Maybe it’s because we’re based in San Francisco, a city of Eco-health conscious individuals, but everyone we talk to lately wants to do a cleanse. You know, 3-5 days of no food, drinking green swamp water made of kale and ginger and healthy things like that. Said to detoxify and get rid of the bad stuff, cleanses are like a new beginning for your body.

So what the heck does this have to do with content marketing? Well, all this chatter about cleansing got us thinking… Shouldn’t we do the same thing for our content? Say what? Seriously, take a step back and have a hard look at your content marketing efforts – all of them. The whole kit and caboodle from your website copy, your email marketing messages, videos (if you’ve got ‘em), even your Facebook and Twitter feeds. Are they a bit slow, sluggish and frankly, er, stopped up? If your content is less than stellar, let’s examine how to give it a 3-step content cleanse. Purge, cleanse, maintain.

1. PURGE – When embarking on the first step in your content marketing cleanse, go through everything you’ve got and see what you have to work with. Recruit a co-worker, a friend, or someone you can bribe with a decent bottle of Pinot Noir (hey, it’s our cleanse and we can do it how we want) and give your content some tough love. Get rid of anything that’s not adding value for your customers or prospects. Ask yourself, “Is my content selling or helping?” If you answered selling, kick it to the curb. Also eliminate anything that’s outdated, or irrelevant. Good content isn’t about quantity, it’s about quality. Better to have a few pieces of highly useful information that you can optimize vs. a bunch of crap that no one wants to read.

2. CLEANSE – Now that you know what you’ve got to work with, you can identify what’s missing, or what you identified that needs sprucing up. But, don’t make a rookie mistake in this crucial step of your cleanse. Before you touch your fingers to your keyboard, you must know one thing… WHY? Why are you creating this content? After you’ve answered that, you’ll want to focus on the other “Ws” that Ann Handley and C.C. Chapman outline in their book, Content Rules:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want your content to achieve?
  • When and how will you develop content?
  • Where are you going to publish?

Remember, the cleanse step doesn’t have to be a daunting process. View it as a chance to get to know yourself and your company. Once you’ve nailed it, you’ll be able to identify and produce the kind of content your audience needs and wants. Because it’s about them, not you.

3. MAINTAIN– Congratulations, you’ve arrived at the final stage of your 3-step content cleanse. In the maintain stage, you start gaining traction (and eyeballs) on all the great content you’re producing as a result of stages 1 and 2. But, we’re gonna be brutally honest with you here… you’ll never arrive at an end point with your content. You’ve got to continue to produce killer, engaging and useful information. But now that you’ve completed step 2, you know who you are, what you want to accomplish and what your audience needs. That knowledge removes so many barriers to producing and promoting great content so this stage is where the fun begins. And, just because this is business doesn’t mean your content needs to be boring and stuffy. As Ann and C.C. state, “Lighten up. You’ve got to care, certainly. But you also have to approach it with a sense of enthusiasm – and even fun.”

There you have it, a 3-step content cleanse that’ll get your content marketing moving ;). Let us know how your cleanse goes and what challenges you encounter.

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