Why Interconnected Content Is The On Ramp to Your Content Marketing Offering
While we create one content effort at a time, no piece of content is an island.
We develop related content to extend its reach and effectiveness to get beyond one and done content. As Michael Brenner says, “Behind every piece of unused content is an executive who wanted it.”
Kapost data showed that 70% of content is only used once. It shines in the marketing spotlight before quickly dropping from sight when the next piece arrives.
To avoid this fate and increase content lifetime:
- Adapt content to be contextually relevant for different platforms to broaden its appeal.
- Repromote and curate content to expand distribution and keep it visible.
- Repurpose existing content to maintain its reader appeal and search engine relevance. Vox found updated articles generated additional views.
By maximizing visibility and driving readers to existing content, you cost-effectively improve return on your content marketing investment.
While this content gets consumed and possibly gathers email addresses, warm leads and/or sales, it’s a reader dead end. After getting the content, the reader isn’t encouraged to consume more content or take further action. Instead, she waits passively for marketing or sales to act.
Interconnected Content Defined
To overcome this challenge, provide interconnected content experiences to aid visitors discover and consume more content. This is particularly important for top of the funnel content since most shoppers, B2B and B2C, start their research online before marketers are aware they’re in-market.
Honestly, I never thought about interconnected content until I did a deep dive on interactive content. By its nature, interactive content pulls visitors out of their passive reading mode to take one or more activities on an engaged journey.
After testing different interactive content experiences , I was struck by the lack of continuity. The landing pages and responder emails didn’t provide further reading or actions.
Ensure your interactive content relates to the information that attracted readers to your site, allows them to take different paths during the interaction, and links them to additional information after their experience.
Your goal is to lead prospects further along their purchase travels.
The “customer journey” isn’t a single customer process along our content super highway. Rather each prospect uses different devices and content discovery methods.
Each buyer or purchase influencer gathers information in different order. To help them, offer interconnected content to guide them along their buying journey.
Answer: What content must your prospect have to decide to purchase from your firm?
As marketers, we’re so immersed in the content that we overlook what visitors want and the order in which they consume it.
Interconnected content is related information that helps the reader continue along a path based on her interests and needs, not yours. Each piece of information informs the next one. There’s relevance between each piece of content.
Think of your content as chunks that may be consumed in a different order by different visitors. This is at the core of dynamic and deeper personalized content where you serve based on readers’ activities. For a better appreciation of this concept, read Rebecca Lieb’s Content: The Atomic Particle of Marketing.
To associate interconnected content with existing content, think:
- Pre-content consumption. Communications and advertising that lead readers to your content.
- During content consumption. The primary content they’re reading.
- Post-content consumption. The content they read next.
To ensure your content is interconnected, use a hub and spoke model. From an interconnected content perspective each piece of content is related to others around your hub.
How to link your interconnected content
To ensure visitors find related content, make the associations for them by creating off-ramps to interconnected content through out their content journey.
If you don’t guide readers, they won’t know you’ve got related content they’re interested in.
Focus on guiding visitors through your content. Anything else on the page should allow readers to jump ahead, register or contact you.
1. Pre-arrival interconnected content options
- Create related content for social media, other owned content and third party sites to guide readers to your content.
- Use similar keywords to show search engines the content is related.
- Add links in your existing related content.
2. During consumption interconnect content options
- Include links to related content and products.
- Curate related articles. Take a page from Content Marketing Institute’s playbook to consistently spotlight related content.
Content Marketing Institute makes links to older related content stand out in the post.
- Add different content formats such as audio, visuals, and video.
3. Post-consumption interconnect content options
Use conclusions to remove reader action obstacles and explain next steps. Don’t assume readers will do what you want them to do. Minimize reader effort.
- Offer email signup. Use every piece of content to build your email file.
- Allow readers to save the content to Pocket or email it. Research shows that most readers don’t read the entire article. Let them read it later or share it.
- Let readers download the article. Make every piece of content a download. Include contact information and easy-to-type reference URLs to cover hardcopy sharing.
- Allow readers to ask questions and contact you. Use chat or messaging functionality, phone numbers and a contact-us form.
- Offer related content. Add links to similar information.
- Encourage sharing. Allow readers to share your content.
How to use interconnected content to reduce content off-ramps
Once you’ve captured a visitor’s information you’ve entered the next stage of your marketing. Just as getting a job interview doesn’t mean you’ve got the job you still have to interview to be the buyer’s choice of supplier.
This is where there’s often a marketing-sales disconnect. Purchasers need more information to qualify your firm.
Beyond budget quotas, you want to qualify customers who are a good fit for your business or they’ll cost you money and aggravation. This is why Marcus Sheridan has a “Who Is Not A Good Fit For Us” page on his website.
Here are the 3 major content off-ramps you can reduce with interconnected content:
1. Landing pages
Focus information on landing pages and remove distractions to aid reader action.
Bear in mind gating content reduces downloads so ensure that you’re collecting the least amount of information possible. Check what information is actually used. Here’s the lowdown on Gated VS Ungated Content.
Landing pages interconnected content options include:
- Keep the URL constant. I learned this from LinkedIn’s Jason Miller who updates The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide To LinkedIn keeping the same URL.
- Use content download page to upsell readers. At a minimum, ask for email signup. Or like Miller, offer related product or demos that qualify prospects.
- Provide contact information. Allow people to contact you with questions.
BTW, always test your landing pages to improve results.
2. Responder emails
Skip the plain vanilla, “Thank you, here’s your download.” This yields a full stop once the reader consumes your download or worse stores it on their device.
Use expected email to offer visitors more opportunities to read and engage beyond the download.
Responder email options include:
- Upsell to offer email subscription. Use a button to attract attention.
- Provide related content on the topic. Guide readers to existing interconnected information.
- Ask if they have any questions. Include email address and phone number.
- Make them an offer. Where appropriate.
3. Welcome emails
- Use this message to find out more about your readers. I ask readers what’s the biggest marketing problem they face to find out more about your readers.
- Ask readers to segment themselves. Smart Passive Income’s Pat Flynn does this.
- Offer readers’ favorite content. It’s a good bet newbies don’t know your existing content. Serve them your top content.
- Give them a welcome series. Think of this as a mini-course to warm them to your content. If you’ve segmented readers, use a different set of content for each.
Interconnected content conclusion:
Interconnected content allows prospects to find the information they want and need to better help them buy from your firm.
Lead potential visitors with content breadcrumbs to discover the relevant information they’re seeking.
Improve your content’s ability to keep prospects reading through the use of interconnected content.
The reality: You already have the related information. You just have to connect it with on-ramps for your visitors.
Don’t make your next major content offering a one-time effort.
Instead make changes with each new piece of content you create.
Now that’s not much extra work.
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