You wrote an article. It’s probably awesome, full of insights and experience readers can’t get anywhere else.
On that first day you published you probably got a hundred readers or so, 16 social shares, two retweets and maybe an e-mail subscriber.
On the second day you probably got 57 readers, 7 social shares, 1 retweet and a quarter of an e-mail subscriber (I’m going off the stats here).
On the third day you published another article and the first one disappeared into the black, tar-like mire of the Internet, only venturing a finger into the light of day when someone happens to go to the fourth page of Google’s search results in search of the 30th article on “Online Marketing Best Practices You Need to Hear!”
This article will give you the four most important steps you can take to fight tooth, nail and literally any sharp implement you can find to ensure you get the most out of each and every article you write.
Step No. 1 to keeping your content in the spotlight: Fight the bounce
Step one of getting the most out of your content is ensuring that the first couple days after publication it’s as effective as it can be.
This means combating that irksome percentage of people who bounce before finishing your article, moving to a different page or converting on one of your “Asks.”
In short, there’s no point in writing an amazing article full of valuable insight and years of experience if people are leaving in the first ten seconds.
Okay, let’s back up a second, because there’s not a huge amount you can do about a few people leaving in the first ten seconds. Whether your article isn’t what they expected it to be, they clicked the link accidentally, or the remembered they have something to do in the other room, there’s very little you can do to combat a small proportion of your readers bailing out right at the beginning.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t techniques we can implement:
- Spend time and energy on a visually appealing content header. This ensures the above-the-fold is interesting and your audience knows you’re professional.
- Spend time and energy on a title that snaps, crackles and pops. Optimize it for SEO, but (more than that) optimize it for engagement. Optimize it so people want to click on it.
- Spend time and energy on promoting on social media so your toolbar has action. Not only does this help spread the word (and spread your brand) but an active social toolbar decreases bounce rates as well.
- Test out pop-ups (notice I said test!), especially scroll pop-ups promoting an e-mail-gated ebook or other resource. Scroll pop-ups only appear when someone has traveled a certain percent of the way down your page, ensuring they’re invested in your subject.
Step No. 2 to keeping your content in the spotlight: Share it right
I won’t bother telling you your blog needs a few social share toolbars (one at the top and bottom as well as an optional scrolling bar as well), because you should know that by now and common-sense content doesn’t help anyone.
Instead I’ll give you 5 ways to create a content following you can count on and gets you results:
- Don’t just fight for the big names and big followings. Find people passionate about your subject as well.
- Be an active member of your social sector and network. Discuss, don’t just share. Retweet, don’t just promote. Be involved, not spammy.
- Find niche social platforms (like Goodreads and Reddit)
- Find the niches within major platforms (like Google+ Communities, LinkedIn Groups and active Twitter hashtags)
- Court big influencers by sharing their content, @mentioning them on Twitter and creating content that quotes or cites them as experts.
Another thing I recommend is to create three or four tweets and a couple Google+ posts yourself based on your content. Send these out to your colleagues and ask that they use them to share on their own networks and from their own profiles. This is something we do to great success completely apart from the strategy of our social media manager.
Step No. 3 to keeping your content in the spotlight: Re-use like your life depends on it
You invested serious time into getting the statistics and findings for your comprehensive blog article. It probably took an hour or so of research to get what you got, so why use it just once?
Despite seeing this point quite often on articles around the web, I still rarely see it exercised. It can become very easy to come to work each day as a content marketer and sit down to write an article. Humdrum. Easy. Standard.
Well break out of the repetitive pattern you’re in. Get off our chair, walk around, then sit back down and create something cool from something you have.
Imagine your piece of content like a big lake, and re-using like the fields it irrigates. Dams and channels funnel your valuable information into new, awesome formats. Formats like:
- Slideshare presentations: Slideshare is one of my favorite up-and-coming platforms for content. VIsual and bite-sized, it’s where the future of content is going, and the statistics and single-sentence takeaways fit right in (provided you put time into making your presentations appealing).
