4 Ways to Bring Your Non-Viral Content Back from the Dead

A green sprout comes up through the pavement to introduce our blog post, Four ways to use non viral content.

Our previous post, “Is Non-Viral Content Dead on Arrival,” uncovered the sometimes-harsh realities that can block even strong content from reaching the viral status marketers hope for (and stakeholders often demand).

Good news: there are ways in which even non-viral content can be useful on your site and for your business goals. Better yet, there are strategic ways you can use such content to make it more valuable.

In this follow-up post we’ll explore four ways you can get value from your less-popular content.

1. Target to a Better Audience

How to pitch your content to media writers through targeting.

If you’re convinced that your content piece should have received more response if only it were seen by the right people, it might have been your reliance on organic social and search that let you down.

Make no mistake about it: you should talk about your content on organic social media and optimize it for organic search. But sometimes for all sorts of reasons neither of those come through for you.

In that case, if you’re convinced of the value of the content, use some well-targeted paid search and paid social campaigns to get the right eyeballs on your thoughts or research. Your organic audience didn’t put your content into your target audiences’ feeds, but for a relatively low cost you can place that content right under the nose of the right people. 

If you don’t have much experience in running such campaigns, a good consultant or agency can help you get the targeting and creative just right for your intended audience.

2. Promote It To Relevant Bloggers/Writers

Promote content to media writers.

As I’ll show you below, it isn’t necessary for content to get mass exposure for it to be useful for you. However, there may still be a chance even if that first round of promotion didn’t boost it to the stratosphere.

Fact: Writers at publications are constantly on the prowl for a great story. Your stalled content piece might be the hot topic they are looking for.

Here’s how to increase chances your content might spark a story idea for media writers:

  1. Create a list of reputable, respected publications and blogs in your industry or related in some way to your business or products. Media databases are available for a subscription fee, but if you don’t have that available to you, Google searches of “Top X publications about [topic]” can quickly get you on your way to generating powerful media lists. 
  2. This can involve some manual work of reading through headlines and articles. Cool thing is, you’ll learn a lot more about various topics as a great byproduct of the effort. 
  3. From that list, figure out the regular writers for each publication who write about topics relevant to you and try to get their contact info and/or social media profiles.
  4. Make a list of your evergreen content that hasn’t already been widely exposed and cross-match each post to the publications and writers that are best fits for it. Your research in step-2 will likely spark some moments where you connect additional dots to your existing content stable.
  5. Message those writers with a brief, to-the-point pitch for your content. This is not a pitch for them to republish or syndicate your content. Rather you are proposing your content as a good jump-off point for a piece they may want to write. So it’s very important that you go right to the unique take or data or finding that your content offers.

The aim here is to help these writers do their job by giving them something to write about. In return, you hope for a reference to your brand and a link to your content. Don’t be afraid to ask politely for both, and be sure to provide a link to your original post.

3. Use It as Sales Collateral

A business team gathers around a wooden table cluttered with coffees, tablets, reports, laptops and phones.

My first two tips involve attempts to get more exposure for content that didn’t go viral. My final two will demonstrate how content can be useful without ever getting traction on social or search.

Talking with thousands of companies over the years, it never ceases to amaze me how little familiarity their sales teams have with their brand content. The tragedy is that it could be a gold mine for their sales efforts.

One of the chief complaints we hear from salespeople is “the company doesn’t give me anything to work with.” So, give them something to work with! From case studies to white papers to blog posts that didn’t catch fire, your content can provide your sales team with exactly what they need to help their leads toward pulling the buy trigger.

Prospects are often nervous about pulling that trigger, especially if your product or service involves some significant expense on their part. One of the jobs of your sales team is to provide reassurance that helps the prospect feel more secure about making a positive choice for your business.

Your existing content can play a significant role in providing that assurance. How? It can:

  • Demonstrate your expertise or capabilities.
  • Provide more information about products or services.
  • Answer prospects’ questions.
  • Get them more familiar and comfortable with your brand and what it stands for.

Here’s how to help your sales staff make better use of your content (and in the process make friends who will support your budget for more and better content!):

  • Audit your evergreen content to find pieces that will be most useful to your sales staff. Keep in mind all the purposes listed above. Update any content that needs it.
  • Create a spreadsheet or database of that content, with categories or tags so sales people can quickly find the right piece of content to share with a prospect.
  • Perhaps email the sales team from time to time, alerting them to new content that might be great to share with their leads.

4. Repurpose It

Four primary colored recycle bins lined up.

The “failed” content that frustrates you most is probably some of your longer form content. It took more time to create, and thus the lack of exposure hurts all the more.

But that longer form content can have a second life through repurposing. In general, repurposing content means adapting an existing piece of content to another medium. For example, use the content of a text blog post as the basis for a video, for the script of an audio podcast, or for a conference presentation.

The Slice and Dice Technique
Repurposing can be particularly effective when you “slice and dice” longer content. Use smaller portions of your long form content to create “micr-posts” elsewhere.

Why “elsewhere”? Republishing parts of existing content on the same site could cause duplicate content issues for your SEO. While there is no such thing as a “duplicate content penalty,” having the same content in more than one place on a site can confuse search engines, and too much of it might lead them to devalue your site because you don’t appear to have enough original content.

The trick here is to find other places to post the snippets from your long form piece. Let’s use the post you’re reading as an example of how to do this.

This post has four sections, each an individual tip on how to create more value for your non-viral content. I could take each of those four tips and turn them into their own posts on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Medium (among other possibilities). You could even have a call to action at the end of each post saying something like “Get more tips on making your non-viral content useful at…” linking to the original post on you site.

(LinkedIn hack! Some marketers have suggested there’s a huge viral opportunity for high-value content in regular LinkedIn posts [NOT published as LinkedIn articles] that do not link outside LinkedIn. The going observation is LinkedIn will push it more aggressively to larger audiences than it does with link posts.)

When repurposing a snippet from your original content, you will probably need to do some minor editing to the snippet, eliminating references to other parts of the original post and perhaps adding an appropriate brief intro and conclusion.

The slice-and-dice tactic not only creates more opportunities for your content to get exposure, it solves that nagging problem of “what do I post today.” Potentially, each piece of content you publish could multiply into many more content opportunities.

Do you have some other ways to breathe new life into your less-popular content? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter at AIMCLEAR (opens in a new tab)”>@AIMCLEAR.

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