Marketing content is perishable. Once published, the world it serves keeps changing – sometimes slowly … and sometimes quickly. As this change occurs, it’s important to periodically check to see if the content has deteriorated to the point that action needs to be taken – measures to ensure that audiences and marketing goals continue to be well served.
If companies fail to adequately evaluate and respond to the required content changes, they run the risk of being out of date, touchless, and less attractive to their current customer list and the potential customers they want to work with in the future. Therefore, each individual marketing content should be evaluated at least once a year. Should it Remain how it is? Or should the organization Update, Reuse, or Go into retirement it? Let’s examine each of the 4 Rs of the content rating in more detail.
With Remain, the basic question is, “Is this content still doing what it needs to do? Convey what it has to convey? “The more up-to-date a content asset is, the more likely it is that it will stay fine as it is for the time being. However, timeliness alone shouldn’t determine whether you should respond to content in any way. Has a competitor just introduced an offer or innovation that suggests changes to the content are warranted? Do metrics suggest that audiences will find the content engaging and relevant? The latter question can provide insights by comparing the number of downloads, page views, time spent on the page, or other important metrics.
Update is synonymous with “update”. Often times, the content is mostly straight to the point, but may need to be provided with reflections on new advances, different focuses, or comments on trends emerging in industry or public environments. This is certainly the case with content that speaks at a specific point in time. For example, if you’ve seen a response to a “B2B Marketing Content Guide for 2020”, you should re-examine that work in the second half of 2020 to see if substantial parts of it fuel a “B2B Marketing Content Guide for 2021” could. “When it comes to updating content, it’s also important to evaluate the branding visual elements of each asset. Sometimes the verbal content is fine while the visual elements need to be updated to be in line with brand identity and in line with other assets.
Content reuse is about expanding content in new ways – finding other formats in which it can add value to the audience. A large whitepaper may just not get the answer you expected. Perhaps the content it is made up of could be broken up into multiple focused blog posts instead? This approach is also a great way for your content marketing to work smarter, not harder. One piece of long-form content can often fuel many other pieces of content. Examples include:
- Use pull quotes from an article or white paper across multiple social media posts
- Visualize the main points of another content asset via an infographic
- The minutes of a webinar serve as the basis for an article or an eBook
One size doesn’t fit all when it comes to marketing content. Content reuse helps better serve target audience segments at different stages of the buyer journey and takes individual consumption preferences into account.
Go into retirement
We’re saving Retire for the last time as we always hope to get as many miles out of each piece of content as possible by updating or reusing it whenever possible. However, sometimes the content just needs to go away. This may be because your business model has changed in such a way that the content is no longer relevant. It could also be that new knowledge or advances have challenged the central point of the content. Retiring is like cleaning up a closet. Sometimes saying goodbye to that piece of clothing that no longer fits or is fun is right for your audience and goals.
Rate the old for a better new
It is all too easy to avoid evaluating marketing content that has already been completed and instead focus individuals or teams on developing new assets. However, these two tasks need not be mutually exclusive. As previously described, reviewing existing content not only ensures that the intended message and impact continues to be achieved, it also creates a springboard for new net content.
Dedicate the time. Harvest the fruits. Apply the 4 Rs (Remain, Update, Reuse, Go into retirement) Evaluate marketing content to keep your content marketing engine healthy and strong.