This article was co-written by Kevin Carlson.
Spring has sprung. Nature teems with life. The days are getting longer and warmer. The doldrums of winter are starting to fade. During this season of rebirth and renewal, it's common for people to tackle spring cleaning with multipurpose wipes and white-wine vigor.
This exercise shouldn't be limited to our homes, storage units, and vehicles, though. Spring also presents marketers a fantastic opportunity to improve our content strategy in the form of content audits, keyword research, historical optimization, and other oft-neglected chores.
So why is it so important for marketers to "tidy up" their content strategies? Well, some 84% of businesses have content marketing strategies, but only 11% think theirs are pristine. And as we all know, an effective content strategy is an important foundational step to ensure that you and your team have clear, goal-driven priorities in regard to your content marketing initiatives.
Taking some time each quarter (or at least every six months) to reevaluate your content strategy will not only help you and your team feel more confident about your future efforts, but also allow you to discover three things to help you succeed:
Ready to get started on your content strategy spring cleaning?
Content marketers who are ready to make their content strategies immaculate should consider a handful of best practices. To get started, take some notes from this spring cleaning checklist:
Before you dig in and get your hands dirty, you'll need to do some fact-finding. A great place to start is with the sales team.
It can be so beneficial to have meetings with some of your sales folks to talk about any new trends in conversations they've been having with leads. Doing so can help marketers identify potential new content pieces that should be created in order to truly equip the sales team with powerful assets that can help them close more business and, in turn, increase content marketing ROI.
You can also have marketing folks shadow sales calls. When you know the day-to-day details about another role, you can better anticipate the struggles and content needs they have and envision the sales enablement content that your company should create. This creates better sales-marketing alignment, which will allow your sales and marketing teams to achieve stronger results for the overall company.
The next thing on your spring cleaning to-do list should be to take an inventory of the content you have at your disposal. This step is like emptying the garage before sweeping and hosing it out. You simply don't know what you have until you get it all out in the open. Once you do, chances are that some of it can be trashed — and just as much could be updated to better reflect where your brand messaging needs to be today (and not three years ago).
A well-executed content audit will help identify three things: irrelevant content that can be removed, existing content that can be cleaned up and repurposed, and implementations needed to restructure your site and ensure top effectiveness.
Keywords can (and should) be thought of as answers to questions being asked by your target audience. You have to understand what information your audience is seeking if you want your content to resonate and actually bring those audience members to your website. But you can't do this keyword research once and call it a day. Just as we roll up our sleeves and spruce up our homes seasonally, you have to revisit your keyword research regularly if you want your content to be timely and effective.
Things are always changing — particularly for companies and industries that are innovative, experiencing regular policy changes, launching new products and services, or experiencing a shift in target audiences — doing keyword research consistently (quarterly is the ideal cadence) can help you say up-to-date on the latest questions your target audience is asking so you can answer those queries and stay relevant.
Fresh content is critical for SEO, but on top of identifying new content that can be created, some of your efforts can also go into refreshing or repurposing existing content.
During this spring cleaning, keep your eyes peeled during your content audit to identify whether any pieces would be contenders for historical optimization. For the pages that could use updates, plan ahead and schedule those refreshes to happen when you're working on a similar theme or piece of content. That way, you can save yourself some time.
As winter fades and spring begins transitioning toward summer, it's time to tackle spring cleaning. But as you're dusting and decluttering around the house, don't forget to consider how you can tidy up your content marketing strategy as well. Follow these four spring cleaning tips to strengthen your content marketing efforts and help you and your team feel more confident about the hard work you're putting in to generate results for your business.