The Gist

  • Customer-centric agility. Adapt content quickly to align with evolving CX.
  • SEO updates. Prioritize technical updates to improve search engine classification.
  • Truthful AI content. Maintain journalistic integrity when producing AI-generated content.

As a marketer, you have undoubtedly encountered numerous recommendations about content creation that appear on seemingly every web page out there.

Marketers are constantly bombarded with suggestions for updating content, particularly as new technologies like AI-powered ChatGPT-4 and emerging platforms such as social audio gain prominence.

However, most advice fails to weave together a series of strategic tactics specifically designed to analyze customer experiences. Establishing this connection is crucial for marketers aiming to revitalize existing content to align with the latest customer interactions.

In this post, I will explain how to establish that connection. An effective content strategy incorporates journalistic sensibilities to organize recommendations and pinpoint instances of misaligned content.

Expect to Pivot Content Ideas More Quickly Than Before 

So, what leads to content becoming misaligned with customer experience?

Time: Content Simply Ages

Time is the most apparent factor causing such misalignment. Regardless of the investment made, information in high-quality content inevitably ages as market news and trends emerge. These developments alone can alter the content's relevance and value to the customer experience.

Topics: Even Hot News Needs Content Refreshes

Business topics addressed in content for customers follow a cycle similar to the news we encounter online and on TV — they rise and fall in prominence based on evolving events. As blogs and articles report on industry trends and ideas, they become outdated over time, much like an old news story. Consequently, all media, even popular ones, require periodic updates and refreshes.

Journalism: Important Content Principles That Matter

Another factor to consider is the general underestimation of journalism's role in creating high-quality content across various mediums, be it written, audio or video. Many people are unaware that organizing content across these mediums is a form of journalism.

Journalism, as defined by Wikipedia, involves the production and distribution of reports on the interaction of events. When planning content, marketers must take into account the accuracy of the information presented. Content is subject to an "information cycle," akin to a news cycle, in which its relevance diminishes over time. Search engines, for example, constantly adapt to new information by crawling hundreds of billions of pages and fine-tuning their query filters over time.

Ultimately, skilled marketers understand the need to adapt their content over time, regardless of how memorable or successful their brands or digital campaigns may be. (CMO Tom Wentworth told us he hires journalists for content production).

Legendary ad campaigns, such as Shell Gas's Shell Answer Man series and Intel's Intel Inside, spanned years, but their content required adjustments. Today, podcasters have learned to experiment when initially launching a podcast, often modifying topics and formats within months after the initial launch.

Related Article: Time to Clean Up Your Brand's Content Debt 

Uncover Content Opportunities With Quarterly Search Audits

Marketers should prioritize updates that emphasize the technical aspects of how content appears within a search query. Adjusting content using HTML elements ensures that your content is accurately classified by search engines and effectively presented to potential customers. Structured data, consisting of HTML tags like <img> and <table>, is utilized to create rich snippets that enhance the visual appeal of the tagged elements within search results. This approach streamlines the process of adapting data to align with evolving customer experiences related to search, while working within the limited perspective provided by your website, app and content.

This exercise will also direct attention toward the content that customers are actively searching for. Analyze keyword variations on Google Trends and compare them to the current keywords audited in Search Console to determine how well your website aligns with the prevailing search topics.

Remove Old Content Only When No Conversion Opportunities Exist

Old content often becomes outdated, and for years, SEO practitioners have debated the advantages of removing such content. Some argue the obvious — that eliminating old content ensures your business attracts an audience interested in current offerings rather than outdated ones. However, others maintain that removing old pages does not automatically result in improved search appearance rankings.

The counterargument is more strategic in nature but can be crucial in cases where old content features an outdated product model while your business provides a suitable replacement. Consistent traffic to content with old products implies that the query keywords might not align with your current strategy; however, the traffic may still include audiences who could reliably convert. For instance, if you no longer offer a particular printer but have introduced a new replacement, removing the old pages could potentially disrupt the customer journey of discovering the new product when they initially had the old one in mind.

Related Article: Content Marketing: Develop Your Omnichannel Strategy in 9 Easy Steps

Use Search Engine Crawl Tools to Audit on-Page Content

You can use tools to crawl your content and review how elements appear from a search engine's perspective. There are tools available to add structured data to a website. One useful option for marketers is the Data Highlighter in Google Search Console. It allows users to tag data fields on a site's HTML using a mouse, which in turn instructs Google on how to organize the data in relation to a query and present it more attractively.

Learning Opportunities

Google offers an example — if your site features event listings, you can use Data Highlighter to tag data (such as name, location, date and so on) for the events on your site. The next time Google crawls the site, the search engine can identify the event data for creating rich snippets within the search results pages. This approach enables a more organized way of presenting pertinent information. While this feature is particularly beneficial for events, it can also be employed for strategies involving app marketing and local branches of a retail chain.

Related Article: Why Strategy Is Not an Option in Content Marketing 

Examining the Frequency of Content Metrics

In a previous post on repurposing evergreen content, I mentioned several metrics. One aspect you can add to that list is examining session frequency. Analyzing this metric can help you determine how often people are viewing a particular piece of content. Higher frequency indicates strong interest in a page topic, serving as a starting point for creating follow-up videos and additional content.

Find Cohorts or Visitor Subsets With a Shared Behavior

When analyzing content pages in analytics reports, you should aim to identify any cohorts associated with metric trends, such as above-average conversion rates or session times. Ask yourself, "Do these metrics occur during specific times of the day or originate from a particular region?"

Recognizing cohorts in relation to the metrics can help you concentrate on segments where people are engaging with the content. Marketers can then leverage these trends to improve conversions — ultimately enhancing content ROI.

Set Journalistic Standards for AI Content 

When businesses produce high-quality content, they should do so while maintaining journalistic integrity — even if marketing content is not universally regarded as journalistic. Although persuading customers to engage with your business is a key aspect of marketing, the copy and images used for persuasion must be balanced with a commitment to integrity.

ChatGPT: Best Marketing Content Driver Ever? Maybe Not

ChatGPT has hijacked marketer imaginations for creating compelling content quickly; however, industry experts continue to express concerns about the accuracy of large language models. Users, for instance, are learning to refine their questions using ChatGPT prompts to obtain more reliable answers.

Nevertheless, AI algorithms can "hallucinate" — producing answers that may align with their training data but depict an implausible outcome. This issue is particularly prevalent among programmers who use ChatGPT for programming-related prompts.

Truth in Advertising

To ensure truth in advertising, marketers must assess and enhance AI-generated output using their domain knowledge. AI assistants can help establish an initial framework and refine ideas through prompt engineering; however, exercising judgment is crucial to avoid overconfidence in the context of solely AI-generated answers. This process involves verifying the information and identifying instances where a verbose prompt response is unfit for the intended outcome.

Ultimately, planning the tone and copy of any updated content must effectively address the customer while remaining truthful in its advertising.

Further Reading on Revitalizing Content

A number of informative CMSWire articles offer further tips on updating content, including How to Repurpose Content for Social Media Strategies, 5 Ways to Repurpose Old Content, and How to Use Google Analytics to Renew Content Marketing.

As I mentioned in my 2023 social media trends post, expect more exploration of how to repurpose content. By being experimental you can come up with several ways to strengthen your content ROI and, more importantly, enhance the customer experience of your brand.