Content Marketing 101: Now What?

(This is the fourth and final part of a 4 part series. You can find Part I, Part II, and Part III here on the blog. It is recommended if you are new to content marketing that you read those posts first.)

In this, our last and final post on introducing you to what content marketing is and what it can do for you, we’re going to talk about what happens, or at least should happen, once you’ve published your content for all the world to see or hear or read.

In the content marketing world, this is known as analyzing, repurposing, and republishing your content.

We’ll break each one down, give a brief description of it, show you an example, and explain why you should utilize it in your content marketing efforts.

Ready? Let’s get rollin’!

Analyzing Your Content Marketing

Some guys really get juiced over data. They could stare at charts and graphs and stats all day. Not me, but that doesn’t mean I don’t use a little bit of that stuff to guide my content marketing efforts.

How I Use My Data

I use Google Analytics on the blog. It tells me how many readers each post gets, how many comments, and where those readers and commenters are from. It also tells me when they read and comment. And all of that is very valuable to me as a content marketer.

Facebook and LinkedIn give me stats on my posts there, too. Some of the same info, but not always. I use all these numbers to determine some very important things.

For instance, all my blog posts go live on Tuesday. This is because most of my readers visit the site sometime in the latter half of the week, from Wednesday on. Publishing new content on Tuesday means there’s always something fresh for them to enjoy.

From previous blogging efforts of mine, and in working with client blogs, I know that posts between 750 and 1500 words do the best with readers. A few of mine go over that every now and then, but again, readers like variety, so it doesn’t seem to hurt the blogs any.

How to Use Your Data

You can follow your own stats and determine some of the very same aspects of your blog. When do you get the most visitors? What posts get the best responses? What type of content has the worst performance? Are they reading/watching/listening to the first offering of the week, but not the second? (Too much content can be a bad thing.)

And how about your promotional and engaging efforts on social media? When’s the best time to post on your profiles? What type of posts get the most comments, likes, engagement? What type of posts gets the most click-thrus to your main content source?

Follow the money may work for some guys, but for content marketers, we need to follow the data.

Repurposing Your Content

Don’t just assume that you can hit “Publish” and be done with any particular piece of content. You can be, but it’s best if you aren’t.

There’s a “thing” we do in content marketing called repurposing. We take really good tidbits of existing content and we create new and different content with them.

How to Repurpose Content

How does that work? Here are some good, easy-to-do examples:

  • taking a really juicy statement and creating a “pull quote” from a blog post
  • taking stats from a data-heavy post and making an infographic with them
  • using a pull quote in an image or graphic
  • dumpster diving into several posts to create a listicle
  • using post content to create a one-pager or lead magnet
  • making sure there’s a transcript available of every podcast’s audio
  • compiling posts into an ebook or Kindle edition
  • taking a series of informational posts and creating a course

Granted, those last two aren’t for the newbie content marketer, but they show just how valuable content can live more than one life.

Why Repurpose Old Content?

Repurposing gets your older, existing content in front of new eyes, fresh minds, creating bonds with the newcomers to your brand. It also can breathe life into a valuable piece whose traffic has drifted off in search of that “greener grass on the other side”.

The best way to repurpose content is to create a repurposing plan. The easiest way to do that is to simply denote on your content marketing strategy plan when you will repurpose the piece after it’s been published, and how. What are you going to do with it? When will it makes it’s grand debut in its new form? You may not be able to decide the what until the piece is finished, but the when can be scheduled. You can create a long play – choosing weeks or even months after publishing. Or, you can repurpose this week’s content in your efforts to promote it this month.

The decisions are yours to make. The only wrong decision is to not repurpose your content at all.

Republishing Your Content

Whereas repurposing your content marketing efforts requires you to recreate the content in a different form, republishing doesn’t require much work at all.

That’s because you are simply going to give it a freshening up and then send it out into the world again.

