Content marketing is an important part of online marketing these days with 88% of B2B marketers using it as part of their overall strategy. Content marketing costs 62% less than outbound marketing, but generates three times as many leads, and conversion rates that are nearly six times higher, making it a cost effective way to promote a business. The fact is, you can’t really have too much content marketing, if you’ve got the right strategy in place to support it.
But, without that strategy backing up your efforts, too much content can backfire. Churning out blog posts, articles, and social content for the sake of adding content to your archive may sound like a good idea, especially if you’re starting from scratch, but too much can be detrimental to your end goal.
One study showed that as brand generated content increased by 78%, interactions per post per 1,000 followers fell by 60%. The study looked at 8,000 brands across five major networks for a year between 2013 and 2014. The more content was there, the less engagement it received. The study also revealed that 43% of professionally marketed blog posts received fewer than 10 interactions. This tells us it’s important to strike a balance in your content load, spreading it across each network as your audience indicates they are ready and willing to consume it. Does your audience love Facebook, but they’re not really all that much into Twitter? Focus more of your content marketing efforts on Facebook, without completely neglecting to build a Twitter presence.
If you find your content archive is quite large, but your engagement is not consistently improving, it’s time to make some adjustments to your content marketing strategy. It doesn’t mean all the time and effort spent on existing content is a waste – it just means spending a bit more time getting it right.
Audit Your Existing Content
Look at what you already have on your website. Is it old and out of date? Either scrap it or edit it to make it more current and relevant. Is it low quality? Either scrap it or edit it to drastically improve quality and value.
It’s a good idea to review your content marketing strategy on a regular basis, to keep the content in line with your strategy and goals. Take time to review it at least annually, to ensure that all your efforts are worthwhile.
Consolidate Your Content
Look at all the content that serves a similar purpose, or covers similar topics. Consolidate that into a single piece, or more focused section on your website. Update the content as necessary. If you find that you have a significant amount of content dedicated toward one particular topic or issue, consider repurposing it into an eBook or downloadable report you could use for opt-ins.
So, that brings the question, how many times can you use the same topic? If you have a keyword you’re trying to rank on that you know you’re going to need to repeat in multiple posts to have a shot at achieving page one rankings, it’s easy to get repetitive.
To get around this, take a fresh approach to the topic each time. If you’re not providing a fresh perspective with value to your readers, then you’re going to start sounding like a broken record. If you’re marketing a brand of spaghetti sauce, you can only write so many general articles on tomatoes and sauce before people stop reading.
If you’re stuck with a generalized keyword and you want to avoid getting too repetitive, consider the five stages of the buying process:
- Awareness: In this stage, people know they have an issue and they’re looking for answers. For the spaghetti sauce, these would be topics like what is in the spaghetti sauce, how it can be used beyond mixing it with noodles for lunch or dinner, where you can find the sauce in stores, the stores that carry the brand, and more.
- Consideration: At this stage, customers are evaluating the various solutions on the market – all the spaghetti sauce brands available. They’re looking at things like the ingredients, the sugar content, the price points, the size of the product. For this stage, produce content that highlights the different features of your product.
- Intent: Now’s the time to appeal to consumer logic, focusing on emotion to encourage them to choose your product compared to the competition. Here, write content about who benefits from your product – the busy mom who’s too tired to make a sauce from scratch, the grocery shopper on a budget who wants a gourmet taste without the price tag. You can also write about what your product can do and how it works.
- Purchase: At this stage, you’re encouraging people to buy from you. Here’s where you can promote discounts and coupons for your spaghetti sauce, and provide a store locator so customers who don’t want to order online can go pick it up in store. It’s also a good idea to include a printable form people can take to their local grocery store to ask their manager to carry it. It helps expand your distribution, and helps the customer feel like they played a part in getting your brand into a location that is convenient for them.
- Repurchase: At this stage, you want to encourage your customers to come back to you. You want them to stay in contecact with you and learn more about your niche. These posts are best suited to offer the client information about a keyword that they are unable to get anywhere else.
