Content Marketing Spring Cleaning: How To Improve Your Results

Content Marketing Spring CleaningSpring has finally arrived with its clean, fresh light and sense of rebirth.

And it’s time to clean out your content marketing closets.

Your content needs a refresh.

This includes your blog, email and social media content.

But don’t start groaning yet.

Content marketing spring cleaning requires less work than you think.

Because the content already exists!

So you won’t spend time generating and vetting ideas.

Instead you only update and/or transform your road tested content. This requires less resources than creating brand spanking new content.

And, we’re here to help.

With your first quarter results as a guide, spring clean your content marketing to spark joy for your audience, employees, customers and you.


10 Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tactics You Can Use Now

To make content marketing spring cleaning easier, follow these 10 actionable marketing tactics and examples.

10 Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips Infographic

1. Audit your existing content based on results

Nothing says spring cleaning like weeding and preparing your garden.

Similarly, audit your marketing garden’s existing content.

Then, update, enhance and/or combine useful content and remove stale and/or outdated information.

To increase results!

In an April 2018 content audit, Siege Media pruned 15% of a site’s content. As a result, organic traffic increased 50%!

For an audit, inventory your content based on:

  • Page title
  • URL
  • Content type
  • Target persona and buyer stage (where appropriate)
  • Traffic
  • Time-on-Page
  • Bounce Rate
  • Keyword phrase and search data
  • Links, both internal and external
  • Social shares
  • Publication date and update(s) where appropriate
  • Author
  • Length
  • Images and other content
  • Call-to-Action

Audit tools include:

  • Screaming Frog (URLs)
  • Ahrefs, SEMRush or Majestic (backlinks)
  • Buzzsumo (social shares and backlinks)
  • Google Analytics (performance)

Short on time?
Then limit your audit to your top performing content and seasonally relevant information.

BUT–Don’t view your finished content complete!

Instead take Andrew Davis’s approach (Hat tip: Michele Linn!):
View published content as a chance to aerate your ideas and allow them to evolve.

Also check:

  • Internal Search Results Report to discover questions and/or words visitors used to find information on your website. Re-edit posts to optimize for visitors’ terms.
  • 404 Page Not Found Report shows incorrectly spelled links visitors clicked on. Generate reports from server logs or Google Analytics. Then, redirect these links to the correct pages.

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Check internal and external links still work. Where appropriate contact linking websites.
  • Create a visitor-friendly 404 Page to assist them. Include a search box and link to top categories and/or content. Content Marketing Institute’s 404 Page has a sense of humor. CMI 404 page


2. Improve your best and formerly top existing content

When you spring clean your packed clothes closets, you find outgrown, worn out items mixed in with your quality workhorses and forgotten gems. The same holds for your content marketing.

Just as you update old clothes with new accessories, update evergreen content with:

  • Newer data and charts
  • Better and/or additional visuals and/or video
  • Additional information
  • Relevant examples or case studies
  • Influencer input
  • Curated related internal articles
  • Add content upgrades where relevant

To determine which content to improve, use Michele Linn’s 5 Data Driven Opportunities Matrix. She developed it based on her experience as Head of Editorial for Content Marketing Institute. This process spotlights where to focus your content improvement to yield the maximum results for your resource use.

Long Playing Content

Chart of Michele Linn’s 5 Data Driven Content Opportunities to Yield Increased Results


By contrast, Buffer updates content that ranks 7th to 15th for specific search terms. When they updated their Social Media Analytics Tools post in 2017, daily traffic increased from 300 visits to 700 visits for the article.

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Add editor’s note stating its update status. Content Marketing Institute does this. Also, they add a visual “Back By Popular Demand” note.
  • Republish updated content. To avoid missing content problems, do this in real time. Also, note the original publication date.
  • Schedule content updates in your editorial calendar. This ensures resource allocation and reduces fresh content needs.
  • Distribute your updated post as if it were fresh content. This includes paid promotion!


3. Get rid of outdated content

When spring cleaning your content marketing, removing unwanted content is the same as weeding. Even better, by doing this, you help visitors and search engines find your best content faster. As a result, your content results improve.

