If you’re feeling good about your business right now, you’re not alone. Maybe traffic’s picked up on your website, or you’ve had more calls than normal this month. Maybe you’ve booked more service calls or written more proposals this week than the past few months combined.
Spring offers a perfect metaphor for life and business this year. More vaccines are being distributed, consumer confidence is up, and organizations are reporting an increase in activity and sales. According to multiple sources, GDP is growing at an annual rate of 3.2% this quarter, In Q2 and for the rest of 2021, we’ll likely see an even stronger rebound (4.5%).
But regardless of how quickly we return to ‘the new business normal’, we’ll do so with some trepidation, and that means budgets might be a bit tighter for a while. So, before you start cranking out content like a Dr. Seuss machine, consider that if you create smarter (not harder), you’re likely to get more value from each asset you create, and more mileage from your content budget.
A seed of a concept can grow into dozens of content assets. The trick is to put different spins on it: A new audience, a new perspective, a new format.
‘Evergreen’ is a buzzword in content marketing. And while evergreen content is important for SEO, it’s not something you should strive for with each asset you create. It’s pillar content that includes all your keywords and provides background and information on your core products/services.
It’s true that content with a long shelf life helps to stretch your marketing dollars, but as an industry, we’ve fallen into the habit of calling content ‘evergreen’ when it’s not and requesting ‘evergreen’ content, when we shouldn’t.
Math for Content Writers
Math isn’t most writers’ favorite subject. But there is one equation with which we need to be intimately familiar. Remember studying all those algebraic equations in school? No? That’s okay. This is really the only equation you need to memorize:
Relevance + Timeliness + Information = Exceptional Content
Great content follows a formula, and timeliness is the most critical variable in that equation.
The world is evolving at a head-spinning pace, which can make it difficult to keep content fresh for very long. And because audiences expect a higher level of personalization than they used to, creating content that lasts longer than a few months (e.g. Evergreen) is nearly impossible. That doesn’t mean you can’t get more mileage from the content you create. Here are 4 content creation tips for keeping your content fresh and focusing on quality over quantity.
Content Creation Tip #1: Same Format, New Year
Your top ten blog posts should be updated every year to continue encouraging new readers and reminding past readers to revisit. If you’re creating an eBook, include the year in the title to let readers know you’ll be coming out with an update every year. This gives them something to look forward to, adds credibility to your brand, and allows you to highlight changes from the past year, make predictions, and get ahead of the curve on seeing trends in your industry as they develop. Thought leadership, anyone?
Content Creation Tip #2: Now Eat Your Content on the Go!
Food manufacturers add new product lines to find new audiences, draw attention to their brand, and stay relevant as the industry evolves. Cereal becomes pop-tarts, becomes breakfast bars, becomes energy bites. In the same way, you can offer up content to your audience in new formats to test interest, increase attention, and reach new audiences. Turn your:
- ebook into a series of blog posts, or vice versa.
- data-heavy webinar into an infographic.
- video into a series of short animations.
- white paper into a series of social posts
- PowerPoint presentation into a webinar
- infographic into an animated micro-content series
This is a great strategy if you need to reach multiple audiences. A B2B brand, for example, might target Director level and C-suite professionals. Directors might prefer the deep dive that an e-book provides, while C-Suite executives may only have time for content they can scan for high-level take-aways. Make sure your content format matches your audience!
Content Creation Tip #3: Make it Personal
One of the biggest hurdles B2B brands face is that their target audience is rarely a single buyer. It’s more common for organizations to have a buying committee made up of leaders from several departments. Appealing to all of these people can lengthen your buyer’s journey and require different tactics at every stage. You might also be selling to professionals in different verticals. If you’re selling SaaS to healthcare and energy companies, for example, create two versions of the same content so you can personalize it to each audience’s pain points and needs. Then be sure to talk directly to each specific audience in your social posts and paid ads. Call them out by title or industry in the post copy to grab their attention in a crowded feed. When you can ‘stop the thumb’ or ‘stall the scroll’ you stand to increase conversion rates.
Content Creation Tip #4: Regular Check-Ups for Content Health
Review your blog posts and other published content every few months to ensure it’s still relevant. A few things to check:
- Links. Do all internal and external links still work? Have you published any new content since this asset was created? If so, you may want to add new links.
- Stats. Are the stats or data points still relevant? Have newer stats come out since you published this content? Have there been any industry developments since this asset was published that might be relevant?
- The Introduction. Is your intro still relevant? If you published content in 2020, you probably mentioned the pandemic. Be sure your intro is current.
- Visuals. Imagery you used a year ago might show groups of people huddled together or smiling workers or shoppers. Today, those people should probably be wearing masks.
- CTA. Is the call to action still relevant, or do you need to update this to drive them to a new landing page?
If you’re charged with building your brand’s editorial calendar and creating content that appeals to your target audience(s), remember to include past content and curated content in your mix. If you could use a hand ensuring all of your content is on-point, you might find our Optimate consulting program helpful. Click here for pricing and a free 30-day trial.