Give Your Content A New Lease On Life and A Second LTV
As pressure increases to show measurable content ROI, marketers will focus on enhanced existing content marketing.
Enhanced existing content marketing up-cycles your published content with low marketing investment to improve results such as increased leads or sales.
Improving existing content isn’t a new concept.
As content marketing continues to grow, marketers will discover that their content budgets (aka their corporate allowances) won’t keep up without showing ROI accountability. As the Content Marketing Institute/MarketingProfs Content Research has shown year after year, this is still a challenge.
In the process, marketing departments will split into 2 separate functions:
- New content creation: Focus on developing new content and related atomization. There will be increased pressure to maximize the results of each content effort. Content marketing will take on acquisition functions to build brand awareness and generates leads.
- Enhanced existing content: Focus on improving the content an organization already has. This isn’t as sexy as creating bright shiny new content. These existing content marketing functions are a lot like retention marketing from existing customers.
This article is an enhanced existing content marketing primer. It defines enhanced existing content marketing and supplies a process for improving your organization’s published content performance.
Enhanced existing content marketing definition
Enhanced existing content marketing is the improvement of published content to increase its ability to attract prospects and generate sales. It applies to the full breadth of your organization’s content extending beyond marketing to include product, customer service, human resources and other information.
Enhanced existing content marketing is the hallmark of the beginning of contextual marketing. It marks content marketing’s coming of age. It now must distinguish between new content aimed at branding, lead generation and sales and existing content aimed at keeping your business presence active and yielding incremental, profitable sales.
Enhanced existing content marketing taps into the power of contextually relevant microdata. It laser-focuses on the content that works best, can be easily improved or updated and repromoted. It places value on a mobile first, cross device, cross platform approach.
It aims to make once and done content a thing of the past and eliminate orphan content that’s overlooked and forgotten.
Enhanced existing content marketing is defined by these 4 attributes:
- Occurs post-publication. In its first lifetime, content is atomized to maximize the initial creative investment by creating all content at the same time.
- Takes into account performance to-date and content audit. As published content, existing content has a track record. Focus on the best performing pieces. They’ll yield better results, attract a bigger audience and maintain search results.
- Requires incremental creative resources (although less than the original.)
- Uses content curation and intelligent content to keep the content top of mind.
Enhanced existing content marketing extends your content lifespan by creating a second lifetime value (LTV). Since the initial creative investment is sunk (ie-spent in a prior period), your enhanced existing content marketing is more profitable. You only pay to improve and promote existing content, not create new stuff from scratch.
Therefore, leads and sales cost less than the original investment. In most cases, enhanced existing content marketing won’t have the same reach as the original but it’s at a much lower cost.
5 Enhanced existing content marketing tactics
Here is a 5 step process to maximize your existing content results.
1. Assess existing content related microdata
While outside data and market research is useful for benchmarking, measure your results against internal standards and periods. Ensure your data is adjusted for differences in days or holidays.
Start your enhanced existing content marketing process to determine these 3 top-level categories. This is best done with a regular content audit.
Specifically your checking which content is performing well and helping achieve our business objectives? Assess milestones towards purchase and retention.
- What content works. Critically examine every good piece of content. Can you improve it to yield increased results; can you add related content?
- What content has ho-hum performance. Can it be tweaked with small fixes (versus a total overhaul) such as titles, images and optimization and promotion support.
- What content is no longer useful. Nothing you can do will improve it. This often happens with timely content that took advantage of trending topics. If you don’t have a good reason to keep it, let it go.
10 Point enhanced existing content marketing checklist to improve results
For the content you decide to keep, assess each piece for the following 10 elements:
- Is the content positioned correctly? Are we reaching the right audience at the right time?
- Is the content adapted to the appropriate devices your audience uses? Think mobile first.
- Which content formats perform best for our audience and influencers?
- Which media platforms yield the best results? Think owned, social media and third party media.
- What type of creative resonates best with your audience? Think colors, images and typeface. Make sure your audience can read it.
- What headlines yield the best response from your audience?
- Which topics hit a sweetspot with your readers? Are you covering them fully?
- Which keywords perform the best? Are you using the same words that your audience uses? Is your content optimized for these keywords?
- Is the content part of a regular, on-going repromotion strategy?
- Is additional advertising budget needed?
2. Test existing content to improve performance
To maximize existing content performance, test different elements of your content presentation. Small tweaks can have large impact. Once you find out what works you can extend it to other content.
Start testing small aspects of your presentation without getting the most sophisticated tools and budget. Depending on the level your traffic, it may not take a lot of input.
Test the most important elements of your content first such as the call-to-action and landing pages.