Where you have an obvious content dud, remove it or replace it with content that better meets your audience’s needs. For content that is no longer relevant, use a short friendly messages and one or more links to better, more recent posts on the same topic.

Also add these steps to your content marketing spring cleaning:

  • Backup and optimize your website. Update any software and plugins that have more recent versions. If you’re using a CMS such as WordPress, install and run a database optimizer plugin. This will speed up your page loads.
  • Trash old draft posts. Let’s face it, there were ideas once thought worthy for a post but for one reason or another will never be published. Save any information that’s still valuable in your notes somewhere and delete these deadbeats.

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Redirect traffic to appropriate, similar content. Provide visitors with a seamless experience or they’ll hit the back button. For seasonal product that you no longer stock, re-route visitors to the relevant category page.
  • Add Noindex to pages you don’t want search engines to crawl such as Thank You pages.
  • Ensure that your internal search helps answer visitor questions. Examine the results for your website and/or blog’s search box. Create content for key searches.


4. Transform existing content into another format

While this seems obvious:
Before transforming your content into other formats, make sure it renders on mobile first.

If your content isn’t optimized for smartphone consumption, you’re missing a significant and growing portion of your potential readership.

The best advice for mobile content:

  • Keep it simple.
  • Make calls-to-action big buttons for fat fingers
  • Limit input form fields

To expand the audience for road tested content, convert it into other formats:

  • Visuals
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Presentations

Because research shows that visual support is 43% more persuasive! (Source: University of Minnesota)

Further, offer transformed content as a content upgrade to get visitors to share their email address. RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary converts popular posts to PDFs for later consumption.

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Aggregate existing series and blog posts into a larger piece of content, such as an ebook. This makes visitors feel like your content has more importance. Also it can provide new distribution opportunities such as Amazon.
  • Go print. Don’t overlook the potential for extending the reach of online content by offering it in print form as a newsletter, pamphlet or book. For example, Content Marketing Institute reuses its print magazine columns into blog posts.
  • Consider the potential for renovating older content using newer content format options. For example, the New York Public Library created visual, interactive versions of classic books like “Alice In Wonderland” and “A Christmas Carol” on Instagram. (They even won 3 Webby Awards for them!)


5. Check your search keywords

Regard irrelevant keyword terms and low search volumes like dust bunnies that collect out of view. You need to sweep them away during your content marketing spring cleaning.

When you go through your content audit and related inventory, check for keywords and phrases that no longer align with your major categories of search terms.

As part of this process assess the URLs, headlines and meta descriptions as well. You may find that content uses similar words that can be combined.

Also, changing the URL and/or headline may better support your current search strategy. If you change a URL for content you want to remain visible, redirect the old URL to the new URL.

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Add search related text to non-text content. Ensure that visuals, videos and presentations support your findability.
  • Include a text version of non-text content to aid findability, even if it’s machine generated. Chris Penn does this for his regular column, “You Ask, I Answer”. Penn provides his answers with video, audio and text.


6. Change your content distribution promotional presentation

Even if you’ve scheduled social shares of your content over time on key social media platforms, refreshing your promotional content helps keep it looking fresh and relevant.

Use these content elements for your content distribution and for visitor sharing:

  • Include the blog post’s URL and your branding in your visuals and charts. Also make them pinnable.
  • Make influencer quotes and data points tweetable. Don’t force visitors to think about sharing your content.

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Batch create and test multiple versions of your content promotion by platform. Ideally do this at the same time you create your content to get the most out of your content creation resources.
  • Enhance the promotion of your strong performing content. For example create a short video to promote the blog post.


7. Expand your content distribution to additional platforms

Tap into the power of other people’s audiences to extend your content distribution after establishing your ideas on your owned media.

Your goal is to build authority around a keyword phrase using related content.
Your options for publishing elsewhere include:

  • Regular column on another media entity. For example, I was the Actionable Analysis columnist for ClickZ.
  • Provide guest posts. While there are fewer opportunities now, guest posting remains a useful way to disseminate your ideas. (Note: Actionable Marketing Guide does NOT accept guest posts.)
  • Contribute to roundup posts. These posts take advantage of influencer name recognition. The Social Media Definition Roundup post was a great example of this type of content.
  • Participate in an interview. Interviews can be one-on-one or a panel discussion. Often interviews involve podcasts, videos, or live events.
  • Present at a webinar or live event. Act like a teacher to explain a topic. Reuse this content in a blog post and/or on Slideshare. While at SAP, Michael Brenner took an executive presentation and turned it into a highly successful Slideshare, 99 Facts on The Future of Business Digital Economy.

