What is the content lifecycle? What stages does it consist of? And is there no solution to the “death” of a content? A deepening. No company or brand has not learned to deal with the product life cycle. Likewise, a content creator or anyone investing in content marketing should consider the content life cycle if they care about their strategy’s natural (and practical) success.
Whether it is a blog post, a newsletter, or a Story on Instagram, every piece of content is born, grows, dies. Therefore, the challenge for a content creator is to move away as much as possible from the moment of death of the content or at least to be able to expand the curve of its growth as much as possible.
The Four Stages Of The Content Life Cycle
Traditionally four phases have been identified for the content life cycle: analysis, planning, development, and management. Each of these phrases includes, in turn, a series of operations and tasks that bring into play the skills and experiences of the content creator and that aim to guarantee the best possible performance to the content.
In the analysis phase, for example, a series of different aspects must be considered: who is the typical user to whom you intend to speak? What themes and topics are you currently interested in? In what environments is he doing this? Before and to arrive at the definition of a content strategy, it is necessary, in short, to identify the buyer personas to whom you intend to speak, analyze their digital habits (how long they remain connected, on which platforms, engaged in which activities, etc.)
And insert these habits in a broader picture that may have to do with, for example, trends and hot topics of the moment. It is no coincidence that some emphasize that you cannot do content marketing without first having done social media monitoring, that is, without using the Net for listening and not just for conversations concerning your brand.
The second phase of the content life cycle is the one that most directly affects the content creator’s work. Planning certainly means placing the content within a well-established editorial calendar that can involve different media – you can have, that is, an editorial plan for social media and an editorial project for the corporate blog, for example, but it is good that the two “talk” to each other and respond to a standard editorial line, to an organic strategy.
But, in this phase, it means above all to look at how the content can be optimized with a series of technical measures and make it more performing. From an SEO perspective, this means, for example, that once you have chosen topics and topics to be treated, you should use SEO tools ( from AnswerThePublic to SEOZoom, depending on the budget you have available and taking into account that many of these tools for content creators they have both premium and free versions with reduced functionality, ed) for keyword research.
On a usability level, however, content planning can have to do with its division into paragraphs and the choice of paratexts – images, infographics, etc. – that make it more readable. Still, however, planning content means considering the channel it is intended for and using appropriate forms and languages in the most suitable case.
The content development phase is undoubtedly the most practical. Among the many considerations that could be made in this regard, it is worth emphasizing above all that in this phase, it is essential to put in place the right skills and professionalism: for this reason, even in the previous stages of conception and strategic planning of the content, companies, communication departments, the individual content creators have “done it by themselves,” it is essential that they now rely on specialized professionals – that is, according to the needs of photographers, videomakers, content writers and so on – even when this means outsourcing or look for resources outside of your team.
The last phase of management is the one that can help extend the life cycle of the content. Indeed, it has to do first of all with its distribution. The content must be distributed in the first place on the channel for which it was created: the Facebook page, the Stories on Instagram, an advertorial in a trade magazine, etc. However, it does not necessarily mean that it must be a single distribution: it is possible to program a repeated distribution of the content at a distance of time or in different time slots and speak to diverse audiences.
Above all, one can think of remedying the content on other channels – and the most immediate example is, in this sense, that of a social content that is distributed with the proper precautions both on Facebook, LinkedIn or on other company profiles or owned by those who invest in content marketing, provided to ensure that, from time to time, the content is given the most suitable form for the channel in question.
However, the management phase also includes the moment of analysis: how is the content performing? What results are being achieved? What concrete leads has it already generated? After all, when it is part of a broader communication or personal branding strategy, a content strategy cannot fail to respond to precise and set objectives and not follow the mantra of attracting, converting, close, and delight.
How To Extend The Product Life Cycle With Content Nurturing And Repurposing Content
Considering all this and the fact that creating a single content can have huge costs both from an economic point of view and the number of resources used, it is not difficult to justify the desire to lengthen the cycle of life. There are cases in which this is not possible: think, for example, of temporary contents, that is to say, the Stories that can now be published on practically any platform and have a duration of twenty-four hours.
Content nurturing and repurposing content can help keep older content alive in all other cases. There are at least two ways to follow: you can decide to “feed” the ranges that have proved most successful, updating them continuously and working to make them always current so that they do not stop representing the content of value for their intended purposes or, on the contrary, it is possible to work to extend the life of those contents that at first did not bring satisfactory returns, i.e., by investing on their “long tail” value.
In any case, if the doubt is whether and how much it is worthwhile to update your content constantly, studies such as that of IZEA should be kept in mind, according to which the lifespan of a post would be almost 24 times greater than the traditionally accepted standard of 30 days. ( the research in question refers only to blog posts, ed). In particular, three phases would alternate during this life cycle of the elongated content:
- that of the shout, which ends within the first week and produces an initial steep peak of impressions;
- that of the echo, which can last up to a month from the moment of publication or distribution of the content, when 72% of the impressions of the past have now been reached;
- That of reverberate, which is perhaps the least also studied because metrics and KPI made available by the main tools for content creators are not very effective on the long tail; despite this, almost 30% of its total impressions and interactions often refer to this late stage of the content life cycle.
In short, it is quickly explained, especially in consideration of this last point, why one should never abandon an old content to itself, nor let it die.