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Want to get off the content production treadmill? Make your content work smarter and harder
April 19, 2021
Drive audience engagement, increase traffic to site, generate qualified leads, grow sales… as marketers, we’re asking more of our content marketing (and the teams that put it together) than ever. It’s not so much content is king as content is the workhorse of the marketing kingdom. After all, whatever the marketing challenge, somewhere along the line content is almost always part of the solution. We need more content. We need it faster. We need it for more platforms, more personas, more objectives.
As a result, it can feel like we’re on the content production treadmill, with an emphasis on not just more content but ever faster content delivery. It shouldn’t be this way – and, when it comes to delivering a content strategy that works, just producing more isn’t the answer.
Here’s how to hone your strategy and get your content to work smarter and harder – so you can focus on producing what truly has an impact.
Data is your friend
In-channel reach and rankings, visitors to site, audience engagement… the list of what we can measure to determine the success of our content strategy is long and growing. Using the data available to you to understand what’s already working well for your strategy is vital to iron out personal bias and to get you and your team laser focused on what works for your audience and delivers against your KPIs.
Start with an audit of your top-performing content by engagement and by traffic. What are the commonalities? Are particular topics popular? Or is it certain styles of content that are driving traffic to your site? What’s keeping your audience there for longer? Rinse and repeat this process for your worst-performing content to identify any areas to avoid in future. Armed with this info, you’ve got the data-driven perspective on where your content strategy needs to focus.
Refocus on those personas
That’s the numbers bit but a successful content strategy focuses on the human element too. Take a moment and think about who you’re trying to reach with your content. Now focus on who you’re really trying to reach. Remind yourself of their interests, ambitions, frustrations, and worries.
When we get excited by creative ideas, or when we become over-reliant on the data, it can be easy to lose sight of who we’re really creating content for. Yet getting this right is vital for finding the right topics to talk about, the right social platforms to push your presence on, and even the best keywords to optimise. All of which improves your ability to reach the right audience and drive qualified traffic to your site.
Know when to create and when to repurpose
With the right focus in place, it’s time to bring your content strategy to life. One of the biggest mistakes I see with ineffective content strategies is when marketers neglect the content they already have. That enthusiasm to create shiny new content from scratch is a natural impulse – it’s why we’re creative marketers, after all! But, if we want our content to deliver more and better results for us, we also want it to move faster too. Working with content we already have to repurpose and amplify it is an effective way to do just that – freeing up more time to invest in those hero pieces that absolutely do need to be created fresh.
So how do you know when to create and when to repurpose? If you’ve done the data-dive into your current content, you’ll already have some clues as to the content that’s already working well for you. Building further on the success of these pieces through organic optimisation and social amplification is a smart place to start.
Other clues that repurposing is the right approach to take:
- You already have in-depth content on a particular topic, even if it’s not currently driving traffic to your website or engaging users on social media
- You already have some organic rankings and visibility in relation to a particular topic, even if these aren’t as strong as you need them to be – this can be built upon!
- You already have visual content on this topic in your social media channels – repurposing video content hosted on your YouTube channel can be a quick-win to build out engaging on-site content
And when do you need to create a new content piece?
- You have a complete topic and terminology gap across your current content
- You’re launching a new product, need to cover a new trending topic or trying to reach a new audience
- You do have some content on a topic but it needs a substantial build-out or needs to be refocused to reach the right persona
Monitor, measure and evolve
Of course, your content strategy doesn’t stop there. The most effective content strategies continually monitor and measure their impact, gleaning even more learnings from audience behaviour and in-channel performance. These insights can then be fed back into your content to refine it further, optimising its performance within the search and social algorithms and making improvements to speak to your audience in even more meaningful ways.
Armed with the right data, you’re able to do this in a targeted way that allows you to focus on the changes that will really make a difference to those KPIs.
So there you have it: a smarter, more effective content strategy. It’s a wheel, but definitely not a treadmill.
I discuss these steps to making your content work harder and smarter in my recent recent webinar - available to replay for free now.
Amy Dugmore - director of content - ClickThrough Marketing