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Three "Rs" to Get Your Content Marketing Rear in Gear

So many pixels have been spilled on content marketing in the past five years, surely everyone gets it by now, right? Anyone? Bueller?

Not the case.

Get further away from the content marketing echo chamber, and you’ll find lots of companies create content with no formal strategy. Sometimes it’s been going on for years. Where does this lead? To lots of random scattershot content with little rhyme nor reason.

So, when the time comes for a content audit, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.  It may as well be the IRS knocking on the door.

In my role as content marketing manager at LeadMD, I run into a lot of companies that are eager to knock it out of the park with marketing automation. But for many, reaching Xanadu remains elusive. The same old hurdle is almost always there: the heavy shackles of content insecurity.

Content insecurity affects all of us. The fear of starting over and re-creating tons of assets is very real and daunting.

But, let me be clear: there is no way to ever see success using marketing automation, or any other advanced strategies and tactics, with little-to-no content that matches up with the buyer’s journey or prospect needs.

It’s not just our clients either. Tons of marketers are faced with significant content marketing challenges because of materials that are out of date, out of place or straight up irrelevant for a targeted audience.

What is the savvy marketer to do? Enter the three Rs of content marketing optimization:

Reorganize

When you reorganize content, you are taking pieces of existing content and restructuring it in a way that is more useful to your prospects or customers. This is a great way for companies who have lots of information but not a lot of structured content available for their prospects.

See some bullet points you really like in a sales brochure? Pop them into a blog post, expand, add some color. Were you floored by that whitepaper you found? Use it as the basis for your next video. Have a blog post with some great points? Convert it into a Slideshare. Never be afraid to mix and match.

If you were restoring an old Corvette, would you make every part by hand? Absolutely not. If you were smart, you’d scour Craigslist for a parts car. Think of your content in the same way. Reuse and repurpose as much as you can.

Rewrite

Smart marketers often find it useful to rewrite content when they find out that content they have is either dated, or exhausted due to a high level of previous consumption. When this happens, it’s time to slap a fresh coat of paint on the barn.

Rewrites are significantly less time consuming than creating new content from scratch. But, like painting a barn or restoring a Corvette, it still requires times and attention to execute properly. As you roll your sleeves up and get to those rewrites, be sure you’ve studied and follow proven content marketing best practices to ensure your “new” stuff is more compelling and successful than the original.

Retire

No matter how much you may love it, every piece of content will have a limited shelf life. Even Derek Jeter couldn’t play forever. Much as it may hurt, you can’t use the same content indefinitely.

If content isn’t performing as well as it should, or if its consumption has significantly decreased and you don’t think it will be useful to reorganize or rewrite, then it is time to retire it from your content library.

This may be obvious with posts that are specific to a certain date or event, like a list of stats that is now outdated, or takeaways from an event. But it will also be important even when less obvious things occur, like when the winds of industry have shifted and a topic is no longer as insightful or interesting as once as it was. Take it behind your freshly painted barn and give it a proper send off? That’s probably too dark. Delete it.

No matter how daunting it may seem to rejigger and repurpose, it’s not worse than letting your content hold you back. Repurposing old content (and seeing it convert) can be just as much fun as creating brand-spanking-new stuff. After all, wouldn’t you get more satisfaction driving around that Corvette knowing that you restored it yourself, rather than paying someone? I know I would.

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