Content optimization 101: A strategic renaissance of your content library
Your competitors are optimizing their existing content – are you?
Over the past few years, we have developed expertise in optimizing existing content, adding value to published assets and allocating budgets to performance rather than production (discoverability of content, internal socialization, etc.).
We’ve seen over the past few months that this is an organizational requirement for many brands. The current global economic context might be a root cause of this, but the reality of content chaos must also not be ignored.
The expression “content chaos” refers to the reality marketing leaders face these days, where so much content is being outputted by brands and publishers, it is hard for a brand to cut across the noise and make a real difference. This is where content optimization makes so much sense.
(In fact, take a look at our article describing our RRR approach: Rethink, Reuse, Refresh.)
How to launch a content optimization project?
Here’s a brief overview of how we work with existing content libraries to optimize their performance.
The aim is to take advantage of the KPIs you already have so as to be able to demonstrate performance gains, using an approach that is light on budget since it makes use of existing content.
In a nutshell, here’s how we do it:
- Establish a content pillar or key theme in your content library that has a strategic impact on brand objectives.
- From a list of content assets that correspond to the above point, we analyze current performance and draw up an optimization plan based on the allocated budget (a larger budget may mean new formats, for example, or a greater number of optimized content assets; our plan will validate the best approach).
- Assets are optimized (you can take a quick look at our RRR approach, which gives an overview of what could happen at this stage).
- After an initial series of optimizations, we examine the impact on performance (it may take a few weeks to get an idea of changes in your key performance indicators), and determine whether further optimizations might be relevant (more on the same theme, a different theme, etc.).
10 benefits of optimizing a content library
Optimizing your existing content library has several advantages in a content marketing program:
- Resource Efficiency: It’s typically less resource-intensive to update and optimize existing content than to produce new content from scratch. This can save time and money.
- SEO Benefits: Refreshing old content with current information and relevant keywords can improve search engine rankings. Search engines value updated content, which can lead to increased organic traffic.
- Leveraging Past Success: If you have content that has performed well in the past, updating it can extend its lifespan and maximize its return on investment.
- Faster Turnaround: Updating existing content can be done more quickly than creating new content, allowing you to respond to industry changes or new trends promptly.
- Improved User Experience: By keeping your content current, you provide a better experience for your audience, which can increase engagement, reduce bounce rates, and foster loyalty.
- Content Reinforcement: Revisiting and optimizing content can reinforce your messages and expertise, strengthening your brand’s authority in your industry.
- Data-Driven Updates: With existing content, you have performance data that can guide your optimization efforts. This allows for more targeted improvements based on what has been proven to work.
- Gap Filling: Optimizing allows you to identify and fill gaps in your content that may have been missed initially, making your content library more comprehensive.
- Long-Term Value: Evergreen content can continue to attract visitors for years if it’s regularly updated to remain relevant and valuable.
- Cross-Promotion Opportunities: When updating content, you can add links to newer content, promoting other parts of your content library and increasing the internal link structure for SEO.
9 problems content optimization solves
Although budgeting advantages often come to mind when thinking about content optimization, there are many other factors that it impacts:
- Volume Overload: There is an overabundance of content being created without a clear plan, leading to redundancy, inconsistency, and difficulty in maintaining.
- Lack of Organization: When a brand has too much content, it can end up being scattered across various platforms without a centralized system or clear taxonomy, making it hard to find and manage.
- Quality Inconsistency: The content quality varies significantly, with no standardized guidelines or quality control processes in place.
- Poor Alignment: The content does not consistently align with the brand’s messaging, audience needs, or business goals.
- Outdated Material: There is a backlog of outdated or irrelevant content that has not been reviewed, updated, or pruned.
- Missed Optimization Opportunities: There is little to no focus on updating existing content, missing the chance to improve SEO and user engagement.
- Ineffective Utilization of Data: A lack of analysis on content performance data means missed insights that could drive content strategy improvements.
- Resource Misallocation: Resources are often spent on creating new content rather than optimizing what already exists, leading to inefficiencies.
- Unclear Content Lifecycle Management: There’s no clear process for the creation, maintenance, and retirement of content, leading to clutter and confusion.
8 pitfalls to avoid in content optimization
Optimizing your content library might seem like a no-brainer at this stage, but there are pitfalls every content team must avoid:
- Over-Optimization: Stuffing content with keywords or over-tweaking can make it seem unnatural and reduce readability. Balance is key to maintaining quality while optimizing for SEO.
- Failing to Update Regularly: Optimization is not a one-time process. Content can quickly become outdated, so regular reviews and updates are necessary to keep it relevant.
- Poor Quality Updates: Merely updating content for the sake of it, without enhancing its value or relevance, is a misstep. Every update should improve the piece’s accuracy, depth, and usefulness.
- Disregarding Content Strategy: Content optimization should align with your overall content strategy. Randomly optimizing content without a plan can lead to a disjointed content library.
- Not Using Data Effectively: Decisions on content optimization should be driven by data, not hunches. Avoid ignoring analytics that inform you of what content works and what doesn’t.
- Inadequate Promotion of Updated Content: If you update content but fail to promote it, you might not see the desired boost in traffic and engagement. Treat refreshed content like new content in your promotional efforts.
- Misaligned Prioritization: It’s crucial to prioritize which content to optimize based on performance, relevance, and potential ROI. Not all content deserves the same level of attention and resources.
- Underestimating the Work Involved: Optimizing content is not as demanding as creating new content, but it does require effort. Don’t underestimate the time and resources needed for a thorough overhaul should a piece of content be completely outdated.
In the relentless race to capture audience attention amidst the mountain of digital content that exists, optimization emerges as a beacon for marketing leaders.
The meticulous process of refining existing content is not merely a budgeting tactic; it is an imperative born out of the very necessity to cut through the cacophony that is the content chaos we operate in as content experts. While the current global economic climate may have accelerated this need, the underlying truth is that content optimization is the key to unlocking tangible value from your content library.
By embracing the Rethink, Reuse, Refresh (RRR) approach, brands can pivot from the unsustainable churn of content production to a model that prioritizes quality and strategic impact.
This shift is not just about being resourceful; it’s about reasserting control over your brand’s narrative in an environment where consumers are inundated with choices. It’s about ensuring that your content doesn’t just exist but thrives and drives engagement by staying relevant, visible, and valuable.
In “deeper” words, optimizing content is more than a tactical maneuver; it’s a strategic renaissance.
It allows brands to reassess and realign their content with their core objectives, ensuring that every asset serves a purpose and strengthens their market position. The result is a content library that is not just comprehensive but coherent, not just present but potent.
As we stand at the crossroads of content proliferation and consumer discernment, the path forward is clear. Content optimization is not an optional adjunct to content marketing; it is its evolution. It represents an enlightened approach to marketing where every piece of content, every message, and every story you tell is an asset meticulously crafted to resonate, engage, and convert.
In conclusion, the optimization of your existing content is not just a solution to the chaos; it is a strategic choice that amplifies the impact of your brand’s voice in a world teeming with content. It is the choice to be not just another creator but a connoisseur of content, a brand that understands the value of its words and the power they hold. This is the future of content marketing—a future where the noise subsides and the clarity of your brand’s message prevails.