Modern content creators strive to deliver fast results—and for good reason. We live in a fast-paced, competitive digital landscape, and marketers are under constant pressure to make an immediate impact with every piece of content they create.
But when it comes to content marketing success, content marketers must prioritize long-term strategy over short-term gains. Ask yourself—would you rather create content that generates immediate traffic and then fades into obscurity, or sustainable content that continues to generate traffic long after it’s published.
The answer is obvious, but another question remains: How can marketers create content that increases in value over time? Enter something called compounding content.
If you’re unfamiliar with compounding content, today’s blog post is for you. We’ll explain the basic concept of compounding content, why it’s important, and how you can leverage compounding content to boost your organic traffic long-term. Keep reading!
What is compounding content?
Compounding content is content that generates more traffic over time ultimately surpassing the traffic initially generated at the time of publishing. Decaying content, on the other hand, is content that sees visits decline over time never exceeding initial traffic numbers.
Compounding content generates organic traffic long after it is published for two main reasons—it is structured to strategically do so and because it contains information that remains relevant as it ages. Decaying content might achieve better traffic up front with spammy titles and promotional efforts, but it decreases in value as it ages because it’s irrelevant or invaluable.
Any type of content can be categorized as compounding—including blog posts, webinars, infographics and more. But for now let’s use blog posts as an example, and compare a compounding post to a standard blog post:
Standard blog post: At the start of 2015, a company who sells a leading marketing automation platform publishes a blog post titled, “The Biggest Marketing Technology Trends to Look Out for in 2015 ” At first, this post generates traffic right after it’s published—but a few years later, it generates almost no traffic. The post no longer offers value—it’s written for a past audience, and the trends it covers are now outdated.
Compounding blog post: In the same year, the same company publishes a blog post titled “How to Build a Marketing Technology Stack.” Though this post generates less traffic initially, its organic traffic numbers rise over time because more people share the content on social media, bookmark it for future reference, and link to it in their own content.
The primary characteristics of compounding content are as follows—it’s evergreen, high-quality, and offers something of value to readers.
Why do you need compounding content?
Content is a valuable asset to build your brand and drive interest in your business—but it’s more time-consuming than most marketing initiatives. Since content creation requires a significant amount of time and resources, marketers must aim to get as much value as possible from each piece of content they create.
Compounding content benefits your overall strategy by producing results long after each blog post, eBook, or webinar is created. And, these extended results requires no additional work. If you put the required effort in, compounding content will generate traffic organically while you continue to produce fresh content.
How to produce compounding content:
Compounding content doesn’t happen by accident—you must strategically plan and create content built for long-term results. Here are a few tips to help you do so:
1. Work with evergreen topics and formats.
Content will only deliver results over time if it remains relevant and useful to your audience. This can be difficult—most industries change rapidly. New trends and best practices emerge and quickly replace others.
But, some content formats are inherently evergreen—meaning they maintain their value for a long period of time. Examples include FAQs, how-to guides, and list-style articles.
2. Cover a broad range of topics.
In the past, we’ve discussed the importance of creating specific, targeted content to appeal to your ideal buyers. We still advise you to do so—but when it comes to compounding content, make sure you don’t get too specific. In order to maximize your long-term results, your content should appeal to a broad range of people within your target audience.
Keep in mind—you can and should continue to produce targeted content for specific segments of your audience. But, try to balance your strategy out with broader topics that will appeal to a wider range of users.
3. Optimize your content accordingly.
In Hubspot’s recent study of compounding blog posts, posts that compound over time tend to include words like “How”, “Why”, “What” and “Best” in their titles (source)—this can be attributed to the simple fact that people often phrase search queries in the form of a question.
This tip applies to all types of content you create, including videos, infographics, eBooks, and whitepapers. When you optimize your content to reflect the way people search for content, you’ll improve your chances of maintaining a strong search engine ranking over time.
In addition to this quick optimization tip, also be sure to follow other SEO best practices. Learn more here:
- How to Optimize a YouTube Channel for SEO Success
- Buyer Personas: The Missing Piece of Your SEO Strategy
- 5 SEO Lessons for the Modern Content Creator
- Public Relations and B2B SEO Best Practices
4. Audit your content library and update outdated content.
It’s important to not only create compounding content but also to update past content so it compounds over time. For this reason, we recommend you perform regular audits of your entire content library.
Learn more about auditing your content library here: The Step-by-Step Guide to a B2B Content Audit.
Key Takeaways on Compounding Marketing Content
While compounding content has several benefits—don’t expect every piece of content to compound over time. Some content will decay no matter how you approach it. But, short-term content still has its place within your strategy. It’s important to balance topical, time-sensitive content with broader content that maintains its relevancy.