Fit for (re)purpose: does your old web content meet your current goals?

By Tony Faccenda, Senior Content Manager

You can tell a lot about a business by its online content back catalogue. Skipping back from the polished assets promoted on its latest landing page, you can get a sense of how that company’s focus and priorities have evolved.

Having a strong bank of content shows a sense of purpose. Your business has thought deeply about the topics, trends and issues surrounding its industry, and has invested in producing something practical, thought provoking and informative to help its audience navigate the choppy waters.

No sooner have you pressed the ‘publish’ button, however, and your content ceases to be as fresh and thrilling as it was on day one. The spike in traffic it attracts slowly dissipates and falls mercy to the gods of SEO for its on-going value. That is, at least, until it’s repurposed.

The case for repurposing

Repurposing can be a great way to quench your audience’s thirst for content at speed. By definition, repurposing is distinct from simply reusing. You will still need to review old assets and refresh to remove any reference that pegs it to a particular time and to account for any dramatic changes in the market.

Your content remains relevant as long as it continues to attract attention and solve your customers’ pain points. Allowing old content to fall to the annals of your online category makes it less accessible to those that need it. Repurposing gives you a new opportunity to give it a marketing boost and make sure the information is reaching the right audience.

This approach can be particularly effective should the content find renewed relevance by tying in with a current news event or emerging trend.

The case against

Repurposing is, however, not always the magic bullet for filling your content funnel, particularly for content intended to attract new site visitors. Well-written and informative content has a habit of finding its way into the right hands. Peer sharing helps to build momentum behind an asset, improving its search visibility for those in need. If your content didn’t hit this goal the first time around, don’t expect it to on the second go.

Furthermore, repurposing content can often compromise quality. As your business evolves so does its personality and brand proposition. It’s natural to look back on whitepapers or videos from three or four years ago with a degree of discomfort. Trying to reconcile that former self with your current brand identity can be a tricky gulf to bridge.

The decision to repurpose therefore shouldn’t be taken lightly. Ideally, it will only be reserved for your most popular and evergreen pieces that already have had success in the market and would benefit from an update or refresh.

Trying to reconfigure it out

In many cases, you will find the greatest success not in repurposing content but in reconfiguring. The difference is nuanced, but an important one to understand.

Reconfiguring entails conceptualising an entirely new piece of content that matches with precisely what your business wants to be saying to the market. Then, rather than starting with a blank page, going back through your past content to pick out the ideas, arguments and proof points that support the new proposition.

The end result? A fresh asset that aligns with your current brand, appeals to new visitors and tells your existing audience something they don’t already know.

 

If you’d like more killer tips on how you can repurpose your old content, get in touch with our team.

How to create a content plan from scratch

Every company wants to publish some form of content, be it blogs or case studies promoting the great work they’ve done for customers through to more meaty information like whitepapers and research reports.

For some businesses this is easy: they’re overloaded with great stories, and the biggest issue they face is choosing which ones to tell to the world. But for most, knowing what content they need, what it looks like, and how it portrays them as a business is really difficult. And it’s vitally important to have a strategy in place to ensure the content you create is relevant, interesting and says something new.

We recently began working with a company that had vast expertise in their field of business – we’re talking more than two decades of selling their technology product. They had produced some blog content, but it wasn’t focused or targeted enough for them to attract potential customers. So they turned to us to help them devise a content plan that encapsulated what they were about as a brand and was compelling enough to attract potential new customers. Together, we’ve developed a strategy that will fuel their content pipeline for months to come.

Based on this experience, here’s our guide to understanding how to go from nothing to a basic content plan.

1. Understand your audience

This sounds simplistic, but it’s a fundamental first step. For example, the first task we carried out with our client was to hold a workshop that brought together their key execs and product managers to help us gain an understanding of their customers’ company profile and the the kinds of job roles they wanted to target.

You may think you already know this, but it’s key to establishing the types of content assets you’ll create. You may also discover surprising results when it comes to who your potential customers are and the kind of content that will appeal to them.

2. Identify your targets’ pain points

It’s all too easy – and painfully common – for businesses to talk about their strengths – especially when it comes to technology vendors. But the reality is that no-one’s interested in reading about how great your new product line is, regardless of how innovative, cutting-edge or unique it is.

Instead, you need to consider the key issues your target customers are facing, the pain points they are suffering, and how your technology or product solves them. You should consider why the business would come to you to solve these problems, how you make their lives easier, and what you do for them that they couldn’t do or don’t want to do for themselves. Beyond that, identify whether there are industry-wide issues blighting businesses that your company is best positioned to rectify.

3. Map out your messaging

Anyone who’s ever been for a job interview will understand how difficult it can be to talk about yourself. Convert that into a business environment and it can be a really tough task to succinctly put into words how you want to be perceived by prospects.

But this is, of course, a really important stage in the process. Nailing down how you want your organisation to be perceived is important to establishing a tone of voice for your brand. This begins with composing statements that define what you stand for, a company mission and vision and the unique value propositions that truly make you stand out from the rest.