- Comments on an influencer’s blogs: The content you create informs you as well, and allows you to communicate with authority on your subject. Use the findings from your article to talk intelligently in the comment section of major blogs, adding your own expertise to the conversation.
- Social media ammunition: Statistics and interesting tidbits from your blog article can arm your social media strategy for weeks. Pick out the most interesting, surprising, or sexiest bits and use them to create engaging Tweets and Facebook Posts, as well as intriguing Pinterest pins or Google+ updates.
- Infographics: Infographics are the hardest piece of content to create, but also the most valuable. They’re shared more than any other kind of content and creating one (if you have the ability) is always worth it for your business. But don’t start from scratch when researching for your infographic. Use the valuable stuff from your relevant blog articles to amass the information you need.
- Podcasts: Podcasts are, to me, more similar to blog articles than they are to webinars. Editable and rehearse-able, podcasts aren’t as sweaty-palmed an experience as webinars. Many content creators around the web have recently had success simply reading their blog articles and presenting them as an educational podcast. Definitely something worth trying!
- Webinars: Dropping statistics into your webinar at random encourages your reputation as an expert and authority. I recommend you keep a running list of the most interesting statistics from your blog research to use across your content marketing, especially when talking one-on-one with valuable leads (like in a webinar).
- Ebooks: Three or four awesome blog articles on the same subject can be collated into a single, comprehensive ebook. Google Drive is great for this, and I actually use it all the time to write the articles , collate them and create the ebook and images all within a single platform.
In short, re-using content saves you time and increases your return on investment. Got it?
Top tip that doesn’t really fit in any of the subheaders: One of the best ways to ensure your content doesn’t die a quick online death is through statistics, facts and graphs that can be cited or shared by other marketers in your sector for their own content. Put time and energy into researching your article as well as coming up with new ways (particularly visual ways) to communicate that information. Cite your own sources and you’ll be shared in return.
Step No. 4 to keeping your content in the spotlight:Keep it alive
Have you ever had an article jump off the diving board only to belly-flop onto the water, tread water badly and sink slowly to the bottom?
You’re not the only one. And the frustrating thing is you never really know when it’s going to happen. You can absolutely love the article you’ve written, think it’s the best thing ever and that it’s going to explode onto the content airwaves and work its way into the hearts and minds of the people like “Call me Maybe.” (Did I just ruin your whole day?)
But it doesn’t. Instead it does its thing for a few hours and then “Titanics” into the abyss.
Here are a few ways you can keep your article ticking over:
Update your content: Some articles can’t be updated (those focused on a social media strategy made obsolete by a new algorithm change, for instance) but many can.
- Revive your content by creating a webinar directly answering the questions you raised in one previously (increasing awareness of both).
- Update the findings of a previous blog article with newly-released, pertinent data.
- Add new content that increases your article’s SEO. Have you recently made a Youtube video relevant to a blog article’s subject. Embed it!
Re-share your content: Good content stays good for a long time (providing you pay attention to the point I made just a second ago). There is nothing wrong with organizing your social media promotions cyclically (so long as you’re also promoting your new content when it’s published).
Make it part of a series: You may already do this for a podcast or webinar series but blog content can also be published serially, thereby creating links between the articles and increasing the chance that someone who happens to see Part 4 will read Part 1 – 3.
Hopefully this article has reinvigorated your content, as I know how frustrating it can be to see a well-researched, time-consuming piece of art drift away into space like those evil Kryptonians in Superman 1.
All of these strategies increase the lifespan of your content, and increase the chance that you’re getting the most out of it you possibly can. Remember to only share content you’ve updated. Remember that your content must be awesome in the first place to be shared, cited, referenced and read, so don’t even start messing about with most of this stuff until you have content that’s up to snuff. As far as that goes, there are more than enough articles (including several of my own) on the SmartBlogs site that will get you there.
James Scherer is a content marketer for Wishpond and author of the ebook The Complete Guide to Facebook Ads. Wishpond makes it easy to run Facebook Ads, create landing pages & contests, email automation campaigns & manage all of your business’ contacts.