When you work with hundreds of media and content teams, you notice trends on the teams that have successful content strategies.
Today, we’re sharing four of the most effective content strategies we’ve seen, broken down into step-by-step play books you can take back and put into practice.
Why would our clients let us share these? Won’t they lose their competitive edge?
Well, we’ll be honest, there’s one thing that isn’t included in these strategies. Because it’s something you can’t steal: the stories you tell and the work you produce. The best content distribution strategy in the world won’t help if you don’t have great writers, producers, and editors. You need to have stories to tell, a voice that should be heard, and a goal other than “going viral.”
But, if you do have those stories, if you know a bigger audience needs to see them, or if you could do a better job showing your readers what else is in your arsenal, then you need to see these strategies.
Results from the content strategies in action
Whether you’re starting a content site from scratch or you’re someone that’s been in the media business for years, this guide can help ensure that you’re making the most of your work.
Benjamin Rosen, the social media editor at MIT Technology Review put one of the strategies into practice once he realized his team could uncover their Evergreen content in a more effective way.
Here’s what Rosen had to say about it in an interview about how changing his team’s evergreen strategy slightly helped them uncover a story that became one of their most viewed story on social media for the past six months:
At MIT Technology Review, much of our content has a long shelf life. We produce a lot of longer reads and deep dives into the good and bad of tech.
Because we have this trove of evergreen content, re-sharing these stories has become an important part of our social media strategy. It helps bring in more pageviews from social media and keeps our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn audiences more engaged with us on any given day.
As we learned in a webinar Parse.ly hosted with WIRED, generating a “top listings export” can make it easier for us to identify this evergreen content. We use pageview referrals from different channels and total engaged minutes as two metrics we value when looking for this content. Each week, we generate an excel file and use that to tag more evergreen stories we’ll use on social media at some point in the near future.
We were using link clicks and shares from Facebook as our only metrics for tagging evergreen stories. We would use the analytics section of our social media management tool to sort by link clicks and shares because—I can’t believe I’m admitting this—it seemed most efficient at the time. But this webinar helped us realize we weren’t doing a service to our audience: we weren’t re-sharing content some of them were most interested in when we first published these stories.
This gives us a more sophisticated way of understanding what our audience has responded to in the past and how we can better serve them in the future.
This is important to us because we want our audience to look to us for authoritative, influential, and trustworthy journalism. If we’re not serving them the content they value the most, we’re failing at those goals. That’s my opinion on translating our organizational goals to audience engagement and social media.
This method helped us rediscover this fascinating cover story on how we don’t quite understand the world’s most advanced algorithms, and how that could be a problem. Titled “The Dark Secret at the Heart of AI,” it was written in 2017 by Will Knight.
After coming across it in a Parse.ly report, we reposted it over the summer. It is now one of our most viewed stories on social media in the last six months.