Use two small samples and only test one element at a time. If you change a number of things you may not know what works best. Testing lots of elements at the same time requires sophisticated tools for multivariate analysis.
Read Which Test Won, Brian Massey, Tim Ash and Marketing Experiments to get ideas and learn what works for other businesses. These resources help reduce your testing options and save time. As they say in the car ads: your results may vary.
These tests aren’t once and done. You must continually test what works best for your audience, the platform and type of content.
3. Improve existing content
[Note: I intentionally didn’t use the word optimization. Content optimization has very specific associations to make your information more visible through content optimization and SEO.]
To improve your existing content follow these 7 steps:
- Augment or change images, other media and presentation format.
- Update information. Add more or newer data sources. Jonathon Colman has a great example.
- Improve search optimization by following best practices.
- Upgrade the headline and lede. If your content is published online and has an associated URL don’t change it or you’ll risk loosing your traffic. Tweak or change your headline!
- Connect existing content to newer content based on the topic. Buffer has a prime example; it created an infographic and connected the 2 blog posts. As an extension of the existing content, it should be consistent with the old content and be created by the existing content.
- Associate content to newer product. This is key where new or changing inventory is involved. To maximize leads and sales, make sure to track these links. This should be recorded to ensure redirects exist. This matters on sites like Pinterest where prospects may see your product months later.
- Add or enhance calls-to-action and related landing pages. Include the ability to track where appropriate.
4. Continue repromoting existing content.
Make existing content part of your on-going content promotion.
Many content marketers focus on their new content efforts. Who doesn’t love their babies?
The adage “Out of sight, out of mind” still holds true for your content.
It’s your responsibility to keep your content visible. You have to proactively keep it in front of your target audience.
Your existing content repromotion is the responsibility of your content curator (Here are 7 steps for content curation success). Your content curator manages the content repromotion process and finds new ways to present your existing content on your owned media and elsewhere. For example, Jodi Harris is the content curator for Content Marketing Institute. Check this curation example of hers.
Content repromotion includes the following:
- Enhanced linking in the text of new content. Where possible make the older content standout.
- Added links to related content at the end of new content. This can be hand selected or done via a tool.
- Curated content composed of existing content. Give your existing content a new lease on life with a new article or presentation. For example, best of last month or last year articles do this. It makes sure that everyone sees your best stuff.
- Spotlighted older content in your email newsletters. Take a page from RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary’s playbook. Give readers a reason to check an older article.
- Continual social media sharing. This can be regular or for time relevant periods. Don’t overlook the power of responding to people who share or comment on existing content via social media or content links.
- Advertising support where appropriate. Depending on where you promote your content, it may need some spending money.
- Uberized content. Don’t create duplicate content but think about where else you can publish edited versions of your best content. Think LinkedIn Publishing and Medium. Alternatively, write guest posts for third party sites. Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina calls this the “evil twin”.
5. Measure existing content efforts
Content marketing budgets will require proof of effectiveness in the form of ROI.
Just the exercise of measuring results improves marketing ROI according to 2014 Hubspot research.
When you enhance your existing content marketing, your content yields better results by its nature. Specifically, it costs less to improve existing content than it does to create original content. Therefore, your return on your investment is higher.
While your existing content results won’t be as high as the original ones, they create a second lifetime value.
In working with existing content, you’re selecting your best performing content and improving it. Unlike original content that your target audience has never seen and you don’t know whether it’ll be a hit or a flop.
Track the following for enhanced existing content marketing:
- Measure key contributions towards purchase and other business goals. Don’t just track the last piece touched.
- Track email registrations, leads generated and sales. This should be associated with your business goals.
- Monitor result quality. Do your new email registrants and customers perform the same way as your existing base?
- Track incremental expenses. Know how much you spent improving your content.
- Keep a record of what worked and what didn’t. Don’t assume that you’ll remember. This is important for your business.
2016 is the year content marketers pivot to focus on enhanced existing content marketing. It’s the sign that content marketing has grown up and needs to start paying its own way.
As such it’s the starting point for contextual marketing. Your content will need to be contextually relevant to your target audience regardless of where, when, why, and what they’re doing. It’s device agnostic.
You’ll need your existing content to keep a constant flow of quality visitors that translate to leads and sales. Like marketing to your existing customers, this content marketing costs less and provides a learning lab to improve your new content iterations.
With this change, content curators will gain prominence in the content marketing hierarchy. Your content curation strategy will be key to maximizing the impact of your existing content.
As you start to build your enhanced existing content resources, bear in mind that they need to be integrated into your overall content marketing strategy and your overall marketing plans to achieve your business goals.
What has your experience with enhanced existing content marketing been?
This 7-step process will help you define and refine your 2016 business growth goals and segment them into achievable marketing objectives.
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