Why Republish Content

Why would you do this? Four good reasons:

  • It refreshes valuable content with updated information. Say you’ve created a post about plant-based nutrition. It got some good responses and has a lot of basic info in it. Science has come along, however, with new and slightly different recommendations. Or some products you suggested are no longer available, and other ones have taken their place. Update the info and republish it as a new piece.
  • It’s good for your SEO. An older piece has established itself with the rankings and the bots. Republishing an updated version can keep it in their good graces.
  • Gets new eyes on old stuff. If you have been around for awhile, and have done your content marketing job well, you’ve undoubtedly grown your audience. Republishing older pieces with a bit of a refresh gets that old content in front of your new followers. It gives them the chance to experience what your older readers already have. It strengthens the bonds between them, and between you and them.
  • It can fill your publishing calendar during busy times. That ski trip over the holidays, or the weeks after baby is born, or the time it will take to pack and move across town or across the country needn’t be a time for your blog or podcast or email newsletters to go dark. You can fill it with old content that’s been spruced up a bit (and repurposed content, too) and not worry about leaving your followers hanging.

Putting a new date and a few updates on old content is an easy, quick, and efficient way to reuse your hard work to your best advantage.

How to Choose Content for Republishing

How to choose which content to republish? Use your data and your content marketing strategy plan.

First, choose pieces that did well the first time around. They apparently appeal to your audience and should do so again.

Next, look at the date of original publication. Don’t use anything newer than 6 months. It’s too soon. However, you can go back as far as you want.

Then, consult your plan and see what you can fit in with your existing content. As a result, you won’t interrupt a good run on one topic with an old post that discusses something completely “out there’ and off the wall.

Lastly, check the content for any “current event” or pop culture references and either update or remove them. The Uptown Funk challenge is over, after all. Note other updates needed, and you’re good to go.

You can do a formal content audit, or have one done, if need be, but following the guidelines above should help you find older content fit for republishing.

Summing Up

Maybe you haven’t even created your first piece of content yet. Maybe you’ve been blogging for 10 years. Whether you’ve hit “Publish” or Post the first time or the 1001st time, now you know that the job isn’t finished just because your content has gone live. Your SEO, your ROI, your audience, and your biz will all be better off with a bit of data analysis, a little content repurposing, and some content republishing thrown in.

This concludes our four part series on content marketing for the beginner. You should have enough info to at least have an intelligent conversation with a professional content marketer and creator like me. If you’re ready to have that conversation, drop me a note. I’ll be happy to sit down and talk with you.

If you’d like to just leave a comment, or if you have a question about what you should be doing after you send your content out onto the world’s stage, leave it below.

Content Marketing 101: Some (Very) Basic Content Marketing Strategy

(This is Part III in a four-part series. Click on these links to find Part I and Part II.)

Now that you know what content marketing is, and the outcomes it can give you and your biz, let’s talk a bit about how to put this wonderful resource into action.

Remember back in the first post in this series, when we defined content marketing as a “strategic marketing effort“? That’s what we’re going to dig into today – how to create content that meets your purposes and needs.

(You’re not going to be a content marketing strategist by the end of this blog post, by any means. But you will have a better understanding of some very basic content strategy and how to use it.)

Content Marketing Strategy – Step 1

For the purposes of this post, we’re going to create a fictional health and wellness pro, a massage therapist named Julie.

The first step in creating Julie’s content marketing strategy is to decide on her main outcome or objective. We went over that in Part II. Who does Julie want her content to make her into, in the eyes of her audience?

Julie has decided she wants to become her tribe’s expert authority and trusted source for accurate and up-to-date information.

Secondarily, Julie wants to create a kickass online and real-world tribe, as well. She recognizes the value in a loyal group of followers who can not only advocate for her business, but perhaps for some of her beloved “causes” as well.

Lastly, Julie wants to be a life influencer. She wants to change minds and dispel myths surrounding what she does specifically, and what a healthy body is, in general. She wants people to come to her with their questions, their concerns, and join her in changing others’ minds and lives, too.

So, Julie is looking at three outcomes, with being an expert first and foremost, and being a community and thought leader somewhere in there, as well.

She’s taken the first step in creating her content marketing strategy.

It really is that simple.

Content Marketing Strategy – Step 2

Julie’s next important decision to make is what type of content is she going to use.