It’s also important to map out what you’re looking to achieve with your content, be it for thought leadership opportunities, showcasing your brand’s expertise, attracting new staff or simply to educate people.

4. Content formats

With your messaging in the bag, the next big decision is how you want it to be presented. It’s not simply a case of thinking “blogs are quick and easy, let’s pump out some blogs,” but rather considering what kind of content connects with the people you want to target.

It’s key to formulate a strategy that will help you achieve this. For example, with our client we devised a few different blog topics that fed into a longer-form piece of content. The longer item – an infopaper – contained more practical, actionable advice towards which the blog laid a trail of breadcrumbs.

5. Consider your competitors

Auditing your competitors’ content and analysing what they’re saying isn’t cheating, it’s really important to understanding your content opportunity, trends in the marketplace and what good content looks like. Look at what your competitors are doing well, identify any gaps in their messages, the language they’re using, content formats they are or are not using, and topics they aren’t covering – and capitalise on it.

6. Get writing

Wait, hold on a moment. Before you put pen to paper – or rather, fingertips to keyboard – it’s really helpful to map out what content you want to create, and when and how you’re going to publish it. Furthermore, it’s vital to have the foundations in place, so consider where your content is going to be hosted, how you’re going to drive people to it, how it’s going to be presented, and whether you then need to create landing pages to host it and social content to promote it. Suddenly, that 500-word blog looks a whole lot more complicated.

Now you’re ready to go, it’s time to bring your ideas to life. But creating the content is usually easier said than done. It can take a while to fine-tune your style to ensure you’re speaking to your audience in a manner that appeals to them and reflects your desired brand voice.

The first draft is very rarely the final draft, so don’t be afraid of trial and error, tweaking messages and trying new ideas. However, the old adage of ‘too many cooks can spoil the broth’ very much applies to content creation, so ensure there aren’t too many stakeholders bringing different ideas and try to get everyone on the same page when it comes to what you want your content to say and achieve.

Are you ready to embark on your brand content journey? Get in touch to find out how we can help!

5 Ways to Ideate out of a Creative Rut

Have you ever found yourself in a creative rut? Overcoming the mental block can be a tough challenge. We’ve put together 5 ideas to inspire and bring your creative concepts to life.

Watch this short video to help find your creative flow again.

KICKING OFF A NEW CAMPAIGN? 11 STEPS FOR A PERFECT FORMATION

As the new football season approaches, and our favourite teams embark on another campaign of ups and down, the same old questions all fans have remain the same. Who’s in, and who’s out before the transfer window closes? Will Mr. Wenger finally silence his critics? And who’ll be the first managerial casualty?!

Whatever happens from now until the start of the season, one thing’s for sure; from the coaching staff to the players on the pitch, the setup and strategy will be paramount to their success. The same can be said for businesses of all shapes and sizes that are embarking on a new marketing campaign. The preparation and planning required to succeed can boil down to a range of factors, all of which need careful attention long before the first ball is kicked.

As a demand generation agency, we often work closely with our clients on not only the execution but the planning and implementation in the build-up to the big event. There’s a lot to consider, and not all of it will be areas every team is comfortable in tackling. Luckily, that’s where we come in, and below is our ‘one-to-eleven’ that covers some of the main areas you’ll need to consider. And, as with all good footy teams, we’ll start from the back with possibly the most important aspect of all. Strategy.

  1. Strategy

Get your strategy right and the rest will follow. It’s important to gain a deep understanding of your buyers and unravel what truly matters to them, to define buyer personas, mix in your objectives and then plan and translate your goals into long-life marketing programmes. Why? To help you build momentum over time and ensure you get from where you are to where you want to be, taking prospects and buyers along every step of the way.

  1. Content

Content marketing demands a value exchange – you have to offer your audience something helpful in order to earn a click. And it’s not about what’s important to you; it’s about what’s important to your buyers. Content can help you connect with buyer needs, present answers to their questions and help them find solutions. If your content is half-baked, we can help you turn up the heat.

  1. Design

Good design serves a greater purpose than to just look pretty. It inspires thought and action, emotionally engaging audiences to drive an action. That’s why we take it seriously. It’s important to honour the principles of design in order to develop creative concepts that catch the eye, complement content and visually communicate your messages and values.

  1. Inbound

Ensuring the right potential buyers actually see your content is as important as developing compelling content in the first place. We build targeted paid and organic acquisition programmes for search and social marketing to connect you with buyers that choose to ‘opt-in’. SEO then ensures your digital infrastructure is at the top of its game and implements ongoing strategy to build authority and compete for the traffic you want.

  1. Outbound

‘Batch and blast’ tactics have long since expired and relying on email alone is a fast way to go nowhere with buyers. There’s a place for outbound, but careful segmentation and strategy for developing nurture and trigger emails is vital. Scintillating email subject lines and crisp copy are still important, but timing and targeting are also crucial. And it doesn’t have to be just email. An outbound call to qualify a prospect in or out is a powerful way to accelerate progress and improve conversion.

