What’s Trending: Publication Is Just the Beginning
September 21, 2020
For content marketers, publishing can sometimes feel like the finish line. After all the audience research, the outlines, and multiple drafts, having the content finally available to your audience is definitely a victory.
But creating and publishing that perfect draft is only the beginning of your content’s lifecycle. Now begins the exciting and rewarding journey of measurement and optimization.
Yes, I did just use “exciting” and “measurement and optimization” in the same sentence. Because this is the part of the job where we get to be scientists testing hypotheses, race car drivers tinkering with engines, and athletes pushing to excel through repetition and refinement.
Or, to keep it in business terms, this is the part where we make our content increasingly more effective, better attracting and retaining an audience, and ultimately driving revenue.
So the next time you publish a beautiful new piece of content, give yourself a high-five! Then roll those sleeves up and dive into the optimization process.
This week’s roundup can help you with both parts of the equation. Read on for tips on creating memorable, “sticky” content, and advice for measurement and improvement, too.
In the beginning, there was thin, low-quality content stuffed with keywords. And that was pretty lousy for everyone — marketers, search engines, and readers alike. Then came the age of “great” content. The best way to get people to read your stuff, it turns out, was to create exceptionally good stuff.
Unfortunately, according to Danny Goodwin we’re well past peak “great” content. Great is the price of admission. Everyone’s writing great content. To be seen now, your content has to be even better.
Danny doesn’t leave us hanging about what “greater” content might look like, thankfully. There are a few key ways your content can stand out from the crowd. His first two criteria are particularly insightful: Content should be accurate and comprehensive.
Of course, no one starts out to make inaccurate, or light content. But it’s easy to slide into these errors. For example, you might find the perfect statistic to support your point, but can’t find an attribution for it, so you include it and hope no one notices. Or your plan for a 3,000 word in-depth guide becomes a 1,200-word high-level overview.
Check out the full article for Danny’s 10 “greater content” tips, with plenty of real-world examples for each.
Most content online goes in one eye and out the other — it’s just a momentary distraction. Content marketers should be aiming higher. We want our content to resonate, to encourage reflection and eventually action.
To do that, we need to go back to one of the classic marketing books, The Heath brothers’ Made to Stick. Don’t have time to read it, or a commute to listen to the audiobook on? Darek Black has the key takeaways, with five characteristics of “sticky” content. Stickiness doesn’t happen by accident; it’s the result of research, planning, and flawless execution.
This article is chock-full of examples of memorable content. One of my favorites is the M&M slogan, “Melts in your mouth, not in your hand.” Darek points out the concrete, specific details that make this slogan work. Rather than the more abstract, “this candy is tasty but not messy to eat,” it invites us to imagine the experience of eating it.
Darek not only writes about sticky content in this piece, he also follows his own advice, making the article an example of sticky content as well as a how-to guide.
Once your carefully-crafted, sticky-by-design content goes out into the world, it’s time to see how it performs and make adjustments to improve that performance. The whole process starts with measurement. And it just won’t do to stick with high-level measurements like search ranking or web traffic, either; measurement should be related to concrete business goals.
In this article, Jen Williams covers the high-level signs that your content is resonating, but also digs into the metrics that prove you’re inspiring action. These measurements range from social engagement and leads captured, all the way to revenue.
Jen actually puts revenue first in her list, and for good reason: It’s the single most interesting metric to your executive staff, and the metric that marketers tend to struggle with the most. Throughout the article, Jen ties measurement back to revenue, demonstrating how to build a convincing case for your contribution to the bottom line.
Despite our best efforts, not every piece of content is a runaway hit. Even after measurement and optimization, some pieces just can’t stand on their own. That’s especially true of organizations with a huge back catalog of content that dates back to the old keyword-stuffing days.
George Nguyen is here to help you transform that low-performing content. Content consolidation is a good way to repurpose, add value, and fill out your editorial calendar, and it also will help your site from an SEO standpoint. Search algorithms can tell when content is thin, repetitive, or not valuable to visitors, so beefing up that content is a good way to improve your site authority.
George suggests auditing your content catalog for thin, outdated and/or repetitive content, and converting it to higher-performing content that will stick with your audience.
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