If you viewed your content marketing operations from a 35,000 foot level, what would they look like? Would your organization’s content assets, social media networks and web/mobile properties all be aligned and grouped in a cohesive, self-supporting structure? Would they appear to feed audience traffic to one another? Would you have any assets that stand alone, away from the others in isolation?
If your answer to that last question is “yes,” you are not alone. With the best intentions, many brands concept, create and eventually forget about assets once utilized for content marketing purposes. There are countless mobile apps, videos, infographics, research summaries, podcasts and even networks that are like content archipelagos – untouched, inconsequential and alone.
Defining a Content Archipelago
Small and often remote, an archipelago is grouping of islands typically uninhabited or rarely visited. For the sake or our discussion, content archipelagos are low traffic, low usage and unconnected web properties that are more or less lost at sea. Your organization doesn’t promote them and very few of your customers even know about them.
Why Do They Exist?
There are at least three scenarios where content archipelagos are bred:
- They were created by a previous regime or an agency that no longer has the company’s business.
- They represent a moment-in-time opportunity in which content was created to respond to a unique situation that is no longer relevant. These are often contrived as reactions to timely news events or short-lived pop culture phenomena. Sometimes they were created to answer a common question or solve for a problem that is now obsolete (e.g. “Tips and tools for creating a Facebook Welcome tab”).
- They represent a trial-and-error approach in which the trial resulted in error. You often see this when organizations try to incorporate a lesser known social media network or platform (e.g. Tumblr, Google+, Instagram, etc.), and, due to lack of effort by the marketing team or lack of interest from the audience, it just does not work.
How to Save and Connect Your Archipelagos
The best recommendation here is actually a preemptive operation: Build It Right the First Time. Conduct research and run ideas past loyalists first to ensure that each opportunity you pursue will resonate. For each content asset that is created and every network presence that is developed, also generate a plan to promote and measure. Never stop creating assets that are timely and relevant as these are key ingredients to garner awareness and interest from new and existing audiences. However, mix in a steady stream of classics that will continue to provide value for years, not just a few weeks.
When dealing with content archipelagos that are already abandoned, consider following these steps.
1. Take an Inventory: As stated above, many assets and network presences are built out by previous marketing teams or agencies that are not longer involved. Some may even exist without your knowledge. Do your best to survey all the assets and accounts at your disposal. Create a content/channel ecosystem that demonstrates the level of importance of each property and where it lies in relation to others.
2. Goals Gut Check: Once you have identified your archipelagos, you must now weigh them against current goals and metrics. Can these assets help you achieve business goals and reach key metrics? Your answer will lead you to one of the following conclusions:
3a. Bring into the Fold: It may turn out that your inventory search will lead to discovery of a content marketing gem you didn’t even know existed. If this is the case, reference it in blog posts, promote it with existing social media channels. If you have uncovered a social media channel that requires more love and attention, dedicated time and resources to support it, and provide reference links from other networks.
3b. Repurpose: Perhaps your first attempt with a piece of content or venue did not go as planned or no longer provides present-day relevance. Can it be modified to work within your existing program? Update infographics with new data. Repost old blog entries with new insights or simply promote them once again via Twitter, Facebook and Google+. Turn a one-time research study into an annually recurring project. Alter your organization’s presence on LinkedIn to take advantage of more Company Page features. Avoid letting a valuable asset wither if it can be salvaged.
3c. Abandon: If your inventory process turns up some networks or assets that simply have no place in your current program, there is no shame in letting them go. If you determine these elements conflict with your current business objectives or message, work to remove them from your website, blog, social networks and the search engine indices.
Does your company or client have content archipelagos adrift at sea? What kinds of tactics have you taken to incorporate them into existing programs?
Image source: Wikimedia Commons