Your 6-point spring cleaning content marketing checklist
With spring in the air, it's time to get your content marketing in order. Columnist Quinn Whissen outlines some ways to clear out the clutter and give your content strategy a fresh start for the year.
Spring is one of my favorite seasons. You see, I live in Phoenix, so spring in my mind is equal to 70-degree days, lots of sunshine and spring training. However, this year, we Arizonans are cursing the El Niño gods for deciding to skip spring altogether and gift us with record-breaking 90-degree days in February.
So this article is for the rest of you who are still shivering away, dreaming of cardigans, not coats, and flowers instead of flurries.
This is also for those of you who are committed to your content marketing but need a nudge to turn off your under-the-desk foot heater and kick some butt with your content marketing come springtime.
Below, I’ve outlined six major checkpoints for your content marketing spring cleaning that will set you up for success during the season and help you gain momentum for the rest of the year.
1. Check yourself before you wreck yourself. Otherwise known as “Do a content audit.”
Whether you publish multiple times a week or can only squeak out one article a month, an audit is a vital place to begin your spring cleaning efforts. A content audit gives you a snapshot of what assets you have already, helps you identify trends and guides your next steps based on hard data.
It also helps you capture problem areas within your strategy before they become too big to ignore.
Start with a data pull of all posts and pages on your site and — depending on your goals — look at a few major metrics from which to draw insights:
- Time on page
- Social engagement
- Keyword and search data
- Time/day of publication
- Length of post
[pullquote]A content audit gives you a snapshot of what assets you have already, helps you identify trends and guides your next steps based on hard data.[/pullquote]
By taking stock of what resources you already have and what gaps you can fill, you’ll be poised to start your spring with a bounce in your metaphorical content marketing step.
2. Stop making productivity an accident. Adopt or more fully embrace a content calendar.
“Am I making productivity an accident, or am I actually planning my success?”
Well, which are you doing?
The more you hop in the driver’s seat of your content marketing strategy and plan months in advance using something like a content editorial calendar, the more you can align your people, processes and priorities around a common goal.
And we all know alignment of your content marketing chassis is essential to hitting your peak performance. This is because — by doggedly using a content calendar — you are:
- Creating a consistent content production cadence for both your audience and the search bots.
- Aligning your content development with promotional strategies to get more eyes on your content.
- Keeping your team in the loop constantly on what is expected of them and how they can help reach your goals.
I could go on and on listing the benefits of a content calendar, but for your spring cleaning, just remember that taking a hard look at your planning efforts will be key to launching forward.
3. Bring content back from the dead, Leo-style.
Did you see the movie, “The Revenant?” If so, you watched Leonardo DiCaprio survive a bear mauling, a bow and arrow attack, being buried in a grave and all sorts of other horrors… and he still comes out of it (halfway) alive.
Treat your content marketing like Revenant Leo — bring it back to life again and again.
Since you already did your content audit (You did, right?), now come up with a list of posts or pages on your site that could use a little love and care. What you choose to revive could be based on time-based keyword searches that could easily be relevant again (i.e., Best Practices for Customer Service Training in 2012) or because the content has outdated information. Either update and redirect old posts or re-publish, depending on the specific content piece.
Taking advantage of your existing assets is an easy, quick win for your content marketing, so make this a priority in your spring cleaning.
4. Go into the nitty-gritty with your email database.
When people ask me what one of my favorite strategies is within content marketing, I usually say email. Email is the oldest trick in the digital marketing playbook, but it’s still very powerful. Don’t overlook it. Focus on these two segments of your list:
1. Inactive — Create a list of your contacts who haven’t given you the courtesy of opening one darn email in all of the last six months. Before ditching them completely, try to reach out again with a simple “Do you want to still hear from us?” message.
Sometimes the most direct, blunt message is what brings them back into the fold.
2. Highly engaged — Flip #1 on its head, and you get the opposite: people who love seeing your name in their inbox. Take advantage of this interest and capitalize on it.
If you are using a marketing automation tool, this is a chance to scope out what else they’ve done to interact with your content and tailor any further messages based on their behavior. If you don’t have that insight, still think about creating more middle-of-the-funnel content that will nurture and encourage people to start considering your products or services more seriously.
[pullquote]Email is the oldest trick in the digital marketing playbook, but it’s still very powerful. Don’t overlook it.[/pullquote]
5. Stop trying to be everywhere.
Are you trying to be everywhere and do everything when it comes to your social media? Well, I’ve got a simple solution for you: Stop.
The effort it will take you on one of your least effective platforms to reach a small portion of your audience isn’t worth it. Instead, focus where it matters, and be strategic about where you’re engaging with your audience and promoting your content.
Don’t fall sick with the Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome. When assessing your existing platforms, remember these pieces of wisdom:
- A large number of followers/fans doesn’t equate social success if they aren’t engaged.
- The larger platforms like Facebook and Twitter may be great for a lot of businesses, but you may also find more impact on smaller niche sites.
- When it comes to your bottom line and the success of your content marketing, social media isn’t always the be-all-and-end-all.
6. Set 3 KPIs to tackle in the next 90 days.
The reason you would clean out your closet during spring is to make space, both physically and more intangibly, to open up that same space to opportunity. So it wouldn’t be a real spring cleaning checklist without taking the next step and asking: What opportunities do you want to create?
You’ve cleared out the space, cleaned up your database, taken advantage of existing assets, and now it’s time to set goals. Set concrete KPIs (key performance indicators) that you can fiercely move towards within the next 90 days. Something like this: Within 90 days, we will…
- Increase our monthly quantity of leads by X percent.
- Up our traffic volume via organic by X percent.
- Increase pages per visit to an average X pages per session.
Spring is a time for rejuvenation and forward thinking. I hope this checklist sets you off on the right path as the seasons change — please get in touch if you’ve found any other content spring cleaning strategies that have worked for you.