Get Found: How to Make Content More Discoverable
June 9, 2017 | Kaleigh Moore
B2B content is notoriously expensive…and notoriously underutilized.
In fact, some data shows that the average piece of B2B content takes 20 hours to create and $900 to produce, yet 65% goes unused. That’s a lot of wasted resources.
Why is this happening?
One reason has to do with discoverability. These companies think: “What’s the point? No one is going to read this.”
But that’s where they’re wrong.
By making content more discoverable, it will indeed be read (and used) by a larger audience–and it will help more readers start a journey down the sales funnel, too.
So how can content be optimized for discoverability? Let’s look at six different tactics that can make your production more effective, profitable, and useful to the target audience.
Organize by Segments
To make content more discoverable, you have to think like the end user.
Ask yourself, “If I were a reader, how would I want to find information on a site like ours? How would I like to see information grouped and sorted?”
Many times, readers are looking for something specific: Information about a certain type of tool, a how-to, etc. That’s why segments are an easy way to increase discoverability with a user-first mindset.
By breaking content down into contextual groups, you can simplify the information-seeking process and boost relevancy, too.
Uberflip does a nice job of this with their content. In the example, you can see how they organize content by marketing automation segments like Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua, etc. rather than letting all of their marketing automation content get mixed together.
What they also do well is tying in contextual CTAs that are related back to each specific marketing automation tool. Smart, right?
The bottom line here: If your audience is looking for segment-specific information, make sure you give them the option to find content that way.
Organize Content by Topic
Speaking of discoverability by organization…let’s also talk about how organizing content by topic can be helpful for the audience as well.
Many times people discover content because they are problem-solving or learning. They’re on a mission for answers. Mathew Sweezey wrote Marketing Automation for Dummies, and he says:
“People don’t actively want content. They decide to engage with it to solve goals or because it aligns with their purpose–which is usually highly contextual.”
With this in mind, you need to remember that if a reader lands on your site’s content page, you need to bring them from point a to point B. Break down the wealth of information you have into more digestible, helpful topical regions that can quickly get that person involved.
Salesforce does this with their blog content. They’ve broken down content into five topics, which makes it fast and easy for a reader to go down the right path toward things like IT or marketing-related posts.
Other sites like CrazyEgg get even more specific with topical categories:
The more specific your topics, the easier it will be for the visitor to find what he or she needs.
If you’re not sure what topics to include, look at your website data to see what visitors type into the search bar most often. Using this data, you can find trends and patterns that will indicate which topics are most sought-out by visitors to your site.
Leverage Metadata and Structure for SEO
Sometimes, content is discovered by way of SEO. You need an answer, you Google it. Whatever appears relevant (and high enough) in the search results will be more readily found and consumed.
To make content more discoverable for this path, you have to think with a SEO mindset (and know a few basics.) Online information expert Ann Rockley says:
“Intelligent content is content that’s structurally rich and semantically categorized and therefore automatically discoverable, reusable, reconfigurable and adaptable.”
This translates into two main ideas: You need to use a rich, SEO-friendly content structure and to leverage metadata (tags).
Why? Because it works. Search engines evaluate metadata, titles, page content, and headings to determine the relevancy of search results they display.
This is the same reason people tag recipes by ingredient. Want to cook something with bacon? Tags make bacon-centric recipes more readily discoverable, like in this example from Supercook:
Here’s how you do that with your own content.
Structure: Site navigation, search bars, titles, and headings should all be extremely user-friendly, relevant, and content-oriented. Think semantically, and use words and phrasing that users would when seeking out answers to questions. Instead of titling your post “Need Better Marketing Results? Read This Next” you might try something more natural to a reader seeking an answer to a question, such as: “How to Boost Conversion Rates on Sales Pages.”
Metadata: Use your tags. If you’re writing about “interactive content”, you need to input metadata tags that include that tag as well as a few related ones. Most website builders have add-ons (Yoast works with WordPress, for example) that allow you to input metadata tags.
With this two-pronged approach, you can boost your SEO and make your content more relevant both to search engines and to your readers so that more people discover your posts.
Partner With Influencers
You can only toot your own horn so many times before people start to tune you out.
However, social proof theory tells us that validation from external sources is a powerful way to not only boost credibility, but to increase discoverability, too. That’s where partnering with influencers can be a smart move for your content.
Not only are influencers trusted sources for recommendations, but they often have large followings (both on social media and their email lists.) If you can partner with relevant influencers in your niche to create share-worthy content, you can reach thousands of new people through these extended audience.
So what do these partnerships look like?
- Interviews: Conduct interesting, in-depth interviews or Q&A sessions with influencers from your niche
- Roundups: Gather insights from several influencers on a specific topic, and then share that as a “master list”
- Guides: Hire an influencer to help put together an insightful guide, which acts as a go-to resource on a topic within your niche
Here’s an example of what this can look like. TopRankMarketing Blog interviewed marketing expert Ann Handley on her new book and thoughts on content creation in general in this long-form post:
Not only is this an interesting article, but it’s something Ann might want to share with her large following–and it’s something listeners and Ann’s fans might want to share, too. Discoverability at it’s finest.
Note: A best practice is to specify expectations around sharing before putting together an influencer piece of content. Some influencers do interviews only and won’t guarantee they’ll share the finished piece. Make sure you’re both on the same page (in writing) before diving in.
Repurpose Content for Different Mediums
Content has a shorter lifespan when it’s kept on a single platform.
As time passes, it lives in that one space, but gets pushed back further into the archives. You can extend the mileage you get out of content with social media sharing and promoted posts, but after a while, your audience will tune out repeated messages on the aging piece of material.
It doesn’t have to be that way, though. By repurposing content for different mediums, you can use the same information and present it in new, interesting ways.
For example: Say you wrote a blog post on key marketing takeaways from the year. You could later transform that material into a SlideShare presentation that distills the key facts into quick, digestible slides. Same info, new piece of content.
The point is: You don’t always have to recreate the wheel when it comes to content discoverability. By re-purposing your existing content for new mediums, you can reach new audiences and spend less time working from square one.
Include Tools for Easy Sharing
This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many content creators forget to include this discoverability booster.
If you want your audience members to help increase the visibility of your content, you have to many it easy for them to do so.
One of the simplest ways to do that is by adding social sharing buttons in a prominent place on your content pages.
Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the big ones you want to include so that readers can share your content with their own audiences with just a few clicks. Kissmetrics does this over on their blog:
But it doesn’t have to stop there. You can also:
- Encourage your team to share relevant, new content in their email signatures
- Showcase your best content in a welcome email drip campaign (which can be easily forwarded)
- Include “click to tweet” quotes within your articles for easier Twitter sharing
Ultimately, your goal should be to make your content as easily shareable as possible. Don’t make ‘em work for it. Keep sharing simple.
It’s a good idea to test out these different tactics to see which produce the best results for your content. Maybe your readers really like to forward good content via email–or maybe they’d like to see more of your content repurposed for new mediums.
Experiment with these tips to see which helps you acquire the most new site visitors, and in no time you’ll be drawing more views and interacting with more new leads.