  1. Lead Generation

Delivering a constant stream of high-quality marketing leads (MQLs) can be a challenge for marketing teams, but it isn’t impossible. We know the hard sell doesn’t work, and you have to allow buyers to self-select into your sales funnel. You can use content for inbound acquisition to capture the imagination and interest, then engage and nurture prospects through the stages of the buyer journey with planned content, all the while qualifying their readiness to buy.

  1. Web & Digital

Content marketing goes hand in hand with digital. A ‘fit-for-purpose’ website is essential to engaging buyers beyond a landing page, delivering the information they seek and inviting them through a content journey. Analytics provide the critical visibility to track buyer behaviour and to benchmark and monitor ongoing marketing performance. It’s important to also connect and select the right tools and technologies to see what’s happening with your marketing and to make informed decisions.

  1. Social

If you’re still not sure social has a place in B2B, stop reading now. We think it’s transformative. Consider social as the new alternative to email, helping you raise awareness, extend your reach and acquire the right audiences, including C-level, and to build segmented paid and organic outbound campaigns that deliver your message through opt-in channels.

  1. Events

Seen by some as an old-school form of marketing, events are still an effective way of engaging with your customers, both past, present and future. Plus, events these days come in a number of guises. Webinars and live streams are becoming ever more popular and if a more traditional face-to-face event doesn’t fit with your strategy then perhaps a more digital approach would work better? They can also align with other channels such as social and email, providing great content in unison.

  1. Email

Still an important marketing tool, and alongside social and paid-for it can provide invaluable support as part of an ongoing campaign. It is still to this day a low-cost marketing tool, helping you to communicate with fans of your brand that have at some stage taken the conscious decision to receive communications from you. They’re easy to create, share and analyse and can run simultaneously with other channels such as social media that will feed off of your content plan.

  1. Marketing Automation

Last but not least is marketing automation. With all of the above to think about, putting it all together can often be the final hurdle for many marketing departments. Marketing automation is here to help with that and consists of software that helps automate such tasks as email, social media, and sales in a more joined-up and cohesive way. Ultimately, marketing automation allows companies to nurture prospects and convert them into customers so as to generate new revenue and a far better return on the investment.

 

So, there you have it. It’s by no means an extensive list, and your formation could be a defensive 5-4-1 or a more attacking 3-3-4, but either way be sure to start from the back and get your strategy right. The rest should then fall nicely into place.

If you’d like to chat about planning for your next big campaign, please feel free to get in touch at hello@hitfirstbase.com or call us directly on 0203 542 6644.

 

INCORPORATING VLOGGING INTO YOUR CONTENT MARKETING STRATEGY

Want to start a video content marketing strategy but not sure where to start? Start a vlog.

Video is one of the most engaging forms of content. Four times as many customers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it[1], and companies are increasingly integrating it into their content strategy. However you may be stuck on what video content to create, and if this is the case then you may want to consider vlogging.

What is a vlog?

A vlog (video blog) is a blog that contains video content.

So a vlog can really be anything you want it to be, but the overall premise is to make a story out of things that are going on at your business. This means it is a process of documenting rather than having to plan out and create a story.

How do I create one?

Creating a vlog is quite an easy process; you could have a member of your team walk around the office with a camera or smartphone to give your customers an insight into how you work and what you do. This gives your clients a personal and relatable connection with you and your company. This new connection will allow you to reach new prospects or spark interest in customers that may have otherwise become disengaged.

Engagement

A vlog is a very easy way of driving engagement as you can make your marketing more personable, and if it is something you haven’t done before, people will ask you questions. This is fantastic for your clients, who can see into your business more and understand more about your product or service. Consumers of today like to see transparency and human faces in brands, and having a vlog is an incredibly effective way to do this.

Other types of videos you could make

Client testimonials

Instead of writing a testimonial, try getting your clients to speak on camera about their experience. This will be far more engaging and give your audience a much better idea of how you work and the experience your client has had with you.

Q&A’s

Question and Answer videos are one of the best tools for engagement, as your clients will get to enquire about all sorts of industry specific topics and will receive a more personalised answer with the response.

Meet the Team

To build trust and empathy with your brand, adding faces and people to associate with it can be done with this type of video. Capture a different member of your team on video each week, introduce them and let them talk about the job that they do.

Day in the life of “x”

This can be shot in a similar way to a ‘Meet the Team’ style video, but you could always mix it up to add more variety and have more content. Follow a member of your staff round for a day to see what they get up to and how they work. People from all industries like seeing how other people work, and you can often get a few tips and tricks along the way.

Top Tips/Blog Style

One of the easiest types of videos involve converting your regular written blog posts into video form. Sit down with a camera in front of one of a team member and get them to speak about the topic in question. Top 5 lists and advice videos are great to make and will provide extra value to clients or prospects.

So with some ideas here on what you can create, why not get started?

If you think that you might want to use video in your content marketing but want a helping hand, drop us a line at hello@hitfirstbase.com and we can talk you through it.

 

[1] https://www.hubspot.com/marketing-statistics?_ga=2.174862114.1603844825.1497441754-1545221559.1497267691