Before you take Billy Idol’s advice and go “more, more, more” with your content strategy, invest some time in answering, "More what?"
With a small investment of time, your content can become targeted and strategically focused on producing results. The following steps will help you create and deliver content that offers more value, more variety, and drives more engagement.
Gather What You Have
Before you begin, gather your content in one place. Don’t kill an entire forest printing things out, just open a spreadsheet and start listing all of the content you have. Include everything you can think of—old and new, blogs, white papers, videos—and do your best not to analyze its worthiness…yet. Capturing details about the format and key message will help you set the foundation for what’s next.
Provide Content That is Valued
With the foundation for your assessment in place, the next step is to divide your library into three buckets of content, based on the needs of your buyer at three primary stages. Marketers have many different terms for these stages, you may have heard terms like: discover, consider, and decide—or early, middle, and late.
"Specific labels are not important, just be sure that your team is consistent and understands their meaning."
Don’t let sorting your content across a buyer’s journey become complex or intimidating. Simply ask yourself which of these three questions your content answers:
- What problem am I solving?
- Why should my audience care?
- How is my solution the best?
Take note if one stage is more heavily weighted compared to the others—or, if one bucket or stage needs more. It’s easy for established organizations or teams to develop content in a comfort zone, which can lead to a library that is off-balance.
Offer Your Audience Variety
Now that your content is categorized into three buyer journey stages, take a moment to assess the format of the assets in each stage. Having a variety of formats enables your audience to consume your message in a way that works for them. Whether it’s something to read in the office or the ability to listen from the road, you’ll increase overall engagement simply by providing your audience the option of convenience.
Creating variety doesn’t need to equal brand new content. Look for opportunities to repurpose an existing piece.
For example, a comprehensive white paper might be turned into short articles or an infographic. Publishing your message in several formats will make it more memorable. Just like listening to a new song, repetition is the fastest way to memorize the words.
Deliver a Concise Message
When striving to offer convenience, we must also consider how long it takes to consume content.
As more publishers post estimated reading time alongside articles, this is an increasingly critical component to ensuring your message is heard and remembered.
A good rule of thumb for your written content is 200 words per minute. If you notice a trend of lengthy content, don’t be discouraged. A library filled with lengthy time-to-consume pieces can be an excellent start. The depth these assets contain can serve as source material for shorter articles and podcasts, and they will have the added benefit of creating a superbly cohesive story. If you notice that your content is all relatively quick to consume, take a moment to ensure you’ve provided enough detail for those wanting more insight.
Share a Relevant Message
Before you call your assessment complete, take a look at when each of your assets were created. Not quite dead, zombie content is a drag—not just on the demand engine, but it can be distracting for salespeople to deal with too. Unless, of course, it’s the salesperson distributing the outdated content, perhaps because it’s familiar or they used it to close a big deal three years ago.
Publishing aged content can cost you credibility and it's an easy problem to solve.
Old content will continue to compete with the new if you don't assign an expiration date. For that reason, anything created more than a year ago should get a fresh set of eyes to ensure its relevancy. If the message still holds true, take the time to refresh the intro, pulling in new facts or recent examples. Without the effort of creating something entirely from scratch, you’ll have a stronger content library that is ready to be shared in no time.
That’s it—your self-assessment is done and hopefully it didn’t take much time. Guide your content creation efforts toward filling any gaps you’ve identified. Strive to create a balanced library of early, middle, and late stage content that spans a range of formats. Make sure content is fresh and can be consumed in an easy amount of time. Completing this self-assessment upfront is the best way to create the right content, not just more!