My, we’ve all been busy.
According to the Content Marketing Institute and Marketing Pros, marketers have been creating quite a lot of content over the past few years ‒ and it looks like most of us will create even more of it this year.
This actually worries me a little. I wonder if putting so much of our resources into creating more and more content might actually be a mistake.
More is not always better.
Here’s why: We’re not making the most of the content that we’ve got. We don’t promote it well enough. We don’t repurpose it often enough. Most of us aren’t optimizing our older content by republishing it, either.
But if you’re willing to do those things – even some of the time – you could get far more results out of whatever amount of content you do create.
Do them consistently, and you might be able to create less content and still get more results.
The State of Content Promotion – and How to Fix It
Are you having a hard time getting shares for your content? Do you see a lot of other sites struggling with this, too?
It’s not just your industry. According to research from Moz and BuzzSumo, half of all articles published get eight social media shares or less.
But even that little trickle of promotion is only happening right after publication. A lot of us publish and then forget about the content. Even a week later, it’s all but disappeared. That’s what Boost the News learned earlier last year:
Why makes such a big deal about this? Because re-sharing works. Not doing it means we’re missing out on traffic spikes like this: So is anybody re-sharing their content? Yes! 34% of content marketers have figured out this trick.
For the 2/3rds of us not re-sharing our content, this is a major missed opportunity (or a major opportunity for improvement). Re-sharing content lets us promote our content, of course. But it also lets us fill up our social media feeds. And it’s very easy to do. Check out either of these blog posts for ideas on how to create your own content promotion plan:
- The Busy Marketer’s Guide to Promoting Your Content in 30 Minutes or Less
- 7 Promotion Tactics to Get Your Content Seen
One of my favorite tactics for sharing content isn’t even via social media. It’s via email. Neil Patel and several others have documented that email is actually the single best content promotion channel. The marketers surveyed for Regalix’s “State of B2B Content Marketing 2016” also said email is the most effective way to distribute content.
And yet, only 29% of marketers are sending content updates to their email lists every week (per Scoop.it). So there’s another great opportunity for you to get ahead ‒ easily.
Repurposing your content
You’ve heard of reduce, re-use, recycle, right? Well, here’s how to apply the “re-use, recycle” part to content marketing: Reformat everything you publish.
Limiting yourself (and your content and your audience) to just one content format per piece is a wasted opportunity. Or viewed another way… it’s yet another fab chance to get yourself ahead of your competition.
Because only 17% of us are repurposing our content.Or maybe not. According to research from Regalix, most marketers are repurposing their content, albeit not very often.But remember: All you have to do is send an announcement about your content via email and share it on social media a few times and – vavoom – you’ve repurposed your content twice.
For instance, here’s how you could reformat a webinar:
- Convert it into a video and publish it on YouTube
- Post the presentation deck on SlideShare
- Create an infographic from the best slides in the slide deck
- Make a PDF of the transcribed audio track available
- Break the transcript into a short series of blog posts
- Create a Q&A from the session
And that’s just the beginning. If you want more ideas for how to reformat your content, see our ebook, Creating a Content Marketing Strategy: 6 Best Practices That Work. That list of possible reformats for the webinar is taken from it.
Or read either of these blog posts:
- Need Content for Your Emails? Repurposing to the Rescue
- Once is Never Enough: How to Repurpose Content Like a Boss
So what does repurposing do for you? A couple of things:
- It makes your content accessible to people who prefer different formats (like watching a video as opposed to reading a post).
- It gets your content out on several different platforms, and thus helps it find different audiences. One of the core purposes of content marketing is to get our content out to new audiences. To reach people who have never heard of us. Reformatting your content for different platforms is an effective, frugal way to do this.
- It basically clones your content … which means you can technically “create” less content and yet get more pieces of content. You end up with 5-7 different versions of the content piece, but they cost dramatically less to produce that the original did. Thus, you get more content for less money – and time.
There’s one other way to repurpose content that I’m seeing on more and more blogs: Audio versions of the article. Like this one from Convince and Convert.
Republish Your Content
As mentioned, a lot of us have a lot of content. But we keep publishing new content again and again and again. We put a ton of work into our new content, push ourselves to meet the deadlines for it, publish it (with hopefully at least a few hours of fanfare) … and then move on to the next deadline.
Over time this creates a massive stockpile of old content. A content vault, if you will. And vault is the right metaphor. All that content was expensive to create. It could be translated into revenue. It could be generating sales. But mostly… it’s just going unnoticed.
(You’ve heard that scary old stat from Sirius Decisions, right? That 60-70% of B2B content goes unused.)
So what if we took some of our old content and republished it with updates, in an expanded version … maybe after we’ve spiffed up its SEO and perhaps added a better-targeted content upgrade or some other lead gen call to action?
It would take some time, sure. But it would take far less time than it would take to create an entirely new post.
We could make this tactic even more effective if we didn’t try to republish all our content. Just, say, the top 20% of it. The best-performing content. That could be the 20% of pages that generate the most leads or attract the most traffic or links. Or whatever other metrics you fancy.
Many of you will recognize this as what’s called a “content audit.” They are (alas) kinda like the tax audits … but, in this case, you get to control the process and you get to benefit from the outcome. A lot.
Content audits can be small or large, of course. You don’t have to make them into an ordeal. In fact, most content marketing software gives us some pretty useful information with the click of a button or two. That’s intelligence that used to require a content audit. Now it’s far more accessible, if we take the time to look.
Want to learn more about how to optimize your older content? Read our blog post, “How to Breathe New Life Into Old Content.”
Pulling this all together
We’ve written about this before on this blog, but I want to suggest it again: Consider a content fast.
What’s that? It’s a moratorium on creating content for a specific length of time. Say, a month. Or two weeks. You publish no new content in that period.
Instead, use that time to apply everything we’ve been talking about here. Stuff like:
- Setting up a system to automatically re-share your content over the year.
- Figuring out a way to efficiently promote your content, and setting up a system to do that (including the necessary resources).
- Reformatting your top-performing content into 2-3 new formats (videos and interactive quizzes are worth a try).
- Updating, optimizing, and then republishing your best-performing older content.
- Running a content audit to see where your content is performing well, and where it’s not. And then adjusting your strategy and plans accordingly.
Not so sure about this? The content team at Unbounce tried it. They called it “a content hiatus.” You can read about the positive results Unbounced experienced here.
Content creation is great, but it’s only one aspect of content marketing. You can get far more mileage out of your content by:
- promoting your content (both when it’s published and thereafter)
- repurposing everything you publish
- republishing any content that’s more than a year old, after you’ve updated it and optimized it for performance
None of that is hard to do. It just takes some planning, and the time and resources to do it.
Back to you
Are you re-sharing your content? Repurposing it? Republishing it? Tell us how it’s working in the comments.