It’s unfortunate, but rarely do we take the time to review our content marketing plan (that is, if we have one at all). Being that it’s halfway through the year, now is the time to do those little things that may make all the difference to your end of the year results. 

Wasting Content Illustration

The tips below are in no particular order, as they are all worth addressing in some manner:

  1. Do a subscriber gut-check: It might be time to look at your subscription database against your customer database. Do you see any differences between those customers who subscribe to your content versus those who don’t? Do they buy more? Do they stay longer?
  2. Add outcomes to your editorial calendar: In whatever editorial calendaring system you use, add a column for outlining desired outcomes — i.e., what the reader/watcher/listener/attendee is supposed to get out of that content. How does the content improve their lives or jobs in some way? Document this, and refer to it often as your content is assigned and created.
  3. Add a “fromblog-to-what?” line in your editorial calendar: Most of us have blogs, but how are you repurposing the blog content to extend its value? As part of your editorial calendar, add a section that asks, “fromblog-to-what?” — i.e., what other pieces of content could this blog post grow into? Perhaps an eBook or white paper? Maybe a podcast or research report… or possibly even a small workshop. Doing this will solve many of your content repurposing challenges. (Just fyi, I used this strategy for writing my last book, Epic Content Marketing. Many of the blog posts were strategically created to fill chapter holes.)
  4. Check your unsubscribe reports: First, are you asking why subscribers unsubscribe? If you are, what’s the most common reason you see? Consider contacting some readers who have opted out and chatting them up a bit to see what you could have done better. Talking to current subscribers is a great idea as well.
  5. Talk to at least one salesperson per month: You are likely creating lots of marketing materials specifically to help sales, but odds are you never talk to your sales team members as part of this process. Make it a point to ask sales what they are hearing in terms of customer challenges. Are they seeing value in the content you create? If you can, go on a sales call with your salesperson. If you want to truly create a relationship with sales, you need to get on the road with them.
  6. Work your influencer list: Do you have an influencer list identified (where do your customers hang out on the web if they are not on your site)? If you don’t, start with a list of 10 and work the social media 4-1-1 strategy. Then, bake those influencers into your content creation efforts for increased sharing and partnership opportunities.
  7. Test your content on various mobile devices: Is your site content responsive? Does it function correctly and can it be viewed clearly and consistently if accessed on a mobile device? How about your email newsletters? If your answer is “no,” to any of these questions, it may be time for a redesign.
  8. Check your content pages for calls to action (CTAs): Every page of content you publish has a job it needs to accomplish. Double check your content landing pages to make sure each one has a specific purpose for existing, and a call to action that helps it get achieved.
  9. Check your most popular “evergreen” web pages: What are your top 10 overall evergreen pages? Go back to each one and make sure the CTA is correct and check whether or not the content needs to be updated in some way.
  10. Refresh your distribution “why?” list: Make a list of all the distribution sources for your content (i.e., email, Facebook, your blog site, etc.). Then put a big WHY? at the top. List out the reason (i.e., the business purpose) you are creating and distributing content on that platform. Odds are you won’t know the answer for all of them, but at least you can identify the channels that need refinement and, perhaps, take a second look at whether you need some of them at all.

I’ve been involved in online publishing for over 15 years now, and I’ve learned the little changes make all the difference.  Take a few of these now and make change happen.

Joe Pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi ’s third book, Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less, was recently announced as Fortune magazine’s best business books of 2013. Joe is also founder of Content Marketing Institute, the leading education and training organization for content marketing, which includes the largest in-person content marketing event in the world, Content Marketing World,. You can find Joe on Twitter @JoePulizzi. If you ever see Joe in person, he’ll be wearing orange.