Well, look at that: another summer is winding down and Q4 is upon us once again. It’s that time of year where marketing plans for next year start to take shape. So many possibilities. So much potential. Especially when it comes to B2B content marketing.
The tricky part is keeping up. Content marketing changes at an alarming rate—and that makes it difficult to pin down all the new latest and greatest best practices.
Here we’ve collected 5 essential best practices that you can always come back to. While the marketing tactics and methodologies used to implement these best practices continually evolve, the concepts behind them truly stand the test of time.
1. Expand into new content formats—based on your data.
Stretching your content into new formats is a great way to capitalize on what you know is already working. So make sure you have a finger on the pulse when it comes to your content performance analytics!
For example, if one of your eBooks from the previous year drove a ton of leads, consider turning the content into a SlideShare presentation to see if it can drive even more sales. Got raving customers who have provided written testimonials? Ask them if they’re open to participating in a video testimonial, as well. If a YouTube video is getting a lot of attention, consider creating a blog transcript for it as well.
Or, if you have several blogs that discuss various angles of the same general topic, it’s a good idea to combine those topics into a pillar page that will increase your organic search potential.
What is a pillar page?
A pillar page is a piece of content that provides an overview of the primary topic from which you base all other related content. It normally takes on the form of a 3,000-10,000 word easy-to-navigate blog post. A pillar piece is broad enough to cover several ideas but not so broad where it attempts to cover everything in one article. Learn how to implement a pillar approach.
2. Think about evergreen content.
Evergreen content never goes out of date, which is why it's so valuable. Once you invest in its creation, you can conceivably use it until the end of time (OK, perhaps we're exaggerating a wee bit, but you get the idea).
No doubt, there are certain longstanding truths about your industry, products, or audience pain points. So as you plan your upcoming content initiatives, be sure to give some thought to those truths—and brainstorm evergreen topics around them.
For example, a company that sells business mentoring software might want to consider creating a pillar piece about the 10 biggest benefits that mentoring provides. Unlike content that hinges on timely trends or events, an evergreen topic will be a win for marketing ROI and provide lasting value to your readers over time.
3. Repurpose older existing content.
The best content marketing strategies strike the right balance between fresh, new content and spruced up existing content. Your older content will always be new to someone, so don’t think of this as “cheating”—repurposing existing content is a strategic and highly effective marketing strategy!
Why? Consider the Pareto Principle, which states the following: 80% of your most qualified blog traffic comes from 20% of your blog posts. As an example: of 500 blogs, 100 of them should be identified as your all-stars (in terms of traffic to page, time spent on page, and other key metrics). But over time, even those all-stars will start to erode in terms of relevance with your readers—and that makes them great candidates for repurposing.
When it comes to repurposing content, the trick is to go about about it strategically. Start with your data, then optimize what you know is already working. Here are some step-by-step tips on how to go about it for your older blog posts.
4. Don’t forget to amplify!
The biggest mistake companies make with their content is poor promotion. Sure, when a new piece of content launches, it’s prime time to promote the piece thoroughly over a designated window of time. But your content's expiration date is much longer than a carton of milk's. If you release a new asset in January, you should have a plan for months (if not years) to come.
Here are a few content promotion ideas:
- Have a long-term strategy in place for promoting content across social media. Try different times of day on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Get creative in approaches on other platforms, like Instagram. For example, perhaps you take a picture of your white paper's awesome cover and share it on Instagram (and tag it appropriately).
- Experiment with online advertising. Google AdWords campaigns and social media advertising (LinkedIn, Facebook, even Twitter) can be extremely budget-friendly. You set the amount you want to spend and people typically only pay when they click on the ad.
- Take advantage of "throwback" hashtags. You're likely familiar with #TBT (which stands for Throwback Thursday) or even #FBF (Flashback Friday)—which still remain popular on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. You could get into the habit of devoting Thursdays or Fridays to promoting older content.
- Create a section in your newsletter for older content. Whether you promote it as "most popular" or "what was trending one year ago," the key is to call attention to existing content that's still relevant. Do the same on your blog—at the end of blog posts, include "You might also like" links.
5. Never EVER set it and forget it.
Your content is a living, breathing thing that needs to be continuously tested, revisited and measured. You’ve probably heard this advice time and time again—but we can’t stress it enough! Content marketing should never be a fly-by-the-seat-of-your pants endeavor. What’s considered a “best practice” today will undoubtedly change soon enough.
This reality applies to content marketing practices across the board. There’s the big stuff—like how to apply keyword research the RIGHT way so your competitors aren’t stealing the lion’s share of organic search traffic.
And then there’s also the small stuff, like updating more modern terminology into your content marketing materials (have you made the switch from ‘white paper’ to ‘guide’)?
Be sure to set aside some time each month to review your content marketing initiatives to make sure you’re not lagging in key areas. If so, it may be time to apply some fresh thinking to these essential practices! And, of course, if you need assistance, we'd love to help.