The 4 Rs of Content Management Content marketing can be easy -- if you follow these guidelines for keeping it fresh.

By Robert W. Bly

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The following excerpt is from Robert W. Bly's book The Marketing Plan Handbook. Buy it now from Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes

Robert W. Bly explains how you can develop big-picture marketing plans for pennies on the dollar with his 12-step marketing plan. In this edited excerpt, Bly offers four quick tips for easily managing your marketing content.

Managing your marketing content so it remains relevant to your needs and those of your customers is essential for maintaining successful engagement and, ultimately, future sales. As part of your content distribution cal­endar, always review your content before posting it, even if it worked well before. Develop a strategy for the four Rs of management that follows.

1. Refresh.

When you pull out content that you posted last year for another posting, read it through carefully and make sure that each compo­nent is still relevant and up to date. For example, you might have posted last year that ABC Media was the best place for finding royalty-free photographs. If you don't use ABC Media yourself, then go to the website first and make sure they're still in business and offering royalty-free photographs.

There's nothing worse than sending your customers to a website that has changed its practices or no longer exists. If it's out of business, then do some quick research for other websites that offer royalty-free photographs. In fact, you might want to add in a couple of similar sites, not just one.

2. Recycle.

Recycling your marketing content refers to using sections from other content pieces, such as blogs or ebooks, and then expanding that message a little more to develop your new message. You can also use content sent out in your blog a year ago, particularly if you use a link to one of your reports, products, or services, and just change some of the text around, while still keeping the link.

If you showed your customers how to do a process in one of your ebooks, take that information and turn it around into a visual presentation as a video or series of photographs. It's the same information that was written in the book. Alternatively, if you had a webinar on how to start a crafts business, turn all that information into an ebook and sell it. Better yet, provide both as a complete package.

3. Retire.

Some content will become outdated over time as technology and pro­cesses change, which happens almost on a daily basis. What was once a unique process of gathering customer information several years ago through email strategies may no longer be relevant if you're using an outside vendor who can do it far better than your long, drawn-out process, mainly because it's what the vendor does, professionally and efficiently. Many customers will be more interested in who you use to take care of that side of your distribution and information col­lection. Therefore, that content piece should be retired.

4. Replace.

As noted in the previous section, you'll need to retire content from time to time when it's no longer relevant or if it's out of date. It's important, however, to replace it with a new content piece, such as a list of the best companies to use for taking care of your email list. Show the importance of best practices in gath­ering customer information, handling subscriptions and deletions, and also maintaining your content distribution schedule. Provide pertinent criteria on how to choose the best vendor.

Every content piece has value, and while you may need to replace an old blog post, for example, you can update it with fresh, new information, even while keeping in a link that is still good and, most likely, has search engine optimization (SEO) attached to it. When you get ready to repost the updated version, use an editor's note at the top under the title, or at the bottom, indicating when the post was first published and noting that it's been updated for new information.

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Robert W. Bly

Author, Copywriter and Marketing Consultant

Robert W. Bly is an independent copywriter and marketing consultant with more than 35 years of experience in B2B and direct response marketing. He has worked with over 100 clients including IBM, AT&T, Embraer Executive Jet, Intuit, Boardroom, Grumman and more. He is the author of 85 books, including The Marketing Plan Handbook (Entrepreneur Press 2015), and he currently writes regular columns for Target Marketing Magazine and The Direct Response Letter.

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