How to Do Content Marketing Like TED

How to Do Content Marketing Like TED

How’d you like to have 15.8 million people subscribe to your content? What does it take to get that kind of massive, enthusiastic engagement?

For many, it sounds like a pipe dream. But for TED, the global conference and media organization, superlative engagement is reality. Nearly every video that TED releases gets hundreds of thousands of views. And they all go viral on social media.

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Now, what could the success of a massive media group teach a small business owner? As it turns out, quite a bit. For example,TED offers an exceptional example of content marketing. As a result, even small businesses with limited resources will benefit from following TED’s example.

Quality + Quantity

TED’s videos cover a range of topics. They range from politics and business to biology, culture, and understanding the universe. And every piece of content is based on a single credo. that is creating “ideas worth spreading.” Sure, the brand has big, flashy stages. And it has a globally recognized name. But those are just icing. The cake is the quality of curated content that TED releases.

Above market research and SEO optimization, TED focuses on releasing informative, interesting, shareable pieces of content that engage its audience. There couldn’t be a clearer road map to content creation.

Content marketing is a tool that should be in every small business’s toolbox. A steady stream of high-quality blog posts, videos, and other pieces of content will help a brand get noticed on social media, prove a business leader’s expertise in his or her field, and prompt Google’s search algorithm to rank a company more highly.

As long as the content provided is original, valuable to readers, and optimized for sharing, it’s on the right track to build an engaged audience — just as TED has been doing successfully for the past 35 years.

The Content Recipe

Ready to take your content marketing cues from TED and apply them in a small business context? These tips will put you on the path to creating a first-rate content marketing strategy:

1. Diversify Your Content Media

Building a large portfolio of content across multiple platforms may seem daunting, especially for a small operation, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re already writing a blog, there’s no reason that the same content can’t be repurposed into a webinar, an infographic, a short video, and more. TED has branched out in a similar way with its TED Talks Daily podcast, where YouTube TED talks exist in audio form. Fans can listen on their daily commute, and the company can catch newer users whom they might have missed otherwise.

According to Edison Research, 41% of monthly podcast listeners say they have more podcasts in their feed now than they did a year ago, so the time is still ripe to get into the game. “You’re creating a content brand that will have a life and energy of its own,” says Mark Jones, chief storyteller and CEO at marketing agency Filtered Media. “If you get it right, people will join your new podcast tribe and give you a new platform for business growth.”

2. Reward Readers for Returning

Build an audience that regularly engages with your content. To do this consistency is indeed the name of the game. TED’s many subscribers all want new content routinely posted. And the organization delivers. Release new content frequently and consistently. And you will seem more reliable to both your target audience and Google’s algorithms.

Just as much as consistency can benefit you, the opposite can cause unintended harm. “Without a doubt, inconsistency is the number one biggest content marketing faux pas made across the board. Startups, mid-sized businesses, and enterprises can all succumb to this form of self-sabotage,” warns Cydney Hoffnagle, digital go-to-market lead at Microsoft. If you go dark after a couple of enticing posts, your audience is likely to feel ghosted. And unless you’re Tom Hanks in “You’ve Got Mail,” a no-show won’t lead to a blossoming relationship.

3. Call on Guest Contributors

Check out this tip particularly useful for small business owners with tight budgets. Invite other industry experts to share their wisdom on your platform. It’ll keep your company’s content queue full. And it will offer third-party validation for your guest contributors These include guest speakers, authors, podcast hosts, and more.

Even TED outsources much of its content work. While the flagship brand has produced thousands of talks on its own, countless more conferences occur every year under the TEDx sub-brand. Independent conference organizers get the boost of the TED name, while the umbrella organization gets more content without the in-house labor involved in producing it. This win-win scenario is ideal for all parties, and small businesses can benefit from a similar model.

From startups to multimillion-dollar organizations, the same rules apply across the board: Offer quality, digestible, shareable content, and the audience will follow. So find your own “ideas worth sharing” and send them out into the world.


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Larry Alton Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

3 Reactions
  1. You need a different approach and consider what you want to ultimately do. It should not stop with sharing content.

  2. Hi Larry,
    Your article is very nice and helpful for TED. I know and obey that, “Content is King”. For this, quality content should be available. I appreciate your thought. Thank you very much for sharing this valuable post.??

    Anita Jacobi
    Contributor, Careeriz

  3. Thank you for your help with content marketing. I appreciate the help.

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