Few things feel better than a freshly cleaned house just as spring arrives. However, it’s not just the baseboards and the windows that need a good scrubbing. Your content marketing strategy can benefit from some elbow grease too, jump start the spring season with these content marketing cleaning tips.
Gather Your Tools
Image via Flickr by go_greener_oz
When you clean your house, you need tools to help you scrub away the grime. The same proves true for cleaning up your content marketing strategy.
First, you need a documented content strategy. What goals have you formulated for the next month, the next year, and the next five years? Strategies should live on paper — not in your head — so you can share them with others and get buy-in from the rest of your team.
You also need a reliable analytics program. If you’re not tracking your content’s metrics, how do you know what drives traffic or boosts sales and what doesn’t? Armed with these tools, you can align your strategy with your company’s values, goals, and historical performance.
Start at the Top
If you start spring cleaning with the vacuum cleaner, you’ll later knock dust all over your floor with the duster. A top-down strategy works best, both for spring cleaning your home and whipping your content marketing strategy into place.
Examine your existing content. Which pieces of content perform best? You can repurpose that content to leverage its earlier success. Expand on it to create a white paper, or trim it down for an email series.
Look for any problem areas, too. Just as you might find chipped paint or torn upholstery during spring cleaning, this process can also reveal issues with your existing content, such as the following:
- Duplicate content: Google punishes duplicate content because the search engine doesn’t want to serve up identical information when a user conducts a search. Find any duplications and remove them from your website.
- Missing content: If you’ve moved content to another page on your website, you’ll lose the inbound links and search engine ranking. Create 301 redirects so both consumers and search engines can find the missing content.
- Weak content: You might have created content in the past that no longer applies to your audience or that seems weak when compared to newer content. Consider refreshing or expanding it to make it more useful.
Now that you’re starting with a strong slate, you can move on to more detailed cleaning.
Clear the Dust Bunnies
People change their email addresses and unsubscribe from email lists all the time. To avoid getting into trouble with your email host, clean your database at least once a year. Scrub out any emails marked “undelivered” or that belong to people who have unsubscribed.
Additionally, make sure your leads get the right emails. You might have a database for consumers at various stages in the sales funnel, so assign each lead to the correct list. To keep your email list cleaner from now on, focus on narrowing instead of expanding your list. In other words, don’t try to attract anyone who might express a vague interest in your company. Seek email addresses from people who represent strong leads.
Mix it Up
You might notice during a spring content audit that you’re covering one subject more than all the others. A well-balanced blog, email campaign, or advertising strategy targets each potential customer. You might write blog posts for people who have already bought your products for customer retention, then others for people who have just found your company. Cleaning can get a little monotonous, but mixing up your content types helps stem the drudgery. Use this step as a proactive way to reach new consumers.
Evaluate Your Methods
When spring cleaning your home, you might find yourself repulsed by the dust, dirt, and other detritus you find in every room. Maybe you haven’t found the right cleaning maintenance strategy yet. The same goes for your content marketing strategy. Track your traffic over the last year and look for patterns. Maybe you’ve generated some poor content that sullied your brand. Perhaps you haven’t made a plan to engage with your audience.
Define your key performance indicators, or KPIs, so you can track your content moving forward. It’s easier to create great content when you know exactly what goals you want to achieve. For instance, a how-to article on your blog might help educate your audience, while a product overview could help drive sales. Align your content with your KPIs for the best results.
Establish a Calendar
Your home stays cleaner if you tackle the dirt and dust on a regular schedule. Now that you’ve done a deep clean, create a calendar for keeping your home in tip-top shape. While you’re at it, do the same for your content marketing strategy. An editorial calendar lets you plan blog and social media posts weeks or months in advance. Use the calendar to decide the direction your content should take and the steps required to hit your KPIs.
Remember that KPIs don’t matter if they aren’t specific. Don’t say you want to increase blog traffic. Instead, decide that you’ll increase blog traffic by 15 percent in the next six months. Your editorial calendar serves as a roadmap for reaching your goal. It’s also a great way to schedule content delivery through a content marketing agency. If you outsource your content needs, you can make sure you receive the right content at the right time with your calendar.
Let Go of Perfection
Nobody’s house stays perfectly clean for longer than 10 minutes. Similarly, your content marketing strategy won’t always (or even often) result in viral videos or blog posts with hundreds of comments. Spring cleaning allows you to refresh your work environment and your content marketing strategy, but it doesn’t make it perfect. Focus on improving instead of perfecting your approach to content.
Now that winter is nearly over and spring awaits on the horizon, spring cleaning is on everyone’s mind. Use this time to refresh your content as well as your home.