6 minute read
You've spent hours and hours developing an amazing new piece of content. It's engaging, helpful, and targeted to your audience. You are 110% confident it will drive results for your business.
Awesome! Now what?
Content development is only one piece of the puzzle. Unfortunately for us marketers, content is not like the movie Field of Dreams -- if you build it, they probably won't just come. Unless you make it easy to find your incredible new piece of content, and unless you re-purpose the heck out of it, you are missing opportunities to increase its effectiveness and impact. Here are four approaches to milking your content for all it's worth.
1. Remember to Think about SEO
I once heard someone suggest that Search Engine Optimization should instead be thought of as "Content Discovery Optimization." Before publishing your new content, ensure that it will be as easy as possible for your audience to find it in search results. Put yourself in the position of someone in your audience. If they were to ask a question that your content can answer, what are some keywords they would use? I find it is helpful to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research keyword traffic and competitiveness. Find a few optimum key phrases (low competition but high traffic), and ensure they appear in your content. If you were writing with your audience in mind, it is likely that they are already there! Using an exact match is not as important as it once was, so do not sacrifice a nicely flowing sentence in order to shoehorn in an exactly matching key phrase. Nothing in your content should remotely smack of spam.
I aim to include the most important keyword in the title of the page or post, as well as in the first few lines of text. It sends the signal to search engines and to your audience that this piece of content answers their question. In addition, I write a relevant meta title for the page and an engaging description. Although using keywords in the meta title and description does not have anywhere near the influence it used to have in search rankings, a great title and description can still provide value by increasing click-through rates.
Of course there are other SEO factors to consider, like internal linking with relevant anchor text and practical categorization and tagging (this article from Digital Current provides a nice overview). The most important thing to remember is that your readers come first, and robots come second. Creating valuable, quality content for your audience is the best thing you can do for improved search results.
2. Distribute, Distribute, Distribute
How does your audience find new content? Their Facebook or Twitter feeds? Industry blogs? Email newsletters? All of the above? Use your deep knowledge of your target audience's communication preferences to develop a distribution plan for your content. It is wise to distribute through multiple channels to get the best coverage, and to stagger distribution for a longer period of exposure.
When sharing via social media, keep your posts catchy and visually appealing to break through the clutter and drive the best results. Remember that the shelf-life of any one post is quite short, so re-sharing the same content several times with slightly different twists can work well.
Distribution of new content is where content marketing and PR intersect. A tactic I have employed over and over with excellent results is to provide a press release to industry news sites, allowing them to share the content with their readers. There are several benefits to doing this, but the two most important are 1) it gets your content in front of a different audience, and 2) publication by a third party lends credibility to what you are saying. It can take time to develop relationships with the right contacts, so keep at it and don't be discouraged if they aren't responding right away. Here are a few tips I've learned in working with industry blogs and websites:
Consistently provide publishers with excellent content their readers will love
Send them a customized pitch highlighting what is unique and valuable about your content
Make it easy for them to publish it, providing thoroughly edited text and engaging images
Be sure mentions of your brand or your product are present, but not overwhelming
Don't be discouraged if they don't publish a particular story
Limit your sharing requests so as not to be obnoxious (I usually ask a potential publisher to share my content once a month, max)
Always say "thank you" if they publish!
Share their post via your social media channels for maximum exposure
Much like with SEO, great content paves the way for successful distribution.
3. Break It Up!
The beautiful thing about content is its ability to be re-purposed. If you have invested time and energy into creating valuable content, it would serve you well to re-purpose it as much as possible. One tactic for re-purposing is to break up the content. For example, if you have written a whitepaper or an e-book with several chapters, each of those chapters could easily become a blog post. Paraphrase instead of straight-up copying and pasting, so as not to set off any alarm bells for duplicate website content.
In the same vein, you could probably get dozens of social media posts out of your longform content. Could you re-purpose all the insightful stats, wonderful graphics, and helpful charts from your whitepaper as individual social media posts? You bet.
In addition to breaking up longer-form content, it's also possible to take it in the other direction. Do you have a series of related blog posts that could meld together into a whitepaper, webinar, or video? Re-purpose it!
4. Transpose into a New Format
People have different ways of learning. Some prefer to read information, some prefer to listen to it, and so on. A nifty way to get even more out of your content is to re-create it in a different format. A video can become a blog post can become a podcast can become a webinar can become an infographic... you get the picture.
More formats mean broader appeal to different types of learners, as well as more chances to share across various channels. Not to mention that visual and video content typically performs better than the written word.
You've invested in creating content, so it makes sense to increase your return by optimizing, distributing, and re-purposing it like crazy. And of course, be measuring your success along the way! A strong understanding of how your content draws traffic, engages the traffic, and converts the traffic can inform future development efforts and help you prove the case for more investment in content strategies.
Best of luck promoting that awesome new piece of content!