4 content optimization tactics you can implement today

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How can you get more out of the content that you're already creating?

From brands to digital publishers, it seems as though everyone is creating content these days. For many organizations, content is a powerful driver of site visitors and even revenue. However, it is difficult to think of new, exciting content to post every day, week or month -- especially for brands, who may not have a dedicated content team to help.

That’s why media outlets, brands looking to amplify their content marketing efforts, and solopreneur-run blogs need to think strategically about how to best reuse the content they’ve already spent time creating. Let’s take a look at a few ways that any content pro can make the most of existing articles.

Optimize your headlines

Brands and blogs often view writing headlines as a science. They agonize over which emotive words to use in order to spark attention. Two tools that can be used in order to analyze prospective headlines -- CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer and Advanced Marketing Institute’s Emotional Marketing Value Headline Analyzer -- may lead you in the right direction. Both are free, but it’s best to keep the headline “grades” they provide in perspective with what you know about your specific audience.

You can also conduct your own headline tests via social media, which will give you a more accurate account of what will resonate with your audience. Social scheduling tool Buffer suggests writing two different headlines for a post or article you’ve already published and then tweeting both of those headlines a few hours apart to see which one garners more response. Settle on the one that is most successful based on that data. It’s real-time testing you can do on your own with zero budget, plus this kind of scrappy tactic can empower your team to take initiative in formulating new practices for producing successful content.

Smarter repurposing of content

Maybe you’re lacking content because an interview fell through at the last minute or you’ve just started your brand’s blog; when that’s the case, consider turning the content or collateral that you already own into evergreen posts. Case studies, press releases or Slideshare decks can be transformed into customer-facing blog posts or articles so they’re working double-duty for you.

Or, create a roundup of your best-performing posts from the last quarter or calendar year, creating themes around those groupings of articles. For example, if you write for an online publication focused on the food scene in Texas and you notice you have five posts (all of which performed well) reviewing late-night food spots in Austin, write an article intro that ties them together, list the articles with links, and re-promote the content with this new twist.

This type of evergreen content can be a huge traffic driver. The Atlantic found that evergreen posts written at least 30 days prior to the current date may be responsible for as much as 50 percent of site traffic in any given month. Repurposing of high-performing articles during times when your site is experiencing a low number of visitors can keep your content machine pumping strong.

Poll your audience to discover their pain points

Take the temperature of your audience or customers by conducting a poll on a topic that’s relevant to them via social media. If you write for a home improvement blog, ask your audience what spring or summer projects they’re dreading and why, and then create content that helps to relieve their pain points. If they have concerns about how to properly paint a dark room white, write a piece about it then serve it back to them in the post where you polled them. It will show that you’re really listening while providing a forum for community discussion (i.e. engagement).

Thought leadership for the win

If you’re already publishing content on a regular basis, having your editor-in-chief or a C-suite executive publish articles that help to establish them as an expert in their field isn’t going to be a tough twist of the arm. Take a look at some of your best-performing content, work with your PR or communications team to figure out what would be a good fit for an article on LinkedIn Pulse or Medium and bounce the idea off of your author of choice.

Your best bet is to find someone who can commit to sharing articles consistently, but one-offs with proper promotion can also be a great starting point. Your HR team will love this kind of content too, as thought leadership articles are great for sharing on career and recruitment pages since they demonstrate engaged leadership.

Those are just a few tactics for getting more out of what you’re already creating. Let’s not overlook what we can do with what we have right now -- with just a little bit of elbow grease.

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