70% of marketers plan to create more content in 2017 compared to 2016. It’s not surprising, given that content marketing has established itself as one of the most important specialisms within digital. Yet because of this, many content marketers are faced with a distinct challenge – to keep pace with the competition, there is a pressure to create much more content in much less time. When you combine this with the fact that creation is only one small facet of your role as a content marketer, the odds can seem very firmly stacked against you, despite your best intentions.
But what if you didn’t have to create more to achieve your content marketing goals?
The quality of the content you create is so much more meaningful than the quantity in which you produce it, and it’s easier than you might think to maximize the impact of your output.
As a content marketer, one of the best tactics you can make use of within your strategy is “evergreen” content – content that is still relevant and useful to its audience weeks, months, and sometimes even years after its original publication date. Evergreen content provides your followers with a timeless resource, can set you apart from your competitors (an important benefit when you consider that at least 2 million blog posts are written every day) and drive long-lasting, positive results.
Formats that lend themselves particularly well to evergreen content include ebooks, industry whitepapers, instructional videos and long-form blog articles. Evergreen content can be more concise too, but generally speaking, its purpose is to provide as much in-depth information as possible. Consider these two titles: “The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing Metrics” and “Facebook Rolls Out Video Updates: This Week in Social Media”. One article is relevant for a short time, and while engagement with the content might spike initially, it will very quickly become outdated. The other article has the potential to establish itself as a useful reference for marketers for a much more sustained period of time.
If the time available to you to create content is limited, which title should you focus your efforts on?
Evergreen content will rank better in search results for longer, which means you can accumulate more traffic and quality backlinks over a sustained period of time without the pressure of having to craft and distribute a high volume of news-worthy content on a regular basis.
We have already covered the benefits of User Generated Content from a brand building perspective – it offers businesses a credible and authentic endorsement directly from its customers that is an inordinately more powerful selling tool than any beautifully designed creative or thoughtfully constructed text ad. According to Business Insider, consumers who interact with User Generated Content are 97% more likely to convert with a retailer than customers who don’t.
UGC enables businesses to demonstrate to their target customers how much their peers already care about the brand, and by inviting them into their brand story, shows how much they care about their existing customers.
If your business sold homewares and furniture, you could encourage customers to post pictures of how they’ve used your products to style their homes and tag your brand in them. If you managed a chain of grocery stores, you could run a competition and ask users to share video content outlining recipes they’ve created using your groceries.
Retro men’s shorts brand Chubbies excel at UGC, using it as an opportunity to create compelling, real brand stories in collaboration with their customers. The essence of Chubbies lies in their desire for men to re-appropriate their weekends and relax in the kind of nostalgic 90s garments that used to define their leisure time. Incidentally, this manifesto also encompasses the death of the cargo pant. Identifying their target audience, Chubbies recruited college campus ambassadors to spread the word of their brand, encouraging their audience to tell the brand story in a relatable way:
The benefit of this is simple – Chubbies’ customers are speaking for themselves, reducing the time required to create content to persuade their target audience to purchase. This frees up the busy marketers in this start-up to focus on additional marketing activities and burning cargo pants.
Roundups posts are a specialized form of content curation that are a precious, time-saving gem for the content marketer with a seemingly insurmountable workload. At their simplest, they can exist as a collection of links to articles you’ve read on other industry publications throughout the week. The easiest way to do this is to use an RSS app such as Feedly to gather and organize content relevant to your interests, and bookmark the posts that you are particularly compelled by. Then, all you have to do is supplement the links with a little bit of original commentary – what you like about them and why.
Another options is to craft a post using the opinions of social influencers. For example, you could create a question about the best methods of content distribution and pose it to a list of authoritative figures in your industry. Create a quick introduction and then use their insights to form the bulk of your article’s content. Of course, their success is dependent upon whether or not your industry experts respond, but you can eliminate this possibility by reaching out to a higher volume of influencers. Not only does this save you having to write the majority of a blog post, your influential contributors will be more inclined to share your content with their (many) followers, which can significantly extend its reach and drive more traffic to your site.
Recycling content, much like evergreen, is centred upon a “less is more approach”. If you have limited time and resources, aim to amplify the content you do have time to create! Repurposing your blog articles can yield a number of key benefits – you’re creating multiple pieces of relevant content around the same topic, which can enhance your SEO and introduce your articles to a wider audience. It helps to establish you as an authority on the subject and, of course, it requires less effort to produce.
Use analytics tools to find out which of your blog posts have performed best over the course of a year. Use web analytics tools to ascertain which landing pages (i.e. blog articles) your site users visited most and the average time spent on each. This will give you an insight into your most popular posts, as well as those that best engaged your audience. Social media analytics such as Buzzsumo, or the native platforms of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will tell you which posts received the most shares. This data will inform you as to which posts you should refresh and repost. You can update the content within an old post, keeping its existing URL for SEO purposes. Many CMSes will allow you to change the publish date, which is helpful if you’re worried readers might be put off by the fact your article was first published three years ago. Alternatively, you can choose to recycle content in the format of a new article. Whichever you choose, your updated content will gain infinitely more traction if you make a point to re-share it regularly on social media – this can generate 75% of the engagement of the original share.
For more easy-to-action advice on how you can excel as a content marketer, regardless of your available budget or resources, download our free ebook here.