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Make Your Content a National Treasure

June 05, 2019 | By James Mathewson

  • Content teams must know how to make their organization’s content engine outperform the competition
  • Many content leaders struggle with knowing where to start tuning content strategy and operations to achieve high performance
  • Teams that focus on reducing content waste and incorporating SEO keywords throughout the content lifecycle perform better than their peers

In the movie National Treasure, Benjamin Franklin Gates (played by Nicolas Cage) goes on an elaborate hunt to find the secret treasure hidden by the founders of the United States in case of disaster. He first had to steal the Declaration of Independence to look for clues disguised by invisible ink on the back of the document. To read the clues, Ben had to find a special pair of glasses made by his namesake. The glasses had several lenses that rotated to reveal different clues, leading to a vast vault of priceless treasures. Locked chest in the sand on the beach

Content analytics can sometimes feel like a treasure hunt. Because the data is incomplete, content marketers need special lenses to view it from a variety of perspectives – and it is only then that the actionable insights needed to tune the organization’s content engine are revealed.

At SiriusDecisions, we deployed multiple lenses to view the data from the 2018 State of B-to-B Content Study. From March through October of last year, we asked 316 b-to-b marketers the degree to which they followed the best practices we recommend to our Content Strategy and Operations seat holders. To better understand what sets high-performing content teams apart from their peers, we took each individual metric and separated out the high performers into a cohort. We looked to see if the high performers for each of the metrics also performed highly in the others. We felt that if we could determine a metric that acted as a bellwether of the others, it would help us define high performance over all.

When we looked at the data through all lenses, two cohorts stood out: Those who used a relatively high percentage of their content internally and externally, and those who used SEO keywords throughout their end-to-end content lifecycle. Of the two, content usage is an output metric rather than a process metric, so we used it as our primary definition of high-performing content organizations.

One thing to note: Organizations with relatively high content usage were 33% more likely to use SEO keywords throughout the content lifecycle. Looking through the SEO keywords lens, that cohort was more than twice as likely to use 76% to 100% of its assets externally. This points to the fact that when content teams use keyword listening in the planning, production, publishing and promotion of content, more of the organization’s target audience will find it, use it and engage with it.

The upshot is that if marketers want the target audience to find and use  – even treasure – their organization’s content, incorporating keyword listening into every phase of the content lifecycle is a must. There are many tools available for building a keyword ontology or knowledge graph and relating it to audience definitions, persona frameworks and topic taxonomies. This is an emerging area of focus for content strategy and operations, so stay tuned for more research on this topic!

Content Strategy Turbine Model

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James Mathewson

James Mathewson is a research director for SiriusDecisions’ Content Strategy and Operations service. He has more than 20 years of experience driving digital content effectiveness, and is a prolific author who has published thousands of articles and blog posts and two books.

The SiriusDecisions Buyer Persona Framework

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