As born storytellers, content is something that marketers fundamentally believe in. Exquisitely crafted, personally tailored, and straight from the heart. It can be difficult – given the deluge of soundbites and clickbait flooding our feeds, inboxes and searches – not to be disheartened by the apparent loss of such a genuine approach.
We are fortunate indeed that Google is moving with us – ranking quality content more highly than its thin and scraped counterparts. However we, as content creators and digital natives, have a responsibility to commit to quality over all else.
In a few years, the vast majority of our content may be created by bots – not even touching human hands or hearts at all. Yet it is in facing this reality that we have a choice: to continue running the content race or simply to slow down.
Changing Our Content Marketing Expectations
“Marketers are constantly trying to come up with winning ideas that will make their content marketing strategies shine. They’re expected to deliver these continuous strokes of brilliance faster than they did before in shorter time periods. But what if we’re missing something here? What if the answer isn’t faster content? What if it’s just the opposite?” – Nicola Brown, Skyword
What is your content capacity? Do you have an in-house content creator, an agency or a few hours a week to craft a blog post yourself?
There is no right or wrong answer here – only reality.
Start with honesty. Be honest with yourself, your team and your business. What can you realistically and affordably create in any given week or month?
Unless you’re Buzzfeed or The Huffington Post, it is unlikely you have a newsroom equivalent capable of achieving both colossal post quantity and consistent post quality.
Much like our #fomo and #yolo induced Instagram fears, it is time to step away from the competition. To open the pressure valve of constant comparison and release its burden. Do the best with what you have, and be strategic about it.
What is Slow Content?
“A movement where people begin to distrust and turn away from soundbite news and begin to yearn for long-form content. [Articles that are] well researched, well written, thoroughly fact checked, and thoughtfully delivered. Content that appears on real paper with real ink, content that you can sit with and absorb more deeply. Content with depth, authenticity, integrity.” – Nicola Brown, Skyword
We’ve long said that quality beats quantity when it comes to content. Similarly, you will know that publishing for publishing’s sake is a big no-no. Yet, how many of us are still guilty of it?
Slow content takes this concept one step further. Much like hygge to modern living, slow content is the much-needed breath of fresh air in our digital marketing lives.
From crafting new evergreen content to recycling old content, slow content is the economical approach to content marketing.
Create in-depth pieces that take time to produce. Take time to speak to the right people. Take time to let your pieces breathe. Most importantly – take time to let go of your fears surrounding this approach. Then you are sure to give your content longer relevance and increased ROI.
Crafting Evergreen Content
Evergreen content is nothing new. Yet taking the slow content approach is. ‘How-to’ and ‘Beginner’ or ‘Expert’ guides lend themselves particularly well to this content form.
Continue taking steps to remove any features which may make a piece quickly irrelevant – such as publication date or time-sensitive information. Such facts may be better suit topical or trend-led articles, which require a different approach – news, by its very nature, needs to be fast.
Ultimately, by asserting your position as a thought-leader, you are securing your own longevity and giving readers a tangible experience, much like turning the crisp pages of their very favourite book.
Furthermore, optimising such content for the questions your reader is asking, and the topics they are searching for, will make your content easier to find.
Republishing Existing Content
HubSpot found that over 90% of its blog leads came from old blog posts. If a post has performed particularly well organically, or contains time-sensitive information, it may be a good candidate for edit and republication.
Find the best posts to republish by looking at organic volume and email conversions. Thereafter, make sure pieces are best placed to succeed. This may involve keyword optimisation and factual updates, or little to no changes at all.
But there’s no need to sneak old posts back into circulation under the radar. Make a feature of their republication with assertions such as, ‘Back By Popular Demand,’ ‘Editor’s Pick Of The Month,’ or ‘Reader’s Pick Of The Month.’
Make republication a key part of your editorial calendar, either running old posts intermittently, interspersed between new strategic content, or during a particular season or campaign, when resources may be otherwise stretched.
However keep in mind that republishing content may require a little technical wizardry to keep Google happy, either by adding a rel=canonical or 301 redirect. Moz will keep you right.
At The William Agency, all our writers, consultants and content marketing specialists have backgrounds in news and magazine journalism, giving them a unique perspective on storytelling and engaging readers. If you’d like some support, please get in touch.