This year was my 4th time going to CMWorld since its inception in 2011. You’d think after attending so many times, I’d get bored. Or I’d leave saying, “Interesting stuff, but I knew that already.” But that’s hardly the case.

I came away from Content Marketing World 2019 with a suitcase full of tips. My biggest “problem” is prioritizing which lesson to implement first. But first up: share what I learned with you.

Takeaway #1:

We spend too much time on new content and not enough time on existing content.

You’ve heard it a thousand times: Google loves content. But if all you’re doing is churning out new content, you’re losing potential from the mounds of material sitting on your website.

Great content strategies leverage both new and existing content. These tips help you make the most with what you already have:

  • Build internal links: Find high authority pages on your website and link to lower authority pages to give them a boost. Use tools like MozBar to calculate page authority and build your internal linking strategy.
  • Build external links: Conduct outreach to become a guest contributor on other websites. Better yet, use a tool like SEMRush to find podcast guest opportunities. Mention resources like guides or whitepapers in the podcast, which encourages the podcast owner to add a link for the audience.
  • Fix broken links: Use SEMRush again to find broken links to your website. Reach out to the website owner and ask for a new, corrected link. No one wants broken links on their pages, so they’ll be more inclined to fix it.
  • Ask for links from branded mentions: Again, use an SEO tool to find places where your brand name is already mentioned on other websites. It’s the perfect opportunity to ask for a link from the brand name.
  • Help Google focus on your best content: Remove content on your website that has no links and no traffic — you’ll get a boost from Google just by tidying up your site. Next, redirect content that has links but not much traffic to more engaging content.
  • Promote your evergreen content again: Use a tool like Buzzsumo to see who’s sharing similar content. Ask those who shared the content if they’re interested in sharing yours. Reschedule your own re-sharing by using a social scheduler tool like Agorapulse.

Takeaway #2

Be the primary source: Use your own research in your content.

The web is saturated with content. So how do you contribute something meaningful?

Original research makes your content stronger. If you lack supporting evidence, you have unsupported marketing claims — lowering your trustworthiness in the eyes of Google and your audience. And as Content Marketing World 2019 presenter Andy Crestodina said, 82% of people would rather read content that has data, because numbers are compelling.

Here’s what you can do:

  • Find the missing statistic: Look for a topic in your industry that’s frequently asserted but rarely supported. The topic doesn’t have to be perfectly tied to your product or industry, but something peripheral that your audience finds intriguing.
  • Create a short survey: Then, use SurveyMonkey’s Audience product to reach a guaranteed audience. Promote the findings in various content pieces like press releases, blog posts, guest posts, webinars and infographics. When you become the primary source of new information, you gain links, authority and brand awareness.

Takeaway #3:

How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.

This advice comes from Cleveland Clinic, the health system with the most-visited healthcare blog of all time (HealthEssentials).

The organization’s content marketing department shared its successes and struggles from the past decade. The ups and downs of their journey and the lessons they’ve learned are relevant for all marketers.

You won’t succeed if you’re constantly switching from being a strategic content marketer to an order taker. Your to-do list should not drive your content strategy. If it does, you’ll start to do things just to get them out of your way.

Here’s how to keep that from happening:

  1. Say no to the things your audience doesn’t need. Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
  2. Be empathetic in your marketing.
  3. Respect your audience’s time and inbox.

The content marketing department at Cleveland Clinic isn’t driven by the health system’s bottom line: It’s driven by an audience-first strategy. The bottom line is important, but successful marketing puts the audience first.

It never fails. Every time I attend Content Marketing World, I leave with renewed motivation and creativity. I love how the sessions spark new ideas while resting on the foundation of two rules: knowing your audience and creating relevant, captivating content for them.

As marketers, our mission is to keep finding new and better ways to give our audiences what they want, when they want it.

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