Ashley Zeckman

Incorporate Participation Marketing for More Scalable Content Marketing – Lee Odden #CMWorld


“The best should win, but creating the best is a challenge.” – Lee Odden

Yesterday at Content Marketing World, TopRank Marketing CEO Lee Odden delighted a packed room of marketers by providing inspiring and actionable advice on how to successfully approach participation marketing. Lee assured marketers that if they wanted to produce quality and scalable content, without having to scale marketing budgets, this was the place to be.

So, how can we get some relief from all of the hard work it takes to create a truly impactful participation marketing program?

Among the many things covered in his session were:

  • A methodical approach for deconstructing and repurposing marketing to make it more useful.
  • How to integrate influencers, social and SEO into your content plan.
  • Ways to make your content more useful for contributors and your audience.

The Content Marketing Race

“Content isn’t great until people can actually find it.”

There is a growing swell of popularity for creating content. And a lot of that comes from brands saying; “We don’t have to rely on a publication creating content so we can get to our customers. Instead, we can get to them directly by becoming publishers ourselves.”

4 Types of Content for Marketing

  • Evergreen: Always relevant for your audience, content that stands the test of time.
  • Co-Created: Created with others such as internal experts, influencers or your online community at large.
  • Curated: Finding, collecting and sharing content with your audience that focuses around a specific topic.
  • Repurposed: Taking a piece of existing content and using it in another way.

Participation Marketing: How to Scale Quality & Quantity Content

Co-creation offers many advantages for marketers looking to produce great content consistently. These advantages include:

  • Quality: You are able to tap subject matter expertise. Specificity is what rises to the top.
  • Quantity: Create even more quality content consistently.
  • Engagement: Create a connection with subject matter experts and influencers. Create an experience. Use it as a means of networking so that it creates an engagement opportunity.
  • Reach: Participation inspires action. If we all create it together we have a mutual interest in making it succeed.
  • Scale: Distribution of your co-created content.

Find Your Brand Story

“All marketing that is effective is rooted in some sort of story.”

Your Brand Story

The lens for your brand story should be empathetic to customer needs. Once you identify what it is that you or your product stands for, you need to become the best answer wherever your customers are looking.

Answer these questions about your content to help tell your story:

  1. What is it?
  2. What problem does it solve for customers?
  3. What do they do next?

5 Best Practices for Incorporating Influencers into Your Marketing


Connection is what fuels everything. As you collect specific information from your community, you can begin creating templates for different customer segments and stages in the buying cycle. Here are five ways to successfully incorporate influencers into your content marketing:

#1 – Identify, Qualify & Recruit Influencers

One of the biggest favors you can do for yourself is to use tools to help identify the influencers that you’d like to work with. Keep in mind that no tool is perfect, but they can help you qualify the best influencers for your brand. Examples of influencer marketing tools include:

  • Traackr
  • Followerwonk
  • Buzzsumo
  • Keyhole
  • GroupHigh
  • Appinions
  • Tribealytics

#2 – Engage & Recruit Influencers to Participate

If you’ve had no previous interaction with influencers, it’s essential that you show relevant signals of friendliness.

This could mean following them on social networks, retweeting or sharing their content, live blogging their conference sessions or commenting on their posts. This helps create exposure for the influencers and create a connection of your support.

#3 – Collect & Co-Create Content

A good practice is to include a healthy mix of brandividuals and niche influencers in your co-created content. When reaching out, personalize your message based on topics they are known for and what you’ve discovered motivates your influencers. Always set clear expectations and deadlines, but be patient as these influencers likely receive multiple requests a week to collaborate.

#4 – Inspire Content Promotion

Never rely on the fact that just because someone co-created with you, they will share your Content. You have to make it easy, fun and inspiring for influencers to share by providing a preview of their contribution or including some pre-written tweets for them to share.

To collaborate with busy influencers, it may require some sort of compensation or trade. Don’t be afraid to do a little research to see what they like (or just ask them).

#5 –Monitor KPIs & Measure ROI

attract engage convert

Measuring the success of your co-created content is one of the most important, and often overlooked elements of your campaign. TopRank Marketing recommends an attract, engage and convert model to cover all of your bases.

Participation Marketing in Action

Now that you have the essential steps for participation marketing, it’s time to see this concept in action. We’d like to invite you to co-create some killer content with the team at TopRank Marketing. All you need to do is click the link below and submit your biggest question about participation marketing.

As an added bonus for collaborating, you will receive access to the TopRank Marketing Content Co-Creation Checklist to help with your own participation marketing initiative.



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Ashley Zeckman About Ashley Zeckman

Ashley Zeckman is the Director of Agency Marketing for TopRank Marketing. In addition to finding innovative ways to showcase the exceptional work of her team, she is also responsible for creating digital marketing programs that drive customer acquisition and growth for the agency. Her background includes expertise in everything from content marketing strategy to branding, account management and social media.

Outside of her role at TopRank Online Marketing, Ashley prides herself on being a great home chef, painter, prankster and dog mom.