Marketing content is perishable. Once published, the world it serves continues to change— sometimes slowly… and sometimes quickly. As this change transpires, it is important to periodically assess whether one’s content has decayed to a point where action needs to be taken—action that ensures audiences and marketing objectives will continue to be well-served.
When organizations don’t adequately assess and act on needed content changes, they run the risk of appearing dated, out of touch and less attractive to their current slate of customers and the prospects they wish to work with moving forward. That’s why, at least annually, every individual piece of marketing content should be assessed. Should it Remain as is? Or should the organization Refresh, Repurpose, or Retire it? Let’s examine each of the 4 Rs of content assessment more closely.
With Remain, the fundamental question is “Is this content still doing what it needs to do? Conveying what it needs to convey?” The more recent a content asset is, the more likely it is that it’s fine for it to remain as is for the time being. However, recency alone should not determine whether you should act on content in some way. Did a competitor just introduce an offering or innovation that suggests content changes are warranted? Do metrics suggest that audiences find the content engaging and relevant? For the latter question, insight can be gained by comparing the number of downloads, page views, time spent on page or other meaningful metrics.
Refresh is synonymous with “Update.” Many times, content is mostly on point but may need to be injected with reflections of new advances, different points of emphasis or commentary on trends that are occurring in industry or audience environments. This is certainly the case for content that speaks to a certain period. For example, if you’ve seen resonance with a “2020 Guide to B2B Marketing Content,” consider re-examining that work in the latter half of 2020 to determine whether significant parts of it could fuel a “2021 Guide to B2B Marketing Content.” When it comes to refreshing content, it’s also important to assess the visual brand elements of each asset. Sometimes the verbal content is just fine while the visuals need to be updated to be in line with brand identity and consistent with other assets.
Repurposing content is about extending content in new ways— finding other formats where it can deliver value to audiences. It could be that an extensive white paper just isn’t getting the response that was expected. Perhaps the content that comprises it could instead be broken up into multiple focused blog posts? This approach is also a great way for your content marketing to work smarter and not harder. One piece of long-form content can frequently fuel many other content pieces. Examples include:
Using pull quotes from an article or white paper for multiple social media posts
Visualizing another content asset’s main points via an infographic
Having the transcript of a webinar serve as a basis for an article or eBook
One size does not fit all when it comes to marketing content. Repurposing content helps to better serve audience segments at different stages of the buyers journey and accommodates individual consumption preferences.
We save Retire for last because our hope is always to get as much mileage as possible out of each content asset through Refresh or Repurpose whenever possible. Sometimes, however, content just needs to go away. This could be because your business model has changed in a way that makes the content no longer relevant. It could also be that new findings or advancements have rendered the central point of the content moot. Retire is akin to cleaning out a closet. Sometimes saying goodbye to that article of clothing that no longer fits or sparks joy is the right thing to do for your audience and objectives.
Assess the Old for a Better New
It’s all too easy to avoid assessing already completed marketing content and instead place individual or team focus on developing new assets. But those two tasks do not have to be mutually exclusive. As we described earlier, examining existing content will not only ensure that it continues to deliver the intended message and impact, but also creates a springboard for net new content.
Devote the time. Reap the rewards. Apply the 4 Rs (Remain, Refresh, Repurpose, Retire) of assessing marketing content to keep your content marketing engine healthy and strong.
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