5 simple ways to improve your written content

24/Jan/2017 · 3 MINS READ

Just like your hair and wardrobe, content can become stale and boring if it doesn’t get a healthy dose of attention every now and again. Giving your best performing content a spring clean will help extend its lifespan and can you save time and resources. Here are five ways give your content a “zhush” for 2017.

1. Republish content in different formats

According to SumoMe, the average visitor will only read 25% of an article, meaning that the majority of your written content is going unread and unnoticed.

With video expected to account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic this year, it may be time to reincarnate your written content and explore new formats.

Think of your written article as the beginning of a ‘content journey.’ For example, a long-form blog can be broken down into a panel conversation perfect for a webinar, and a webinar can then be turned into a podcast that can be promoted across your social channels.

Pick out key statistics from blogs and represent them using infographics. The same infographics can be animated for video content, or resized into ‘tiles’ suitable for Facebook and Instagram.

If you have pages and pages of thematic content, consider compiling these blogs into a downloadable asset like an e-book or whitepaper. Bundling series content will provide you with a useful asset that can be used for lead capture.

2. Update information

Updating your content is a simple and effective way of making it relevant again. For publishers, updating evergreen content is a key source of traffic.

“If we have a list of the Best Burgers in San Francisco, for instance, if we’re not updating that at least yearly and probably more often, we’re doing a terrible job,” said Ben Robinson, Thrillist’s chief creative director.

Updating statistics and adding new ideas to listicles will extend the shelf life of your content and allow you to re-share the article across social, perhaps targeting a new audience, without having to reinvent the wheel.

While you’re updating the information in your article, take the opportunity to hyperlink to newly published content on your blog. Adding key hyperlinks to the first quarter of the blog increases the chance of the audience clicking on a link. This will get readers clicking around your website and keep them on your page for longer.

3. Think about in-text images

In-text images are key to creating an engaging blog, with readers spending more time looking at relevant images than they do reading text on the page.

While you’re spring cleaning your blog, revise the images you’ve used. Are they too big? Images excessive of 70kb can affect the loading time of the post as well as the search engine ranking, increasing the risk of users clicking away from the page, so take the time to resize your images.

Update the image file names to improve the search engine ranking of your blog. Images with descriptive names like “sydney-business-leadership-conference” will rank better than default file names like “DSC0034.jpg.”

4. Take another look at headlines

If you’ve updated the content of the article and added new images, make sure you also revise the headline so it still reflects the new, revised articl

This will also prompt you to clean up other headlines. We’ve all had a “what was I thinking?” moment when it comes to re-reading some of our old writing, so take time to revise old headlines that might not seem as clever as they did at the time. Trial your headlines with tools like CoSchedule’s Headline Analyzer which scores your overall headline quality and rates its ability to result in social shares, increased traffic, and SEO value.

5. Improve SEO

There’s no point having great content if no-one can find it, so improve the discoverability of your articles with an SEO spring clean.

Update keywords

Rather than stuffing your blog post with key words, choose a few long-tail keywords and use them strategically. For example, ditch keywords like “business,” “leadership,” and  “small business,” for long-tail keywords like “small business leadership,” and “leadership in business.”

Be sure to include the keywords in the title, URL, the first two paragraphs of your article and the meta description.

Meta description

Give your meta descriptions some TLC by ensuring they’re reader friendly. The meta description should reflect the content of the article, include the long-tail keyword you’re trying to rank for.

By giving your written content a “zhush,” not only will you attract new readers, but you’ll save time doing so.