dopamine hits from sharing stuff. 

It usually doesn’t take much convincing. 

How to find them: It usually has to be manual. You’re going to look at the posts/comments in a community for the past 30-ish days and try to identify people who are most active. Then, DM and strike up a friendly convo.

How to approach them: These folks are usually driven by appreciation, so complimenting their content and insights is a good foot in the door. Then, just try to be friends. Try to be friends before you approach them asking for a share. 

Tip: You can usually just ask these folks if they’d mind sharing your stuff, but, depending on the community & their style, you could potentially offer to co-author a post. Or, you could write your own post and ask them to re-share/engage. Play it by ear.  

Step #2: Build a database of business content partners.

This is arguably where the most total revenue can be generated. 

It’s also usually hands-down the most difficult kind of content partnership to make happen. 

Business owners are busy. Marketers are busy. Everyone wants something. They’re getting pitched constantly. 

It’s typically very difficult to get your foot in the door with these types. 

However, if you can incentivize them well, these partnerships can be absolutely, tremendously impactful, and they are by far the most likely to drive direct revenue.

Content partnerships with other businesses are usually about co-authoring stuff. 

White papers. Blog posts. Videos. Case studies. Books, even. 

But most commonly, it’s going to be webinars. Marketers love webinars, and for good reason: it’s a content format that is really, really, REALLY good at selling stuff. 

So, 90% of the time, if you’re trying to secure a content partnership with another business, you’re going to be asking to do a webinar. 

And it's’ a really good tactic. In fact, it’s the subject of one of my favorite content case studies of all time: How ConvertKit Grew from $98k to $625k MRR by Doing 150 Webinars in 1 Year. They did exactly what I’m outlining here: they formed as many content partnerships with other businesses as they could, and they co-produced webinars with anyone who would say yes. 

How to find them: First, leverage any existing relationships. Suppliers, affiliates, even friendly competitors. Contact via email or LinkedIn, and you’ll usually want to set up something more formal to discuss this kind of partnership — a Zoom call or whatever.

How to approach these folks: It’s gotta be a sales process, and your messaging should 100000% be about what’s in it for them. Tap into your network, use cold email, LinkedIn outreach, etc. – all the stuff your sales team does. Pitch a co-production (usually a webinar), offer to let them promote their stuff too, and offer to do all the work. 

Tip: This is going to work best if they have a big email list; it’s by far the easiest way to get people on a webinar. 

Step #3: build a database of customer advocates.

This is probably the easiest one. 

In fact, I don’t know why this isn’t step #1 because any content marketer at any business should basically be best friends with the top 5% of a business’s customers. 

I usually call these folks VIP customers. 

Not only will VIP customers usually be happy to share your content, they are also very likely to naturally make product recommendations while they’re doing it (and without asking)

It’s super, super powerful. 

The downside is that they usually don’t have big audiences, but because they’re often so enthusiastic, you’ll typically see some quick revenue come through whey they share. 

How to find them: You should already have a list of your customers. Just segment it by people who buy the most and/or have social followings. Then, reach out via email or wherever they’re active.

How to approach these folks: Thankfully. They’re your best customers. You owe a lot to them. So thank them. Because they’re often bought into the mission of the company, you can usually be transparent and ask them explicitly if they’d be willing to go in your rolodex. If needed, you can maybe incentivize them further with merch, discounts, etc. 

Step #4: Build a database of community owners.

This is probably where the most raw reach is. 

Community owners = anyone who is in charge of any group of people in your vertical and can get content in front of them. 

That might be:

  • Facebook group owners

  • LinkedIn group owners

  • Slack/Discord group admins

  • Subreddit moderators

  • Newsletter operators

These people are particularly powerful content partners because they have unmitigated access to their community

They can put whatever they want in front of those people, and they can typically give it a strong push and a ringing endorsement. 

Out of every type of partner, they also usually have the most trust. 

BUT… they’re also typically by far the most difficult to convince to BE a partner because they’re often super, super protective of the community they’ve built. 

And with these guys, there’s usually one major downside…

You almost always need to create one-off, custom content for them – mostly because the only thing they care about is making sure their audience gets good content. 

How to find them: This can take some sleuthing, especially in anonymous communities. Often, you’ll have to DM them through their community first. But really, as long as you can find a community you’d like to promote in, this is just a matter of schmoozing via DM.

How to approach these folks: Offer to create some great content specifically for their audience. You usually need to show that you understand their audience and have consumed their content before. Come to the very first conversation with ideas in hand, and offer to let them take all the credit. 

When you have a database of partners, do this:

  • DO NOT do this with every piece of content; either use some great piece of content you’ve created that you think communities will like, or produce content one-off

  • If you’re publishing your own content, publish it & then reach out to super-sharers, VIP customers, and any business partners who you’re on friendly enough terms with to ask for a simple share

    • Ask them to share, incentivize if necessary

    • Rinse and repeat, but don’t blast your whole rolodex every time

    • Segment & touch different segments for each piece of content

  • If you have the resources to produce your own content, build a pipeline of one-off partnerships with community owners & business partners where you co-produce and co-promote content for their audience

    • If you find any particularly strong partners, see if you can make it a regular thing & get it on the calendar as a recurring event

  • Add to your rolodex over time

  • Wine & dine any seriously strong partners (and enjoy making those friendships!)

If you want to check out my content strategy service directly, you can see it here: Playbookz.

Imo, content strategy is THE biggest growth lever in content marketing. These are the exact same kinds of strategies I built for some of the biggest brands on earth.

If you’re interested, you can also book a call directly here.

That’s the issue. If you missed last week’s issue, you can read it here.

Go forth & conquer.


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