I see it often, weekly in fact; marketers sweat blood into creating a single piece of content, they have it published, perhaps have it circulated on their social media sites for a week before immediately moving onto the next piece. This conveyor belt of content creation is not only predictable for all parties involved (including the user!), it also doesn’t allow for the true potential of your content to be realised.
Last year, Edd wrote about how good content is content with purpose and he’s absolutely right. If you’re an advocate of this and create content that’s considered and researched, then by default, it’s not throwaway. Just because your content hasn’t received the engagement you initially anticipated, this doesn’t mean that it should be disregarded. There has to be a place for it in some corner of the internet. It might just be a case that your promotional strategy hasn’t been right.
There are other methods that you can employ to unlock further engagement and reach of your content – methods that go beyond conventional PR, link building and social media promotion. These are methods that are tried, tested and can constitute both on-page and off-page framework.
Consider implementing one of the following tactics (or a combination thereof) to encourage further reach of your content. By doing so, you’ll also realise more ROI for your inbound and outbound marketing efforts.
As a first port-of-call, consider revisiting and republishing previous content from your site. This is the process of editing old content and publishing it again. The trick is to choose content published from a while ago; something that you still consider to have inherent value today. Here are three practiced methods of going about republishing a piece of content:
- Covering the same topic as before, but on a new page
Rewrite the same content, with a slightly altered content or keyword focus, and upload it onto a new page as a new article. The original content might have a general format, e.g. “Tactics to boost your content’s reach and longevity“, with the newer article being more listicle focused, like this one.
- Covering the same topic as before, whilst 301 redirecting the old content to it
This second approach is similar to the one stated above, but once you upload the new content, you 301 redirect the old page to it. This not only allows link equity to pass, it also allows you to retain and build on keyword rankings.
- Update the content on its existing page
By far the simplest approach, all that’s involved here is to update the content from before. Perhaps there have been new findings that have since made your content outdated? Or, you’re now more clued up on the topic and can deliver some additional insight? Whatever your reason, make sure you also add the republishing date along with a note to say what’s been edited and why. This evergreen approach was previously employed by a previous colleague of mine, Chris Fielden, and to great SEO success.
Employing one of the above will give you reason to redistribute previous topics, allowing for additional amplification of content in addition to what you previously achieved. Not only does Google favour fresh new content in SERPs, republishing content will also boost your site’s relevancy and authority for the associated keywords.
For more information on republishing, view this useful Whiteboard Friday from Moz.
Repurposing involves taking content from before and adapting it slightly to suit a new format. For instance, repurposing an infographic could involve cutting it up and presenting it on LinkedIn’s SlideShare, or even as a long-scrolling webpage? Another example would be taking a video and editing it into several smaller videos ready for social (this is actually an example of micro content, as explored by Laura in a previous blog post).
This process might well be the perfect solution to revitalise some of your existing content, especially if you later discover that historically, certain types of content have worked best in certain formats. You never know, getting the format right might be the missing piece of the puzzle, allowing you to get results that go far beyond what the original iteration achieved.
What I’m referring to here is the licensing of your content, but in a way that’s correct, sustainable and most importantly, panda and penguin-proof. To many online marketers, licensing content (otherwise known as syndication) wreaks of duplicate content. And at first glance, I guess that’s a fair enough assumption. After all, it’s the process of your on-site content appearing elsewhere in it’s entire, or near-entire form. However, by following the below dos and don’ts, you can license your content in a safe and results-driven way:
- Exercise your technical SEO chops whilst licensing
When your content is republished on an external site, ensure the licensed content is credited with a link back to the original. This is another indicator to Google (besides your published date preceding theirs) that you are the originator. Not only does this approach earn you a backlink, it also helps you retain or even boost your rankings for that particular subset of keywords.
Although other SEO-friendly approaches exist, these may be tricky to negotiate. For example, you could ask for a cross-domain canonical tag that points to the original, or for the licensed version to contain a “noindex,follow” meta robots tag. Although both of these approaches qualify and convey the same signals to search engines, they’re reliant on site owners having the technical know-how to implement.
- Only target relevant sites, and ones with a larger authority than yours
As well as using licensing as an exercise to boost backlinks, it’s just as important encourage additional referral traffic. It’s critical, therefore, to target purely relevant sites and ones with a larger readership than yours. Targeting several low-quality sites will have minimal referral benefits and if anything, it’s reminiscent of older, more spammy link building practises.
- Avoid over-egging this approach
Although there’s no strict duplicate content penalty associated with this type of practice, what exactly is harm? Why aren’t we all licensing content every hour of every day? The point is that while there’s no duplicate content issue involved in licensing the odd piece of content, there’s bound to be if you implement it upon mass. Yes, while you are technically thinning out the content available on a few pages, this is being subsidised for backlinks, valuable referral traffic and brand awareness. Going that step further will undoubtedly dilute your entire web presence, leaving you with little authority or brand left. Be sure to license sustainably; get the backlink pointing to the original content and ensure the audience is there.
Moz again produced a useful Whiteboard Friday on this topic. View it here for additional insight into the licensing of content.
Content creation should be nothing like shooting in the dark. As marketers, it’s our responsibility to ensure all content produces results, otherwise, what’s the point? By the same notion, it’s also a shame to not properly report on your content marketing results. With our conveyor belt of content, many of us can be guilty of this also. Content doesn’t just produce results for a month after its published. Done well, it can continue to produce results indefinitely.
If you’re producing a piece of content specifically designed to attract links and social shares, be sure to report on this for however long you deem them substantial. Continue to check for additional links by using Moz’s Just Discovered tool on Open Site Explorer and use SharedCount to report on significant uplifts to social metrics.
If you’re producing a piece of content to influence on-site metrics, use Google Analytics to determine the content’s influence as a landing page and other engagement metrics, like page views, bounce rate and average time on site. Analyse how it ranks in SERPs and cross reference this with how much monthly search traffic those keywords receive.
A historic piece of content could still be producing results for you today. You’ll never know unless you check. As a search marketer in particular, proving return-on-investment is crucial. Continuing to report on your content marketing efforts, however old, will leave a lasting and indefinite ROI on the work you implement.
The great thing about these marketing approaches is that they’re malleable. You can intertwine republishing, repurposing and licensing to encompass both on-page and off-page activity. For example, you could create a republished version of an on-site blog post and repurpose it to suit the likes of LinkedIn’s Pulse, or Medium.
Although these approaches aren’t for constant use, they’re good to be aware of, especially if your business, or client’s business, is more underdeveloped both on-page and off-page. Think less like a duplicate content-phobic search marketer and more like a human. After all, good content gets shared. Use them as part of your wider marketing toolkit to get even more traction from your content marketing efforts.