Content can be made profitable by enriching it, caring about its long tail and by automating it as a part of ongoing content supply chain. Here, Jarno Malaprade, development director at Tietotalo and Liki, shares seven ways how you can maximize your content’s life cycle and boost its ROI too.
1. Create evergreen content to fuel its life cycle
Have you ever thought about why we continue to publish new editions of Plato’s Republic and numerous other works of Ancient Greek philosophers from the same period? It’s because the content of these philosophers’ work is still alive for three main reasons:
- Their content is timeless. It contains truisms that remain relevant today. Their intellectual reasoning was not only revered by early scholars but continues to be upheld by leading academics today.
- Their content touches people and still generates a myriad of commentaries, which raises the importance of the original source. Online comments can work in a similar way today, they can generate back-links to your content, which elevates its position in the search engine result pages (SERPs) and makes it more visible.
- Their content was, and still is, a solid and fundamental source which made them become the “cornerstones of the industry”, or in the words of today’s world, the ‘thought leaders’ of their industry.
As digital marketers, we should be paying special attention to the life cycle of our content. Too many times we end up creating excellent (and expensive) content for our top campaigns just to forget it after the campaign results are reported to the executive board. A well-executed content strategy should include ways of breeding the life cycle of the content, this is where you can generate most of your profit.
2. Tailor your content to attract long tail traffic
Maximizing content’s life cycle includes something search engine optimizers call “long tail” – targeting your content to specific, niche search phrases that offer a low competition and high searcher intent. This is where the magic happens. This type of “long tail” traffic, which accounts for 70% of all searches, can produce a significant portion of all the sales you make, and can easily be the most valuable type of traffic for your business.
As marketers we should be looking to create content that attracts long tail traffic by incorporating strategically selected phrases within the text, which necessarily will not be the most obvious or popular searches, to keep continually collecting traffic long after publishing.
3. Make your content visible
Generating continuous traffic with your older content is only possible by taking care of its reachability. This means continually checking to ensure the URLs are not broken, especially if your site has been updated. Breaking your URLs will not only make your content sections unavailable, but will also damage the whole visibility of your domain in the search engine results, as well as ruin your customer experience.
4. Encourage conversation and cross-linking
An active conversation can add more weight to your content, compared to a similar piece your competitor has carried with no commentary. Customers are more likely to believe peer readers than a faceless service provider. In addition, people have a tendency to share helpful advice, which adds value to your original content. A good conversation conducted under your content can extend the length of its life.
Another way to keep your older content alive is to cross-link to similar and related content. This allows you to connect and link your latest posts with your older, but still accurate, relevant and existing articles. This will extend the time your visitor spends with your content, and will increase the time you have to convince them to buy or fulfill one of your call-to-actions, such as signing up to your newsletter.
5. Drip feed your content
Automation has never been so easy. Almost every email marketing solution supports automation to some extent. You can extend your content’s life cycle by using a light personalization function that allows you to build and execute so called ‘drip campaigns’. This is done by including interest based marketing branches to your email campaign. These branches will be triggered by your readers’ interests (when they click on a link within your newsletter).
For example, say that you have a weekly newsletter, and you want to target certain groups and build content segmentation accordingly. At first glance, this looks like you will generate a lot of work, but it doesn’t need to be so. Take a look at your existing content and tailor your drip campaigns around those topics. Wrap up related articles, videos, podcasts etc. and form a theme based newsletter, with a hint of new content. Schedule, for example, a five-week long campaign based on that material. Take care to add in unique content as a topping, and locate the right call-to-action points for each newsletter or replace CTAs in the content with the new ones, if necessary. And voilà!
6. Make it social & get mobile
Mobile is no longer simply a device or a channel – it is actually where people are when they engage with you and their friends. People naturally share experiences, feelings and knowledge about your products or services to each other. Nowadays, it happens within social channels on the mobile devices. Take advantage of your customers’ natural behaviour, things they would be doing anyway: Engage with it, enforce it, make it visible and reward those who are active.
Our client, Holiday Club Resorts Ltd, is an example of how this can be done in practice. It has tens of holiday resort and spas all over Finland and other parts of Europe. They noticed that their customers were sharing loads of content while on vacation in their destinations, and they wanted to capture this content and make it visible. We all take pictures of the best moments of our vacation and love to share it. They thought, why not collect them and add them to the destination product cards?
We embedded Flockler’s technology into Holiday Club Resorts’ main website to create a social “holiday feelings” hub, where we were able to collect all the Instagram and Twitter updates their customers were already posting on social. Their customers were incentivized to engage with Holiday Club Resorts such as by inviting them to “send a photo of your pet on vacation” or to take part in other similar photo challenges. All the content that was created was then tagged based on the destination, and the best content was delivered to the destination pages of the booking engine running on Episerver CMS.
Integrating customers’ social endorsements saw a significant increase in Holiday Club Resorts’ ecommerce sales. All the product cards that included the integrated social feeds got increased page value of up to 33% (page value = received sales from the page divided by all visits of the page).
7. Test, fail & remodel
There are two fundamental variables in building successful content marketing campaigns: 1) excellent strategy and 2) right tactics. Any strategy is implemented into action with tactics. The most common tactics are digital newsletters, email marketing, influencer content, white papers, blogs, podcasts, video series, social content, case studies, eBooks, micro sites, landing pages, infographics and webinars. Your tactics and delivery methods are the first things to modify and change if you figure out that they don’t actually affect your business goals in a tangible way. Tactics are like multivariate testing of your content strategy. You need to be ready to question your strategy if only few or no tactics show impact. Test-based thinking takes your team to the path of designing long lasting and well-functioning content.
The content marketing process is easily scattered as it commonly involves a wide range of tasks assigned to in-house and external specialists like copywriters, video and audio producers, IT and graphical designers. It is essential that the specialists form a well-functioning planning group, with a mandate to finalize the structure and ways to measure the campaign. This multi-talented group should share the same analytics and mindset of the process and goals of the business and should be ready to value ‘fast failing’.
Failing fast is like a lifeboat to your business and it can only be done by actively measuring the key performance indicators (KPIs) of your campaign. It’s about being brave enough to quickly change the course of a campaign whenever the KPIs are not returning investment adequately. With that in mind failing fast and remodeling your message should be data driven. It is also obvious that some sales funnels take more time, because there are more considerations or multifaceted decision-making and budgeting involved. Notwithstanding, you should develop a measurement based agile mentality of working. It’s about analytics and continuous reporting as well as adopting a failing fast frame of mind.