For much of the world, spring has sprung. As readers may know, however, TopRank is a Minnesota-based company and — though we all work remotely now — I’ve made the somewhat-questionable decision to remain here in the land of 10,000 lakes.
This is what April “spring time” looks like here in Minneapolis.
Pictured: a beautiful spring day
But despite (or perhaps because) of the fact that my own spring is taking its time outside, within my closed-up, heated apartment, at least one spring is springing: Content marketing in 2023. It’s going to be a very big year for content marketing, with marketers everywhere responding to big and often surprising shifts in our discipline by going back to basics and rethinking their content strategies from the ground up.
And it’s the perfect time to do so: to stick to the metaphor, the seeds we sow right now as content marketers will make or break our success in the season to come. So, in the spirit of spring (wherever it may be), let’s discuss a few ways we can all start growing our content gardens right now to ensure a beautiful bloom in 2023 and beyond:
1 — Prune your keyword lists with search intent
These days, most content marketers worth their salt start their process by cooperating with their SEO teams (even if they are their SEO teams) to derive a list of pertinent keywords. While this is still a great place to start, however, it’s not all content marketers should be doing to home in on what their audiences are interested in.
Search intent is a fundamental aspect of SEO, but it tends to be a little overlooked in content planning — especially when content marketers have limited time and/or resources to present their initial plans. While keywords alone can tell you what your audience is searching for, they can’t tell you why. That’s what intent is for.
By paying attention to search intent from the beginning of your content ideation, you can “prune” down your list of keywords to the most relevant to your goals… and maybe even discover some new subject matter in the process. Focus on keywords with intent you can actually build into your marketing pipeline, such as “commercial” intent keywords or “informational” intent keywords you can use to educate your audience on a Category Entry Point (CEP) they may not have considered before.
The more relevant and valuable your initial keywords are, the more relevant each piece of content you produce to support them will be! Before you keep producing, therefore, it’s worth taking a step back this spring to reevaluate how you’re speaking to your audience’s intent.“By paying attention to search intent from the beginning of your content ideation, you can prune down your list of keywords to the most relevant… and maybe even discover some new subject matter in the process.” — Harry Mackin @Shiitakeharry Click To Tweet
2 — Fertilize your content with ongoing care
One of the biggest mistakes even the best content marketers can be guilty of is “firing and forgetting.” We get so wrapped up in producing our next piece of content that we forget about the ones we’ve already sent out the door. This is a problem, because publication is the beginning of a piece of content’s lifecycle, not the end.
Whenever you produce a piece of content, it pays to produce a complete strategy and schedule for promoting that content. Experiment with different ways to promote the content: on different channels, at different times of day, tagging different people or using different hashtags, etc. You could even A/B test messaging and individual elements of the content itself to see if you can improve performance within the piece’s lifecycle. Then, you can use your findings to alter current and future promotional strategies.
It’s also a good idea to keep paying attention to your results on a daily basis. Even lower performing content may see spikes at different times of day or with different audiences. All the insights you can glean from your analytics tell you something about how to create future content — and even how to better promote the content you’ve already put out.“Publication is the beginning of a piece of content’s lifecycle, not the end.” — Harry Mackin @Shiitakeharry Click To Tweet
3 — Hybridize your content for diversity, strength, and community building
This is going to be big in 2023: according to the Content Marketing Institute, tech marketers are diversifying their content investments in a big way, with up to 74% planning to invest in events and 73% in owned media assets. Short videos will also be a major trend, particularly short videos that are designed to be shared on social media.
An even more exciting trend is the way in which a lot of content marketers seem to be embracing content hybridization — that is, producing several different types of content to get at their point.
For example, a content marketing team might produce a major owned asset behind a paywall (to get at some of that sweet zero-party data), then proceed to support the release of that asset by breaking into smaller blogs, producing short-form videos to talk through different aspects of the insights contained in it in further detail and context, or even host a remote event where they talk through the findings with the writers or other experts. Discussing larger assets in collaboration with influencers in your industry can be a particularly good way to boost your content’s reach and establish your authority as a thought leader.
Producing this kind of hybrid content strategy is a great idea for a couple of reasons. First of all, it’s an excellent way to keep your ideas fresh and relevant in the minds and on the feeds of your audience, without simply resharing the same blog again and again.
Different people respond to different content mediums in different ways, after all; an audience member you might have missed with a blog could wind up clicking on the video you populate to their feed, then appreciating the video enough to go back and check out the blog!
Most importantly, supporting larger content ideas with multiple hybrid approaches also establishes and re-establishes your brand as up-to-date, agile, and passionate about what you’re doing. You’re not just creating content for the sake of content; you’re interested in starting conversations, responding to feedback, and moving the industry forward.
By committing to ongoing and diversified support for your biggest content initiatives, you can start a conversation and even build a community around your work. Not only does this lead to much more engagement, but it will improve your brand’s reputation with your most valuable audience.
Hopefully, these tips and the exciting opportunities they represent for content helped brighten your day… whether or not spring has actually sprung for you yet. 2023 is shaping up to be a really exciting year for B2B content marketing. If you want to talk about how to make your content spring to life this year, we’re ready to help.