While the smart aleck voice in my head is telling me type something flippant like “every 5 minutes,” that’s neither a reputable nor a particularly useful response to this marketing question.
The better, more realistic answer is the same one my 93-year-old grandmother provided when I asked how much butter she used in her off-the-cuff cinnamon roll recipe: “Just enough, but not too much.” In other words, it depends.
Because every business is unique, the right frequency for publishing advanced content will depend on the unique combination of factors that apply only to your business: the industry you’re in, the type of customers/industry you serve, your marketing budget, etc. Just because there is not a magic frequency number, however, doesn’t mean you get to ignore publishing advanced content altogether. Its purpose – to convert site visitors into leads – is far too critical for achieving your inbound marketing goals.
Whether it’s a maintenance checklist, a new project planning worksheet, an industrial trends whitepaper, or an eBook about the value of aluminum parts, if you’re not offering in-depth content of some kind exchange for some basic information about a prospect, you are missing an opportunity to pull in the leads you need to keep your business humming. And your basic site content and blog cannot do that by their lonesome.
All that said, here are some considerations for developing and publishing advanced content for your site and a few general thoughts on frequency.
1. Consider the Buyer’s Journey
The advanced content you plan should be specifically targeted toward each stage of the buyer’s journey as the type of information visitors are looking for at each stage is quite different. Consequently you need to think what type of information and what level of detail will best speak to those at the top of the funnel (initial researchers), middle of the funnel (comparison seekers) and bottom of funnel (decision confirmers). You should truly consider having one offer for each of these journey stages running simultaneously.
2. Think Strategically About Form
Advanced content shouldn’t be in the form of an eBook. Where a lead is in the buyer’s journey will help dictate the form the content should take. In general, smaller content “bites” like tip sheets and infographics are better suited at the top of the funnel, while case studies and whitepapers work in the middle. In addition, who your potential lead is can also influence the form of the content. For example, if the lead is in an engineering or technical role, a demonstration video may work well, while for someone in a financial-oriented position a case study that details return on investment may be appropriate.
3. Document Your Plan
Work advanced content creation into your editorial calendar. When you develop this calendar, first determine the advanced content you want to promote. Then create blog topic ideas related to that advanced content and put them on the schedule. These blog posts will provide the platform on which you’ll place a call-to-action for the related content offer. Lastly, note any other promotion opportunities for the content, such as emails (content-offer-specific, monthly newsletters) web page CTAs, etc. While there’s no magic number of times to publish advanced content, at a minimum I would aim for at least quarterly.
4. Deliver on the Promise
As you create advanced content, it’s imperative that you keep the content helpful and useful for your prospects. So think about vetting the content with a trusted customer before you launch it to get feedback and ensure the piece on the mark. In addition, make sure the content delivers on the promise conveyed in the title and your promotional copy matches what you’re delivering. There is nothing worse than downloading content you thought was going to be useful, only to discover it’s not what the title said it was. And remember to keep away from shameless self-promotion in your content and keep it directed toward viewpoints and solutions that help resolve the issues problems these people have.
5. Stay the Course
Yes, you want to get as much mileage as you can from your advanced content, but at some point that content will become stale. If you don’t stick to your editorial calendar and replace it with something fresh, it’ll be difficult to recover both in terms of getting back on the content creation train and in terms of missed opportunities to pull in those valuable leads.
6. Be Resourceful
If you are concerned about having a limited budget and/or limited staffing to pull advanced content together, you could plan for re-purposing a series of blog posts and write those in such a way that they could be combined into an advanced content piece. In addition, you could see what existing presentations, literature, case studies, etc. you could tweak to turn them into such pieces.
Advanced content is a crucial piece for your inbound marketing efforts. And while there isn’t a magic publishing frequency that works for everyone, it’s important to place concerted effort into developing and promoting content that will pull in leads on a regular basis.