A good piece of content is like a seed.
If it is planted in fertile soil (your digital eco-system), not only will your content seed grow, but it will also bear new fruit and sprout new seeds of its own. However, in order for this miracle of content life to continue, it is vital that initial seeds are carefully cultivated and cared for.
There is no single way to cultivate a piece of content — or several key pieces of content — to ensure they continue to bear fruit for years to come, but there are some best practices you can follow to increase the life span of your content.
How to increase the long-term value of content
1. Make content relevant for the future.
– Why? If you don’t need to recreate the wheel every few months with your content, you’ll save time and money. Likewise, you will have a greater ability to devote to the marketing of your existing content rather than to the re-creation of it.
– How? As you develop evergreen content, it only stays evergreen if your brand voice, tone, and purpose remains the same. Evaluate and consider your brand’s mission statement or purpose statement to make sure the content you create today will be representative of your brand values in five years. Once this is considered, look to develop content that it less about the trends of the day and instead touches more on foundational elements and the principles on which you want to focus.
2. Refine evergreen content.
Why? Author Sean McCabe discussed this on his YouTube channel:
“With evergreen content, don’t expect it to be 100 percent autonomous. This is probably one of the more common things people assume — ‘OK, I make it once and never have to touch it again. . . ‘ You should still go back, revisit things, update. Maybe that’s updating the information, maybe that’s updating the links on a website, you know, updating things to make it current — and it could be just a few little tweaks.”
How? In addition to McCabe’s suggestions of updating links and revisiting text, you also will want to check if your evergreen content includes any stats or studies that could be updated from time to time. HubSpot lists the following types of evergreen content that you will want to check in on to update from time to time:
- “How to” articles
- Industry resources
3. Share multiple times.
Why? Simply put, the more your content is shared, the more likely someone is to see it. However, due to algorithms, attention spans, and content preferences, the responsibility of making compelling content remains. Always keep in mind that people can unsubscribe or unfollow at a moment’s notice if you overwhelm them with the same message time after time.
How? Always keep your audience in mind and consider how that audiences uses the platforms on which you are sharing content. Algorithms can be your friend. Consider the following:
- Don’t be afraid to tweet a similar piece of content several times, since the typical life span of a tweet is fewer than 20 minutes.
- Consider targeting your emails with different headlines and focusing on different elements of created content.
- Share content as a text-based post one week, as an infographic the next week, then as a video in the following week.
- Target messages to different audiences.
- Sponsor social posts and display ads to reach new audiences.
4. Engage and ionfluence.
Why? Extending the life of your content involves some pushing as well as some pulling. You can pull people in by developing effective SEO and ad strategies. You are well aware of the value of pushing content through social posts and newsletters, but how much pulling do you do through your social engagement? When a person comments on your social channels, leaves feedback on your site or blog, or replies to your emails, they are begging for you to share additional content with them.
How? Consider customers and others who could find value in your existing content if only they knew where to find it. When people comment on your social posts, don’t just respond — respond with a link to existing content they will find helpful. If your brand or organization is mentioned (for good or bad) anywhere on social media, scour your own content and determine what existing content to share to help resolve concerns or reiterate messages. Add common questions to the FAQs on your site.
Find more methods of how you can engage with your audience in creative and impactful ways.
5. Chunk it up.
Why? When you look at your content as one large piece, you limit the number of ways in which you can expand its life. However, if you consider that each piece of content can become several mini pieces of content, then you have many more opportunities to reach audiences.
How? Start with your blog articles and consider how to develop multiple pieces of content from them. Look at the subheads, graphics, bulleted lists, embedded videos, and other individual items and consider the following:
- What kinds of social posts could I create from these elements?
- Can I dig deeper into a subhead to create a new blog post?
- Can I draft a series of emails promoting different elements from the blog post?
- Can I create an infographic from the content here?
- Would this content be a good topic of conversation for a podcast?
6. Optimize the content for search.
Why? Simply put, if your content isn’t optimized for search, it will only last as long as it stays visible on a social feed or remains available inside of an email inbox.
How? Well, there are many ways, but here are some of the most effective:
- Focus on one long-tail keyword in your blog articles; include in title tag and URL.
- Make the blog mobile-friendly.
- Optimize image alt text.
- Include internal links.
- Write long posts.
- Add hashtags to your social posts.
- Make sure your social profiles are set to public.
- Add meta tags in social platforms that allow it.
Remember, there is no magic fertilizer that will allow for all of your content to live on for years and years. However, if you consistently till the land, the content will bear fruit and you will see a significant increase in the life span of the content you create.