The media industry got quite a surprise when the New York Times Innovation Report leaked recently, giving everyone a peek at the true status of the Gray Lady and the future of media. The 96-page report outlined issues ranging from an improper focus on outdated tactics to struggling to keep up with competitors on social media.
Coincidentally, PR and marketing firms around the world deal with these issues every day. Here are a few insights from the report to help you improve your content marketing strategy.
Focus on the Important Things
Despite only 30 percent of visitors viewing the NYT homepage, staff admitted to making it a priority. Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common problem in web design. Marketers get so caught up in focusing on one aspect of a site that they forget about factors like function, user experience and level of importance.
If you find that the majority of your visitors are entering your website through blog posts, you’ve got to make sure the user experience on those pages is amazing. Of course, having an attractive site is important, but not at the risk of poor navigation or slow load times on the pages that get the most attention.
Without a Strategy, You’re Spinning Your Wheels
The most important part of content marketing is making sure all of your pieces are working together. This is impossible if you don’t have a documented strategy. That’s why we love our Organic Marketing Process. It allows us to look at the big picture and identify the best way to integrate social, search, content, design, PR and CRO for each of our clients.
If you don’t already have a strategy, start by creating a list of best practices. Find areas where you’re doing well and look for ways to copy those tactics. Find areas where you’re lacking and identify how you can improve. Once you start seeing how everything ties in together, creating a strategy will be much easier.
For example, one of the sections in the report identified how competitors use best practices to improve content optimization, along with suggestions about how the paper can implement similar policies. Another area discussed how the disjointed management of the NYT ‘s social media accounts creates a disjointed process that inhibits its ability to engage with followers. Looking at your process without bias will allow you to make the changes necessary to boost awareness, engagement and conversions.
If You’re Not Repurposing Content, You’re Doing It Wrong
In order to put out the amount of content required to keep your company relevant, you should be publishing dozens of pieces of content per month, including blog posts, ebooks, bylines, press releases and social media posts. No one knows this better than the NYT, which publishes about 300 new URLs daily.
That’s why content repurposing is so important. If you don’t understand how to translate one great idea into multiple pieces of content and distribute it across various channels, you’re going to struggle to produce enough high-quality content. Before you even begin writing that blog post or whitepaper, map out at least four other types of content you can produce from that idea.
You Have to Measure Your Progress
After you create those five or six pieces of content, you’ve got to have a strategy in place to measure their impact. Mastering Conversion Rate Optimization is not only a smart idea, it’s crucial to building a content marketing strategy that is truly effective.
That’s the entire purpose behind this report – the NYT needed to know what is working and what isn’t so that it can make the appropriate changes to improve readership. Creating monthly CRO reports is a great way to begin tracking progress and identifying areas that need more attention.