Keeping Your Content Fresh, Year In, Year Out
The nature of editorial content is that the better you do your job now, the harder your job gets in the future. The ultimate goal of a content provider is to continually provide your or your client’s audience with new and fresh content, but the more robust and thorough your plan is today, the harder it can be to find new and better angles as time goes on. This is especially true in industries where content cycles repeat.
Take agriculture, for instance. No matter what products or services you provide your audience within ag, your content marketing is based on a cycle of seasons, and that cycle repeats every single year. If it’s planting season, your audience wants content that is related to their planting activities, and you want to provide them content that they want while serving your own brand, products and services in some way. Whether you’re pointedly selling solutions or simply building credibility, you’re still at the mercy of what the audience needs, and what the audience needs is very often dictated by what they’re doing in the field.
Grape growers and their crop advisors, for instance, are going to want content about battling spring diseases at the same time every year. If you’re in the grape-content business, how do you offer up that content while meeting everyone’s needs, not repeating yourself, and furthering your brand’s objectives, every single year?
For another example, let’s take a look at pet care content. Flea and tick season comes around every year, and in many regions never really goes away. You know your audience wants or needs flea and tick content, but how do you provide that content year after year (or even more often, as needed) without repeating yourself? Good, efficient content is made to be re-used multiple times, but savvy audiences know when they’re being fed old news.
So how do you keep that content fresh year in and year out? The trick is to find new angles, even if those angles are subtle shifts on your established content. But how do you find those angles?
Talk to people
The most obvious way to get new angles on old content is to talk to others. It gets very easy to fall into a “content rut” and just generate topics and ideas in your own little vacuum. After all, no one knows your brand and its offerings better than you, right? But getting out there and talking to others can not only open your eyes but squeegee the dust off of them. And by “others” we mean literally anyone associated with your brand. Talk to your customers and those who influence them. Ask them about their cares, their challenges, what works, what worries. You might find that some want a comprehensive overview of flea protection. You might find that they’re concerned about a whole new issue.
Talk to your salespeople and field reps. They’re out there in the world, hearing the thoughts and feelings of your customers. A single well-traveled salesperson or field rep contains multitudes of customer and industry insights.
Don’t hesitate to wade into your social media to talk to your fans and customers. We can get into the many, many ways that social media is beneficial when it comes to hearing from your audience, but we’ll summarize by saying that a well-placed poll or question can bring you more angles and perspectives than you might ever need. Or want. And you don’t even have to pick up a phone.
Plan your content
Planning is a must for any content generation, but you’d be shocked at how beneficial a long-term plan can be for your overall picture. Whatever that plan looks like on a practical level — an Excel spreadsheet, a comprehensive AirTable dashboard, or a corkboard and yarn — being able to see where you’ve been will dictate where you’re going. “Oh, we did something about the Lone Star tick last year; let’s focus on the Asian longhorned tick this season.” It seems very simple and obvious, but planning easily takes a back seat to doing.
Use your tools
The great thing about everyone being Extremely Online at all times is that there are dozens of tools to help you cut through the chatter. The bad thing about everyone being Extremely Online at all time is that there are dozens of tools to help you cut through the chatter. The right listening tool can help you shape your topics with pinpoint accuracy based on what people are actually talking about. A blog about flea and tick season becomes a blog about an extended flea and tick season.
Tools like Google Trends and SEM Rush can not only help you find keywords that are relevant to your audience, but tell you when you’re using the wrong keywords entirely, or when it’s not worth competing for a certain keyword and it’s time to shift topics completely. Facebook audience insights can tell you where Facebook’s 2 billion members fall on virtually any subject. But with so many tools at your disposal, how do you know which is right, and then how do you learn how to use it effectively?
Hire a content specialist
The easiest answer to all of the questions we’ve posed here is to hire a content specialist (hey, we might know one). The simple fact of the matter is that content is a full-time job these days. It’s not enough to create it; you have to plan it, target it, analyze it, update it, shape it, make it efficient and THEN keep it fresh for your audience. Just knowing the tools to use takes a certain kind of “being face down in the muck” that not many companies have the bandwidth to consider. We’re face down in that muck every day, and with a number of long-term clients who need weekly content year after year, we know how to put fresh spins on the same-ol’-same-ol’.
Give us a call.