Get a grip on your content

1/5/12

Every year I go through a spate of cleaning in late December—combing through paperwork and other detritus that's piled up during the year. I like to purge the old before I start adding anything new. While busily working through the year's accumulation a couple weeks ago, it occurred to me that this same practice should be applied to your content.

Content marketing has hit its stride and entered the marketing mainstream. According to a Content Marketing Institute (CMI) study, 60 percent of marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget this year; that's up 9 percent from 2011.

Before you start creating content in earnest, however, you need a strategy. And before you can create a strategy, you need to get a handle on the content you already have. That means cataloging all of your content—and not just what resides on your website. This list includes:

•    apps

•    articles

•    blog posts

•    case studies

•    newsletters (print and digital)

•    interactive content

•    magazines (print and digital)

•    mobile content

•    podcasts

•    presentations

•    slideshows

•    social media

•    tools (such as an online calculator)

•    videos

•    webinars/webcasts

•    white papers

It's also a good practice to audit the content you've posted on sites such as YouTube, SlideShare, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

At Tendo, we recommend auditing your content at least once a year, preferably every six months. If a lot of the content you're creating is time-sensitive (as opposed to evergreen), you should consider auditing your content quarterly.

Audience and goals

When taking an inventory of your content, think about the target audience for the content and what stage of the buying cycle it addresses. Ideally, you want a mix of content that targets all your audiences at each stage of the buying cycle. Focus your content creation efforts on the gaps your clean-up exercise uncovers.

Consider, too, whether the content type is the most appropriate and effective for the topic. For example, a customer success story currently executed in HTML or as a PDF on your website may be more effective and reach a broader audience as a video on YouTube.

Finally, review all content for how well it addresses your business goals. You may have a plethora of case studies for acquiring new customers but a dearth of content aimed at retaining your customers. Keep the distribution channel in mind, too. Different channels are more effective outlets depending on the goal. If one of your company goals is brand awareness, then sharing your content on Twitter makes sense. But if you want to improve your company's thought leadership in the industry, a webinar or SlideShare presentation would be a more appropriate distribution channel.

Creating a variety of engaging content—and enough of it—is a challenge for most businesses. Knowing what content you currently have will help you decide what you want to keep, revise, or repurpose, or get rid of altogether. From there, you can focus your efforts on creating content to fill the gaps.

When was the last time you cataloged your company's content?

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