Also syndicate your content on LinkedIn Publishing, Medium or other third party sites like Business2Community.

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Have a plan for reusing each piece of content in multiple ways. Each iteration of road tested content doesn’t need to be developed at the same time.
  • Allocate resources for content transformation after your initial round of distribution. This includes budget for content creation, staff time to distribute and monitor results and paid promotion.


8. Scrub your email housefile

If subscribers don’t open your communications or, worse, route your emailings to “Junk”,  your email performance gets eroded. This hurts your email deliverability over time.

Regularly assess your email housefile:

  • Segment recipients who haven’t opened your email in 3 months. Before removing them, give them an offer to stay.
  • Analyze the remaining names to see if readers select specific types of information. This provides potential opportunities to tailor your content offering.

While doing your content marketing spring cleaning, review your

  • Email registration landing page (if you have one)
  • Email post-registration page (if you have one) Use this page to guide new readers to your best and most popular content.
  • Initial email confirmation. At a minimum, use this communication to get input regarding what subscribers want from you.
  • Email bait (if you offer special downloads or ebooks.) Update your content where appropriate.
  • Welcome series. Guide new subscribers to the breadth of your content by spotlighting your best content. Henneke has a 16 part welcome series that she packages as a writing course. Of course potential readers believe in its value! Email Welcome Series

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Maximize every opportunity for reader to email opt-in. Spotlight your email registration across owned and social media. Where appropriate, offer social proof like Orbit Media does.Orbit Media email signup
  • Email your content to employees on a regular basis. Where relevant encourage them to share it with their prospects, customers and social media contacts.


9. Update social media profiles to support content distribution

Use the change in seasons as a cue to update your business social profiles.

While keeping your brand consistent across platforms, add seasonal touches. Where possible change your header images to reflect your current content and social media focus for the quarter.

Remember: consumers expect a consistent experience across channels!

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Direct visitors to your owned content and other social media profiles. Use your social media profile to cross-promote your content. Check out Madalyn Sklar’s Twitter profile where she sends visitors to her owned media and Twitter Chats.
  • Include a link to your email signup where appropriate. Don’t assume that someone who follows you on social media will take the time to go to your website or blog to register.
  • Provide your contact information. Make it easy for social media visitors to find your real life business.


10. Spruce up your brand for spring and summer

Use your spring cleaning effort to brighten your brand and its context. The key to branding success for the spring and summer lighten your brand’s look and feel just as people do with their clothes and home decor.

While remaining true to your brand values, put your brand in the context of spring and summer activities and weather. Show how people use your brand and products during these warm periods (at least in the northern hemisphere.)

Actionable Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Tips:

  • Take advantage of this content marketing spring cleaning to review your brand guidelines. Check for brand consistency across divisions as well as for your organization as a whole. This includes logos, colors, typefaces, visual approach and verbal tone.
  • Make branding guidelines and assets available across your organization. Ideally post them on your intranet.

Content Marketing Spring Cleaning Conclusion

To ensure that your content reaches your target audience and motivates them to act, inspire some Marie Kondo joy with a content marketing spring cleaning.

Get rid of your non-performing or outdated content. Where appropriate, combine similar content into a more in-depth piece and use redirects to ensure a seamless experience.

Next update and spiff up your best performing, road tested content.

Further, ensure that these articles provide off-ramps to other content, email registration, lead generation, or purchase.

Then expand your content audience by creating other content formats such as visual, video, audio and presentations. Again optimize this content for findability.

Also examine your email housefile to keep it performing at its best. Remove non-opens and get newbies into the habit of opening your emailings.

Further, update your brand for spring and summer. Let your brand be a content fashionista and strut its warm weather stuff.

Lastly, continue to monitor your content marketing performance.

Remember you need to know what’s working and what doesn’t.

What are your content marketing spring cleaning tips?
Please include them in the comment section below.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and Google+.


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