Producing the right kind of content is time-consuming, but it should never be content for content's sake. Before embarking on a fresh project, look at what you have already created and consider how it can be refreshed or repurposed. Often you have already done much of the heavy lifting when it comes to content creation.
And when you do create something from scratch, make sure it is destined to add value relative to the content that is already available from you and your competitors. How is it differentiated from what is out there?
There's a lot that goes into creating your content schedule, but don't make things more difficult than they need be. Remember the three R's - Refresh, Repurpose, Review - and you will stay in good shape.
Content refreshing is the practice of revisiting your published content assets to keep them accurate and relevant.
This is a key and overlooked practice. More often than not, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Look at what content you already have published, and give it a fresh spin.
Update time sensitive references, add in fresh research or perspectives, and reconsider the piece's look and feel. What doesn't look so sharp in retrospect?
Be forensic in your analysis. How did the piece perform since its initial publication? What changes can you make to its structure to better convey the original message? For text content, do you want to be adding copy or is it better to be chunking down? Some articles are ripe for additional development, others will benefit from good old-fashioned editing.
At the heart of content review is the principle of continuous editing. Always be removing or adjusting copy, deepening and adding perspectives where needed. The more you edit, the stronger and richer your overall content ecosystem will be.
Content repurposing is a critical method in any company's content strategy playbook. Not to repurpose is to miss the point of content. Think of your existing content as assets. Each article or video or infographic represents an investment. What can you do not only to keep each asset contemporary and relevant, but to use it as the basis for related material?
The content repurposing playbook is deep and varied but some quick examples should illustrate the point:
A series of blog posts can be the basis for an eBook or even a print book if you really want to impress.
An infographic containing a series of smaller visuals can be separated out for display across your site as well as social and email channels. These thumbnail images make great marketing fodder for tradeshow booths if your sales team attends conferences.
Footage from a corporate promo can be used in related videos. Every video shoot your team undertakes should be planned as the basis for as many different video assets as possible. Use b-roll you take of a manufacturing plant while onsite for the corporate promo for use in a product demo. Plan to undertake in-depth interviews with key executives at the same time as you collect their soundbites for the promo.
Content review or content gap analysis is the practice of identifying those subject areas that your target audience will find of interest but your content doesn't yet address.
- Use keyword research tools to isolate topics that your target audience are searching for with low content supply in that area, or where it is possible to create highly-differentiated content.
- Look at your own analytics to see which content items performed most strongly in terms of visits, time on site, and bounce rate. What keywords drew these visitors in, or how else did they discover this content? Research fresh content in this area, with new information and a smart twist that will help meet the demand for this topic.
- Keep an eye on industry discussions, and decide when and how to cover them. Have an opinion, or at least a slant, on the topic you are covering. It positions your content and defines your message.
- Be constantly reviewing your content assets to ensure you are leading industry discussion across search, social, and email on the areas of importance to you. Pick one or two subjects for sustained treatment. Conferences and webinars are a great source for original reporting. Become synonymous with the topic, and aim to cover it in depth over time.
The three R's may sound like additional work on top of an already hectic schedule, but applied correctly they will not only save you time and headache but will deliver your clients and prospects a richer and more interconnected content experience at your hands.