Even if your website is built around a single keyword, don’t overuse the same topic. These types of websites don’t look professional, and as such, rank lower. If you’re dealing with a specific brand of spaghetti sauce, you’ll need to expand your content to cover news stories, or latest developments – like issues with tomato crops, health benefits of tomatoes – in addition to your general usage articles.
If you’re in the B2B market, this changes slightly, as buying cycles are a bit longer, and involve multiple departments. It may also mean there’s a longer period before the company comes back to buy again. For instance, if they’re buying new computers for the entire company, it’s going to be a large purchase that takes a while to receive approval, and they won’t be doing that again for a while. But, the company could still come back to you again to make other related purchases like printers and other peripheral devices.
Analytics: Content and Audience Evaluation
Next, analyze the performance of each piece of content over time. Get rid of anything that doesn’t perform the way you need. If you don’t get rid of it all together, then make revisions to anything you consider “underperforming.”
Conduct an audience analysis to see where the audience is coming from, and what pages they are leaving on. Learn what they’re exploring while on your site. Adjust your content with that information so you can make it better meet their needs, but more importantly, consider adjusting the placements so you know it gets in front of the right eyes.
This analysis will also help you determine the ideal posting frequency for your audience. Certain industries will require content more frequently, while others will be turned off by posting too much. Targeting niche markets generally means posting less because there isn’t as much competition compared to generalized niches. The smaller the group you’re targeting, the easier is to get away with posting less.
If you want to get an insider’s idea of what the competition is doing, so you can do it better, subscribe to their email list. You can see what topics they’re covering, the types of content they’re using to do it, and how frequently they are reaching out to their audience.
Content Optimization and Reorganization
Once you know the content you’re left with, it’s time to optimize it and reorganize it on the website to make sure it hits the visitors in the right stage of the buying cycle. Each visitor will have different needs throughout the sales funnel, so the content needs to be optimized to meet these needs, and then it needs to be easy to find and in line with the buyer’s journey.
You’ll want to share your content across social media once it’s published, but sharing it once isn’t enough. There’s a chance it’s going to get lost in the shuffle, especially with networks like Twitter that move quickly.
That said, don’t spam your following with links to your content all the time, especially the same post. Share it once when it is published, and then one more time a few weeks later. If at any point it becomes relevant again, publish it again. After that, focus on those inbound links, reader shares, and the search engines to bring you that steady traffic stream.
The Lesson: Quality Over Quantity
It’s not about the volume of content you are producing. It’s about how well that content you’re producing is resonating with your audience – the value it is providing them. Your brand is far better served with a handful of content assets every week or month that are providing high value than it is with a ton of poorly written content. If you’re flooding your networks with repurposed content, and then not taking the time to analyze your audience, you’re not going to be successful, plain and simple. To hit those successful marks, you must know exactly what your audience wants, and how to construct the content appropriately for each social network. Content may be king, but the strategy behind it is what really matters.
Think about two restaurants – side by side. They serve the same kind of cuisine. They have the same kind of atmosphere. One restaurant has a small selection of 12 items, selected using customer feedback. The other has a random and overwhelming number of choices. Management never takes the time to ask the customers if they enjoy the food, and continues to keep the kitchen on their toes. Which one would you rather dine in? Not only are the customers not as happy as they could be, but restaurant B is hemorrhaging money on unnecessary ingredients that go bad because no one orders half the menu. Content assets that don’t help bring in and convert leads cost your business the same way.
After you’ve completed your content audit, craft a strategy to handle your new content. Only write when you have something of value to say – if there’s nothing new, skip it. You’ll just end up axing it in your next content audit anyway.
If you come up with something valuable to say – are there people out there who would want to hear it? Segment your target audience, and make sure you understand who they are, what they want, and what they need. Without this information, you’ll never be able to understand how to reach them to convert them into paying customers.
What kind of adjustments have you made to your content marketing strategy in the past? How did this affect your results? Tell me more in the comments below.
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