Spring-Clean Your Content

Spring-Clean Your Content

March 15, 2018


Time overtakes us all when we’re running a business—and it’s hard to make sure brochures, websites, and social media stay up to date. As part of your spring cleaning, include a quick cleanup of your content. Here are a few practical steps that can make a difference in even just a few hours.


Get rid of dead links

Check the links on your website content and blog posts: Actually go in and click on as many as you can, starting with your home page. Are they broken? Do they lead nowhere? Fixing these provides a better customer or client experience. Nothing is as frustrating as looking for information and getting frozen or blank pages.

Beyond that, fixing bad links can also help keep you from getting dinged in search rankings. The algorithms Google uses really hate dead links; a broken link is like a message to search engines that the site or blog post isn’t legitimate.


Recycle your old brochures and business cards

As you clean your office space, you may encounter a box – or multiple boxes – of business cards or brochures that you haven’t touched in more than a year.

Take a moment with a scratch pad and write down the reasons why you haven’t used these materials. Did you order too many (or did you benefit from a print overrun)? Has your information or logo changed? Do you find you just don’t need them?

This is a good time to think about your visual identity, too. Are your logos dated? Do they match what you have on your website or newer materials?

Visual consistency is vitally important to your brand and business. The human brain processes visuals 60,000 times faster than it does text, according to a neurological study. Make sure your colors, shapes, and logos match up to maximize your visual impact and recognition by customers.

Next look at your messages. Is your tagline the same? How about information such as address, hours, or phone numbers? Any materials with inaccurate information have to go.  You can lose a customer for good in the time it takes for them to find a correct address.

Does your brochure look dated, with typefaces and design techniques from years ago? If your materials use photos or illustrations, do you have a mix of people pictured that reflect your business goals of inclusion? This is a place that can trip you up. Every bit of content should convey the message that all customers and clients are welcome.

Is there too much information, or too little? A brochure should be something people can skim for information, and at the same time be attractive as a type of advertising.

If your cards and brochures don’t measure up anymore, they have an appointment with the recycling bin. But save three to 10 copies. You may want to use or repurpose some of the language. You’ll want a record of your marketing efforts in the past, so you can repeat what works and change what doesn’t—and track how your market has changed.

For businesses that are small, individual, and evolving fast, consider creating a brochure website. This is a one-page website, often with a number of panels on what used to be thought of as a home page, and only one or two internal pages. Usually the contact page is one of these. They’re simple, inexpensive, and agile. It immediately cuts back on your content spend, and your design spend can go to serious projects such as logos or signage.


Clean up your rep

Google yourself, just as a potential customer or client would. See the results through their eyes. Do you like what you see?

There are several ways to work with your search presence to make it more to your liking. But the top thing to remember is to be authentic. Don’t try to play games with algorithms or search terms. Before posting that Yelp reply, run it by someone you trust. Measure twice, post once is the rule.

The best reputation solutions also depend heavily on your industry or type of business. Check your industry association or franchiser group for ideas from people who have been there.

There are reputation services that can help do the job for you. Even if you go this route, checking for yourself first will give you good information about whether such a service is worthwhile for your business.


Dust off your old blog posts

This is easy—and can even be enjoyable. Scroll through your blog posts to find ones that generated lots of thumbs up, likes, or comments.

Mark at least three for revision and updates, and give them new life. Here are some tips:

  • Check links and clean them up.
  • Check research, statistics, and data. Has there been new work done in this area? Has research been debunked?
  • Retain your keywords and key phrases whenever possible. Some of your readers/followers may have alerts or searches set for these keywords, so you’ll catch them again on the rebound.
  • Scan the comments. Did someone point out an error? Look for questions, good additional points, links within the comments. They’re all takeoff points for your update. It’s valuable information on what interests and engages your audience.
  • Make sure you indicate to readers that this is an updated blog post. Include the date the original appeared. You can integrate this into the new lead paragraph, or write a separate note on top of the post. It’s a great step for transparency and builds trust and credibility.
  • As you’re working, note whether any comments would make a good new blog post subject. Going with what’s generated interest in the past is a good way to grab readers into the future.
  • Let yourself feel a sense of accomplishment—even if only one person liked your blog post, that’s one person changed in some way by your ideas. Nice work!


Play with your social media profiles

Social media marketing isn’t something you can clean up once a year. It requires steady, focused, and persistent efforts to pay off. Viral successes that appear as if they happened overnight are usually results of concerted strategy or a learned and honed facility with social media, whether that’s obvious or not.

But the good part is the risks of neglecting social media aren’t terribly high. Even if trolls post on your Facebook page or Twitter feed, it’s easy to fix, and it’s easy for most visitors to overlook—they’ve had it happen to them, too.

One area that often gets overlooked for cleanup is your profile. Updating your profile requires the same principles as your other content:

  • Is your visual brand identity consistent? Does your logo on Instagram match that on your business now?
  • Is it time for a new profile photo? Consider a professional headshot.
  • Is your messaging the same? Can you give more information about yourself in the Facebook “about” panel?
  • If you’re on Twitter, you may want to play a bit with your profile. Even your user name can change every day there (but not your @address). Serious business leaders and social media sensations alike have goofy, mysterious, and evocative descriptive lines in their Twitter profiles, and it works. If playfulness and originality is part of your brand, a Twitter profile can be a good place to show that off.


Sara Wildberger is a freelance writer and content strategist who helps you use the power of story to reach your business, personal, or nonprofit goals.


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