Lessons for content marketers
Spring arrived suddenly this year. It’s a great time for content marketers to learn good habits from gardeners.
The work you do in spring pays off year-round.
Scrutinize every inch. Once a year, take a hard look at everything. Examine all the content you offer today, in light of your metrics and analytics. Turn over every rock to see what’s going on.
Which content do you want to keep? Which do you need to clear out?
Move content into more favorable locations. Rearrange content to make the path the purchase easy for your buyer personas.
Enriching the soil strengthens everything. In spring, gardeners take global actions, such as adding compost to enrich the soil. What global actions can you take that would improve all of your content?
Start where you are. For example, this year you could focus on making all existing content mobile-responsive.
You might focus on making all of your content easier to read, thereby reaching a wider global audience.
Or you could edit existing content to make sure that it all speaks in one consistent brand voice. If you haven’t defined your brand voice yet, now is a great time to start doing so.
Divide perennial content. Successful perennials sprawl in the garden, taking over lots of ground. Perennial content may do the same thing on your website.
Divide up large pieces of content into a series of smaller pieces … and spread them around.
Or share them with friends. Which content could you divide up to share as guest posts on others’ websites and in other forums?
Balance the types of content you cultivate: evergreens, perennials and annuals. In any given year, some things will work better than others.
Start with content that affects the greatest number of customers in the long run. A great editorial calendar for content marketing will balance evergreen, perennial and shorter-lived content.
Balance your content to diversify your risks:
- Start with long-lived content that yields results again and again. In a garden, fruit trees and bushes play this role, bearing fresh fruit year after year.
- Add perennial content that may have a life of 2, 3, or more years. In a garden, rhubarb, chives and asparagus produce with little added effort.
- Day to day, keep content fresh with news, curated content and newsjacking. In a garden, annual vegetables play this role.
Manage to the vagaries of the season. Results from content marketing and gardening vary for seasonal reasons and for other reasons beyond our control.
For example, this year Chicago gardeners enjoyed early warmth. But it was quickly followed by a cold snap that killed off early plantings. Foresighted gardeners protected early plantings by covering them at night. Other gardeners waited for warmer weather.
What steps can you take to nurture fragile content and protect it until it takes root?
Success in the spring, in part, depends on the work you did over the winter.
As a marketing change agent, I consult with clients, lead content marketing workshops for the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), and write the weekly Simplify Marketing blog.
With experience from Fortune 500 companies such as AT&T, RR Donnelley and Tellabs, I've been named:
- Content Marketer of the Year by the Content Marketing Institute.
- Best Marketer by BtoB magazine.
- A B-to-B CMO to watch by Fierce CMO.