Peyton Manning currently resembles an old, Western cowboy riding into the proverbial sunset that is Super Bowl 50. Many of my friends and colleagues here in Indianapolis (given that the Colts were eliminated long ago) are pulling for Peyton to muster what little strength and energy he has left in that 39-year-old body for one last win.
As marketers, do we always have to be creating brand-new, groundbreaking content from the ground up? Or can we reuse, recycle, and ride that seemingly ageless whitepaper to one more glorious campaign success? Let’s take a look at what different content retirement strategies are out there, related via their professional athlete doppelgangers.
The Barry Sanders
This is some of the best work that your company (or partner agency) has ever produced. It seems to come just at the right time as your content marketing efforts have been struggling to generate downloads and leads. You are absolutely ecstatic as you shatter previous download records, and company leadership can not stop gushing about how this single piece of content will surely propel your organization into the mystical position of industry thought leader. Then, it all ends. Lead velocity suddenly vanishes or the subject material becomes utterly void (I’m sure there were plenty of guides on how to maximize marketing on MySpace, Cha Cha, and link building).
This one is hard to see coming, but the reality is that this is fairly rare and can still drive results in the short term. Avoid a “Sanders” piece by doing plenty of research prior to launch. Take a look at some of your competitors’ most successful works and look to put your own spin on a similar topic. This will help mitigate risk while also being sure to promote your company’s advantages, messaging, and creativity.
The Brett Favre (alternatively, the Michael Jordan)
For whatever reason, this content has been doubted for being old or irrelevant, but reality says that time and again, your audience continues to consume it. You have retired it multiple times, even pulled it off of your website, but in a pinch, you know where you are going for a quick jolt of excitement via a repurposing. The first couple times that you relaunch via integrated campaigns, you do not even have to bother updating or changing much, simply roll it out as is. Six months later? Change the title, replace your statistics with more current ones, and update a couple graphics. Boom! That baby is coming out of retirement with a vengeance similar to the athletic legends listed above.
Want to pull a true MJ with this piece? Convert it into a different format (basketball to baseball, right?). That whitepaper that is chock full of statistics and quotes? Flip it into an infographic and watch those download numbers skyrocket yet again!
The Peyton Manning
Whether you and your team wants to admit it, this is probably the end. You have performed countless “surgeries” in order to update and invigorate this piece of content, but unfortunately, “this is probably the last rodeo,” to quote Peyton himself. This retirement strategy is one of review, reflection, and appreciation. Go back through the different campaigns that you have executed based on this piece. Where did you exceed expectations and why? Where did you fall short?
Review your A/B tests for future campaigns. You are A/B testing, right? Don’t worry, more to come on that next week if you need some help.
Ask questions. Your team, technology providers, and industry peers are all learning and progressing with their content marketing just like you. I would bet that they are likely more than happy to share their past successes and failures.
A plethora of industry experts have deemed durable content marketing as the future of B2B marketing, but remember that your company’s future success in content marketing may already be in your past waiting to be resurrected.