For me, June is planning month. June is the time where I stop all the travel and start thinking about planning for the year-end events and into 2015. It’s also the perfect time to check all of those 2014 strategies and make sure we are on the right path with our content marketing efforts.
The tips below are in no particular order, as they are all equally worth addressing:
- Do a subscriber gut-check: It might be time to look at your subscription database against your customer database. Do you see any differences between those customers who subscribe to your content versus those who don’t? Do they buy more? Do they stay longer?
- Coordinate a content consortium: Whether you work for a small business or a large enterprise, you have many people in your company creating content. Most likely, none of these people are talking, or if they are, they don’t all understand the business strategy for how content is used in the organization. Your job (if you choose to accept it) is to identify all those people in each department responsible for content creation. Once you identify them, get them in a room together. After time, you’ll find out how much duplicate content you are creating, and how many new opportunities for content creation and distribution there really are.
- Add outcomes to your editorial calendar: In whatever editorial calendaring system you use, add a column for outlining desired outcomes — i.e., what the reader/watcher/listener/attendee is supposed to get out of that content. How does the content improve their lives or jobs in some way? Document this, and refer to it often as your content is assigned and created.
- Add a “from–blog-to-what?” line in your editorial calendar: Most of us have blogs, but how are you repurposing the blog content to extend its value? As part of your editorial calendar, add a section that asks, “from–blog-to-what?” — i.e., what other pieces of content could this blog post grow into? Perhaps an eBook or white paper? Maybe a podcast or research report… or possibly even a small workshop. Doing this will solve many of your content repurposing challenges. (Just fyi, I used this strategy for writing my last book, Epic Content Marketing. Many of the blog posts were strategically created to fill chapter holes.)
- Check your unsubscribe reports: First, are you asking why subscribers unsubscribe? If you are, what’s the most common reason you see? Consider contacting some readers who have opted out and chatting them up a bit to see what you could have done better. Talking to current subscribers is a great idea as well.
- Talk to at least one salesperson per month: You are likely creating lots of marketing materials specifically to help sales, but odds are you never talk to your sales team members as part of this process. Make it a point to ask sales what they are hearing in terms of customer challenges. Are they seeing value in the content you create? If you can, go on a sales call with your salesperson. If you want to truly create a relationship with sales, you need to get on the road with them.
- Consider launching an internal speaker’s bureau: Though he recently left Ford Motor Company, Scott Monty was, perhaps, the company’s best speaker and spokesperson ever. Unfortunately for many companies, they only have one person who is capable of serving in this type of capacity — so if they lose that person, they are screwed. Your job, as a content marketer, is to diversify your roster of available spokespeople. Look internally and find evangelists in various areas of your business who can take your content to the streets. Consider placing them to speak at industry events. This, in turn, creates many new opportunities for additional content distribution.
- Work your influencer list: Do you have an influencer list identified (where do your customers hang out on the web if they are not on your site)? If you don’t, start with a list of 10 and work the social media 4-1-1 strategy. Then, bake those influencers into your content creation efforts for increased sharing and partnership opportunities.
- Test your content on various mobile devices: Is your site content responsive? Does it function correctly and can it be viewed clearly and consistently if accessed on a mobile device? How about your email newsletters? If your answer is “no,” to any of these questions, it may be time for a redesign.
- A/B test your email subject lines: Send two different versions of your subject line out to a small segment of your audience as a test. Whichever one gets opened more is the one that should be sent to your full list. It’s that easy.
- Check your content pages for calls to action (CTAs): Every page of content you publish has a job it needs to accomplish. Double check your content landing pages to make sure each one has a specific purpose for existing, and a call to action that helps it get achieved.
- Check your most popular “evergreen” web pages: What are your top 10 overall evergreen pages? Go back to each one and make sure the CTA is correct and check whether or not the content needs to be updated in some way.
- Refresh your distribution “why?” list: Make a list of all the distribution sources for your content (i.e., email, Facebook, your blog site, etc.). Then put a big WHY? at the top. List out the reason (i.e., the business purpose) you are creating and distributing content on that platform. Odds are you won’t know the answer for all of them, but at least you can identify the channels that need refinement and, perhaps, take a second look at whether you need some of them at all.
What are some mid-year resolutions that you are working on?
For more great tips to keep your content marketing current and on-track, read Epic Content Marketing, by Joe Pulizzi.
Cover image via Bigstock