Will she be blogger? Maybe a podcaster? Maybe use a video platform like YouTube or Instagram? Create visuals to share on Pinterest or Twitter? Or just go the route of so many and hang up a shingle on Facebook?

(A quick note here – a website of your own is a must for any content marketer. Parking all your valuable content on someone else’s property is placing all that hard work, dedication, and hopes and dreams in jeopardy. What if, tomorrow, Facebook or Insta decided to charge extra for video content? Or if something like the proposed TikTok ban actually occurs? Where will your marketing efforts be then?)

Some of this decision will be influenced by knowing herself. Julie loves to do live demonstrations and hands-on teaching, so video is probably a good choice to fit her personality. Some of it will be determined by where her local clients are already hanging out on the internet. And that seems to be Facebook and Instagram. And Julie is smart enough to know about digital sharecropping from her consultation with me, so we’ve already got her own website in the works.

What Julie decides to do is create videos and some textual posts and become a vlogger/blogger. She’ll use her Insta and Facebook profiles to promote her vlog/blog, share small bits of information, and start conversations.

Her platform has been chosen, and her profiles are prepared. Julie’s ready to move on to step 3.

Content Marketing Strategy – Step 3

Step 3 for Julie is create a very basic content creation plan for herself. Since she has one main outcome and two secondary outcomes, we’ve decided she’ll be best off utilizing a 3:1:1 ratio for her content.

That means she’ll create one engaging/community building post and one encouraging/thought leadership post for every 3 educational posts she puts up on her vlog/blog. (She will use more engagement on her social media profiles, but we’re talking her main source for content marketing here.)

Frequency

Next, she’ll have to decide how often she’s going to update her vlog/blog. She thinks she can handle two new posts a week, especially if they are videos she can shoot in a few minutes.

The written plan

Once that is decided, she has to get a plan down on paper or screen somewhere – a notebook or a spreadsheet on her laptop will do the trick. I told Julie how studies have shown that having a written plan for content marketing can increase her chances of success by as much as 70%.

Topics

She’ll start off with 24 rows – one for each post for a quarter of the year. The first thing she’ll do is brainstorm those 24 topics, with 15 of them being educational, and 4 posts each of engaging and encouraging content. This leaves a post “left over” for addressing a current event or doing a promotional enticing post of some sort. That plan follows her ratio pretty well.

Dates

Now Julie knows she needs variety, and she’s already got built in variety with her three outcomes. She just needs to make sure she schedules that variety into her posting. So, across the top of her plan, she places a date to publish the post. That way, she doesn’t have to just go straight down her list and yet still be able to track what type of posts she’s been recently creating.

Next is to decide when to create the posts. I always encourage self-creators to have at least 2 posts created, posted, and scheduled ahead of time. That way, Murphy’s Law can’t catch up with your content marketing very easily. It gives you a safety net for things like illness, unexpected house guests, or even a natural disaster that disrupts power or internet services.

With this in mind, Julie decides to work a week ahead, so she adds another column, the date to create. She knows on that day, she has to shoot the video or write the blog post, and the posts for Facebook and Insta promoting her latest new content, and get them scheduled in HootSuite.

Done

For Julie, that’s it, for now. Later, she wants to meet and discuss things like categories and tags and some very basic SEO for her vlog and blog. For now, though, she just wants to get up and running and see if she can even “make this thing work”. So a very simple, very basic, content marketing strategy plan is all she needs.

Content Marketing Strategy and You

Now, it’s your turn. Do you think, given what you’ve just read and learned, that you could create a simple, basic content marketing strategy plan for you and your biz? It’s a valuable tool, whether you are a self-creator like Julie, or hire a creator like me to do the work for you.

It’s the first step that every new client and I take together, creating a plan for me to follow that puts their content to work for them in the best way possible.

Never publish without a purpose, and your content marketing strategy plan puts that purpose on paper, for all the world to see, understand, and follow. Any questions? Comments? Post them below. Want a content marketing strategy plan of your own and not sure you’re as capable of creating one as Julie is? Contact me. I’ll be happy to set up a strategy session for you.