The DoStuff Guide To Sourcing Content

Many of you have asked for guidance on how to best source content for editorial pages, so we enlisted the help of Chicago Content Manager Extraordinaire, Katie Karpowicz, to share her wisdom. 

Presenting: The DoStuff Guide To Sourcing Content -- by Katie Karpowicz:

“Phone A Friend”
  • Rely on social media for tips
  • Try posting a plain-text call for suggestions on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram stories. Example: “Hey, do any of my friends know of restaurants that are offering beer to go?” See example here.
    • Better to use plain text to maximize your reach. For instance, do *not* post a link to a similar Eater article with a caption of “Hey, DoXYZ is writing something similar. Can you send me restaurants that are offering beer to go?” 
Reach Out to Partners
  • Ask your past and present clients in associated verticals: What related initiatives are they running that we can highlight and amplify?
    • If a seller has reached out to a client about a sales opportunity recently and gotten no response, then it may be best for this communication to come from a Content Manager, so it’s purely content-based and about helping the client out for now, which then in turn will help reengage them to spend in the future.
Make Sure You’re Getting Press Releases
  • Even during COVID-19, a CM’s inbox should still be hit regularly with press releases regarding local restaurant deals, venue updates, artist releases and more. In Chicago, we’re receiving about 10-15 per week (many more during non-COVID-19 operations).
  • Spend 15-20 minutes Googling your city’s top industry-focused PR firms and send them each note letting them know your metro’s site is producing daily content that can help get their clients’ in front of thousands of eyes. A good place to start is just by searching your city’s name + “hospitality PR,” i.e. “chicago hospitality PR” on Google. 
  • Here are some of the companies Do312 receives communications from regularly to give you some context: Papergirl PR / Heron Agency / Wagstaff
Start With Social Media vs. Websites
  • Restaurants, bars, small businesses and artists are more likely to push updates out through their social media platforms versus updating their websites—especially in times like these where the news is changing nearly daily. Start with Instagram and Facebook first and then dig deeper if you don’t find the information you’re looking for there (like whether a restaurant is still open for delivery).
Use Your Instincts!
  • Think about it! Which businesses/artists/venues would be most likely to be doing the thing you're writing about? Start with them first. You know your city better than anyone, so go with your gut.
    • For example, if you’re writing an article about local musicians selling awesome merch, brainstorm a list of 5-10 artists you know have great social media/marketing skills before you even start researching and then check on them first. 
Let Your Audience Source Content For You
  • We want all of our content articles to be robust and to cover all corners of your city, but we could spend DAYS (or even WEEKS) researching certain topics and still not cover every artist, local business, etc that your metro has to offer.
  • Instead, spend your time making sure each guide has 10-15 venues/items/artists before pushing it out to your audience and be sure to include a line that says something along the lines of, “Did we miss something? Email with your suggestion.” That way you’re continually building out the content and giving yourself new talking points to push when you resurface these guides in email and social media.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Now, go forth and produce stellar content! Have a question that you'd like addressed in this guide? Have an idea that you'd like added? Hit us up! -->