In recent weeks, we have looked at how you can generate ideas for content marketing in house and at the checks you should conduct prior to publishing to ensure that your content is going to have the impact you want it to.
The final stage, and the one we will now look at, is to check your content after it has been published in order to measure the impact it has had.
The ideal scenario when this happens is that you get to the measuring success stage and find yourself reaping the rewards of the planning and pre-publishing checks that you carried out already.
However, publishing your content is not the end of the process in terms of what you can do to strengthen your content strategy. You can still add several pieces to the puzzle that will complete the circle in terms of the whole process and that will have a big impact on your site.
One of the things we’re big on here at Bough Digital is making social media a part of your overall editorial calendar. If you’ve done this, then sharing your newly published content across all of your social platforms should be easy to do. After all, you’ll have the date of when the content is going live, so you can get on social media the minute you’ve published it on-site.
In terms of sharing, the most basic and essential step is to ensure you have shared a piece of content on all of your social accounts, at the time when you know your audience is likeliest to be online. Yet, you need to be doing much more in order to enhance the visibility of your content. A recent Whiteboard Friday from Moz cites a piece of research from KISSmetrics that states when you should share your content across your social media platforms for maximum exposure.
The guidance, based on using Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Tumblr, states you should be aiming for the following:
Sharing the content on all social platforms as soon as it is published.
Sharing again on Twitter two hours after publishing.
Sharing again on Twitter and Tumblr the next day.
Sharing again on all sites with the exception of Tumblr one week later.
Sharing again on all sites with the exception of Facebook one month later.
Sharing again on all social platforms two months later.
This is a lot of sharing the same content; however, by ensuring you use different text each time you perform a mention, you’ll have a variety of different updates and not look like you’re spamming your social platforms. Given that your social strategy for each piece of individual content will be interlinked with your overall posting schedule, these posts will simply blend in with the others and nothing will seem untoward.
In addition to these shares, you should also look to “seed” your content on social news websites such as Reddit & StumbleUpon, and be sure to get the ball rolling in respect of these sites by voting for them yourself. If you have a team of employees that are all based in the same office, get them on these platforms when the content goes live and get them voting for it, too.
The final stage of content sharing is to send out the newly published content to your email subscriber database. Be sure to schedule your email, whether you use Mail Chimp or another service provider, to be sent at such a time that action is likely to be taken by the receiver. As with social media, your previous research and analytics data will tell you the time you can send these for maximum exposure, clicks, and actions.
In addition to sending your content out to your email database, you should look to perform direct email outreach, too.
Direct Email Outreach: Do’s and Don’ts
When conducting your outreach, you need to ensure that you’re not sending out a sales related email.
Yes, we know that your primary reason for performing the outreach may well be to get links and generate as many conversions from the traffic you’ll receive as you possibly can, but you shouldn’t be going all out to blatantly target these. Simply send a friendly email explaining that you’ve published a piece of content on your site that you believe they may be interested in, and that should be enough.
The trick is to ensure your email doesn’t read, look, or sound like a template (even if it is). When you produce an email template, ensure there are several custom fields so that it takes on a personal feel and looks like it has been written specifically for the person you are outreaching to.
Spend some time generating an email subject line that grabs the attention and isn’t going to be deleted immediately; try to avoid boring and generic email subject lines that say things like “New Article,” and instead look to use something that will engage the reader when it lands in their inbox. The article title itself, which you should have spent some time developing earlier, is a great option for featuring as your subject line.
Finally, you should ensure you prioritise your email outreach depending on where you are going to see the most benefit. Spend more time sending emails to the high quality sites and go after these valuable prospects rather than sending bulk emails out to low quality bloggers who probably won’t even read it.
As with social media, be sure to be sending your emails at a time when people will see it and take the time to take some action.
Now comes the part where you can really make a difference within your content strategy. Having performed your outreach, you then need to do a final check to ensure you have got in touch with similar websites to yourself to share the content, but perhaps more importantly you need to ensure you have contacted the websites that often link to content similar to yours.
The key to getting this right is to do it straight away. Don’t wait a month, do it now while the content is fresh, current, and already starting to generate traffic and hopefully social signals for your website.
Where you can, get in touch over the telephone to make sure people have seen the content you have sent to them. While some people won’t want a phone call, others will be impressed that you have gone to the lengths of getting in touch to personally point them in the direction of something on their website.
This is the stage where you’ll be hoping to find yourself in “The Ideal Scenario” from above.
Go back to when you were generating ideas for content. What did you decide was going to be the measure of success for your campaign? What were your objectives? Have you achieved them? If not, how close to achieving them did you come, and what are your key takeaways for next time that are going to help you the next time you plan a piece of content?
You should also look at what the vision for this piece of content was, and explore whether it reconciles itself with what you’re looking at today. Then, you can go through the whole process once more; what are the differences between the vision and the reality? Are they positive or negative differences? What do you need to feedback to the content team, the marketing team, and anyone else in the business that has played a part in getting the content live?
Over time, this part of the process will get to the stage where you’re looking at relatively minor tweaks to things like your approach to social media, as relationships with prospects will develop as you send them great content and outreach repeatedly.
Finally, you need to keep a note in your diary or set yourself a reminder to go back and audit the content from time to time. If you have produced a piece of evergreen content, can you go back and update it if anything changes in your industry in the interim, for example? You should also keep it in mind for when you’re producing internal links from new pieces of content in the future.
By performing these checks after publishing your content, you’ll make a huge difference to the success of your content and put yourself in a position to see even better performance within your future content strategy.
Contact Bough Digital now to discuss your own content marketing needs, whether you require consultation around the effectiveness of your existing content or need a full content marketing strategy solution.