Your New Year’s Content Marketing Checklist
We all have our New Year’s resolutions and I usually keep those to my business goals. The New Year is a great motivation to get some mess in order, fix and update old content and finally breathe fresh air into your old site.
The following is my personal checklist. I use it pretty much every year for one of my many sites to get at least one of them brushed up and ready to rock in the upcoming year. Apart from the improved traffic and conversions, it always gives me a feeling of accomplishment, so much needed at the beginning of the new year.
So, are you with me?
1. Update old content
Most of your content from the past year is in need of some updates, be it news getting old, tools being discontinued, ideas getting outdated, etc. Search engines love regularly updated content that keeps its readers up-to-date and informed.
Smartest bloggers revisit their older articles and put the date when it was last edited for both the readers and search engines to know when the latest information was added.
If you go through your old content at least on a yearly basis to fix outdated numbers, provide alternatives for broken tools and maybe even make up-to-date screenshots, your content will always be on top.
2. Optimize old articles with new keywords
Not all of your articles may be ranking in Google. This is absolutely natural. On average, only 20% of my content is doing good in search results from the first attempt. The rest is ranking somewhere between 3 and 10 pages, other articles do not rank for worthy keywords at all… until I work some more on it.
Go back and see if you can find better keywords to express core ideas of your old articles and re-optimize them. I do it on a semi-regular basis and always see gradually increasing search referral traffic in a couple of months.
I use Serpstat to discover new relevant phrases to optimize my content for. It has a handy filter allowing me to force longer, more descriptive phrases in the output:
[Set up “Number of words in a keyword” filter to be more than “5” to get longer phrases. This filter works great for content ideas]
Serpstat comes with rank tracking and competitor research, so I like having all my content marketing tools under one roof.
3. Find opportunities for follow-ups
This is very much connected to step #1 and step #2 actually. In fact, you need to be making progress on all three simultaneously:
- Go through old content making notes what should be optimized better and updated
- At the same time keep records handy as to what may deserve a follow-up (Using keyword research as additional inspiration).
Note that the purpose of the follow up is not just to create new content. It needs to direct newly attracted audience to your older article serving as the base for this new one. So don’t forget to start your new article by mentioning your old content and why your readers should go ahead and read it first.
You won’t be able to write all these follow-ups by the new year though. Focus on planning things out, creating an editorial calendar, mind-mapping what goes where.
I use Cyfe to coordinate a year-worth of my editorial plans for each of my sites. I am not talking about a precise calendar with dates: I don’t have time for anything like that for my personal sites. It’s rather a list of ideas together with keyword research notes.
4. Find re-packaging opportunities
I don’t like the term “content recycling”. It sounds as if you are recycling the same thing without creating anything new. I prefer the term “repackaging” because it perfectly represents that tactic: Putting old content into a new package offering more ways to consume it.
For example, going through your old content, you can discover that you have a series of articles on the same topic that can be turned into an eBook or a whitepaper or even a podcast. Or you can discover that a specific article of yours can be repackaged into an infographic, visual checklist, etc.
Your keyword research you did in Step 2 could be a lot of help here because you can optimize your newly created content for new keywords for it to rank for new terms instead of letting it compete with your old pages.
A good example of repackaging in action is my own infographic which I created after my Mashable guest post did a bit of a stir. All in all, repackaging is a great way to share your guest posts on your blog without running into a duplicate content risk or repeating yourself. Based on my guest posts, I often put together Slideshare presentations giving some takeaways and highlights from the original post and embed them to my blog. This is a great way to grow your Slideshare / Linkedin presence too!
5. Get rid of broken links
This is not exactly the task that should only be performed once a year (I’d recommend revisiting it at least quarterly) but now is a good time to set things up if you haven’t already. If you’ve been blogging for at least a year, you are likely to have a ton of broken links in your articles, including comments and trackbacks. Stats show that sites go down all the time, and you have no control over that process. You can control who you link to though.
Use broken link checker plugin to easily identify and get rid broken links. I have put it on the manual run to make sure I run it over the weekends when the load on my server is not that huge and I handle broken links right after each check.
Going through broken links is a good way to find more opportunities for article updates and follow-ups if you notice that some listed tools have been down or discontinued.
What’s your New Year’s content marketing plans? Share your goals and tools!