A few years ago we were working with a company that had several million articles published on their site. The problem, of course, was that very few of them were read and even less ranked in search engines. We tested a pilot program where we applied 20% of their newsroom’s resources in improving and combining existing content. The goal was to have one complete and comprehensive article on a topic. Each article would have:
- Sections that were designed well and easy to skim through from subheading to subheading.
- Bulleted lists with the key points of the article clearly explained.
- Imagery. A representative thumbnail for sharing, diagrams, and photos wherever possible throughout the article to better explain it and build comprehension. Micrographics and infographics were even better.
- Video and Audio to provide an overview or short description of the content.
While a word-count wasn’t the ultimate goal, these articles went from a few hundred to a few thousand words. Older, shorter, unread articles were dropped and redirected to the new, richer articles.
It worked like a charm. The content department shifted from a “How much content are we going to produce each week to meet conversion goals?” to a “Wow, our content department now has a positive return on investment that continues to grow!”.
It wasn’t easy. We even built a big data analysis engine to identify the prioritized order of the content production to ensure we were getting the best ROI on content resources. Every page was classified by keyword, keywords ranked, geography (if targeted), and taxonomy. We then identified the content that ranked on competitive terms – but did not rank well. Fixing that content first produced the greatest results.
Backlinko analyzed over 1 million results and found the average 1 ranking page had 1,890 words Tweet This!
This data backed up our premise and our findings. It’s totally transformed how we look at building content strategies for our clients. No longer do we do a bunch of research and mass produce articles, infographics and whitepapers anymore. We deliberately design a library for our clients, audit their current content, and prioritize the gaps necessary.
Even on the Marketing Technology Blog, we’re doing this. I used to brag about having over 5,000 posts. You know what? We’ve trimmed the blog to about 4,000 posts and continue to go back every week and enrich older posts. Because they’re transformed so drastically, we republish them as new. Additionally, because they often already rank and have backlinks to them, they skyrocket in search engine results.
How to Design Your Content Library
To get started, I’d recommend taking this approach:
- First and foremost, what are prospects and clients asking about online about your business that would lead them to you?
- Second, what are prospects and clients asking about around their business and employment success that you can provide assistance on?
Writing about you every week isn’t going to work. Visitors don’t want to be sold; they want to do research and get help. If I’m selling a marketing platform, it’s not just about what we can accomplish or what our clients are accomplishing using the software. It’s about our expertise and authority in the industry and ability to help prospects and customers be successful with their challenges. That might mean articles on regulation, on employment, on integrations, and virtually any other topic that they’re wrestling with at work.
Build out a huge list of these topics, prioritize them by the importance, and begin searching your site. Do you have content that touches on that topic? Do you have content that ranks for related keywords? If it can be improved – rewrite a richer, more complete articles. Then tackle content that helps your prospects and clients next.
Construct your content calendar with the priorities. I’d recommend splitting time between updating old and writing new until your library is complete. And thanks to changing business environments, technology advancements, and competition – there’s always new topics to add to your library.