It’s everyone’s favorite time of year… Spring cleaning!
And yes—that applies to your content marketing tactics just as much as it does to your home.
There’s nothing worse than trying to function in a messy living space, and the same goes for where your content lives. If a potential customer lands in a disorganized pile of content, how are they supposed to know what to read and where to go next?
Time to dust off, scrub down and revamp your content structure to keep your Hub lookin’ fresh. Here’s how to get it done.
Step 1. Perform a content audit and pull your Item and Stream data.
Ever watched Hoarders? One of the first things they do when trying to declutter a home is gut it of pretty much everything, then organize it into “Keep” and “Trash” piles. That’s kind of how a content audit works in the context of a Hub restructure.
The data from the content audit will give you the information you need to make any major restructuring decisions (e.g. adding or hiding a Stream or an Item based on its age/performance). A content audit will also provide you with a complete picture of your current content structure, allowing for a birdseye perspective of:
- Your content landscape
- Overpopulated Streams
- Underpopulated Streams
- Stream opportunities
- CTA opportunities
- Content opportunities (my favorite!)
If you’ve performed a content audit, skip ahead to Step 2. If not, we highly recommend you perform a content audit. Or, you can simply pull your content/Stream info by following these steps:
- Go to Hub Metrics → Page Views → Item Performance.
- Set your date range (ideally from the beginning of time).
- Export CSV Data.
- For the purpose of this exercise, you can delete the Stream ID, Stream Type, & Page Views columns—all you need are the Item Name, Stream Name, and Item ID.
Step 2. Lay out your current Hub structure, specifically: Content Location, Stream Information and CTA Information.
Once you have your Item & Stream data, you’ll need to organize all of your content by its current Stream(s). This will give you a clear picture of what’s where.
You can arrange this in whichever way makes sense to you: lists, charts, graphs, etc. I found it incredibly helpful to actually plot out where the Items were located in a spreadsheet “map”. The spreadsheet contained the Item names in the first column and all of the Streams across the top row. I colored the cells to indicate where the item was located.
Here’s how I created it (note: this is a bit tricky and involves some spreadsheet fanangling):
- Start a new Excel or Google spreadsheet containing only 3 columns of data: Stream Name, Item Name, and Item ID (the information you grabbed in Step 1). It’s best if they’re in this order.
- In the same document, open a new sheet (Sheet 2).
- Copy and paste all of the Item Names in Column A in Sheet 2. Highlight the column and remove the duplicates (Data > Remove Duplicates).
- Copy and paste all of the Stream Names in any column in Sheet 2. Highlight the column and remove the duplicates. Then, cut and paste transpose in Row A — do this by right clicking on the cell at Row A, Column B, selecting “Paste Special”, and checking off “Transpose”. You should now have all of the Items listed in Column A, and all of the Stream Names listed across Row A.
- Use the Item ID as a unique identifier to match the corresponding Items & Streams. Fill in the cell with the color of your choice to indicate where there’s a match. You can do this manually, but if you have a lot of content, I would recommend using this shortcut:
- Use a modified VLOOKUP function to find the Item ID as it appears in each Stream from the data on Sheet 1 (the modification will help avoid those pesky “#N/A” errors for Streams that don’t contain a certain piece of content). Go column by column (Stream by Stream) to ensure you’re not pulling duplicate information.
- The Item IDs should now populate the Streams in which they currently exist in your Hub. Add conditional formatting to automatically color them in:
- Select the area containing the Item IDs.
- Choose Conditional Formatting → New Rule → Format all cells based on their values.
- Choose “Number” from the drop-down menu under both “Minimum” and Maximum”.
- Select the same color under both “Minimum” and “Maximum”.
- Click “Okay” and admire your new color-coded spreadsheet.
Phew! Wasn’t that fun? Spreadsheets are so much more exciting when they’re colorful.
On a serious note, double-check to ensure that your map is accurate and your Items actually are in the Streams indicated in your document.
If you completed your content audit, you’ll have the following information about your Streams and the Items in them:
- Social Shares
- Meta description
If you don’t have this information, pull it from your Hub and/or Google Analytics. Use Screaming Frog SEO Spider to easily gather all of your Streams’ meta descriptions (see Step 4 in the content audit instructions).
List the Stream data (including the meta descriptions) in a new sheet in your restructure map.
If your CTAs are getting out of control, this is a must-do. You can run a high-level analysis using the metrics dashboard in the Hub. Or, add your CTA data to your restructure map. Run an all-time report on your CTA performance to see which placements are working and which need a revamp:
- In your Hub, go to Metrics → CTA Click Throughs → CTA Performance.
- Set the appropriate date range (ideally all-time).
- Export CSV Data.
- Add as a new sheet to your restructure map.
Understanding where your CTAs are located and how they’re performing in context will help you plan your restructure.
Step 3. Use your data to determine the new structure.
Alright, so now you have a VERY clear map indicating where your content is located. Using the information you gathered from your content audit, you are now prepared to make some data-driven decisions on how you want to modify your content experience.
Get together with your marketing team and ask the following questions:
- Does our current structure align with our content goals?
- Are there any areas of opportunity for new Streams and new pieces of content?
- Which Streams are performing well?
- Which Streams are not performing well?
- Should any content be added to another Stream?
- Should any Streams be updated?
- Do we need to change our menu?
- Are there any Hub features that should be turned off or on? (Consider the “Download eBook” button for Flipbooks, the "Show Item Body" CTA effect, etc. Keep up with new features in our Knowledge Base.)
- How can we maintain the new structure moving forward?
I mapped out our new structures by duplicating the sheet containing the restructure map, then going through each Item and indicating whether it should be hidden or added to another Stream using a color-coding system. Again,it really helps to visualize this process.
Modify the Streams’ meta descriptions and CTA copy and placements as necessary. Always trace your decisions back to your data and your content marketing goals.
Step 4. Implement new structure.
This step doesn’t require a whole lot of explanation, but it will require a whole lot of care. Don’t implement passively—set aside a good amount of time to ensure you’re implementing the restructure properly.
Follow your restructure map carefully. Hide old Streams, irrelevant content and CTAs. Add any new streams and CTAs, and check that all placements are correct and all appropriate features are being used. Beware of spelling errors!
Step 5. Bask in your squeaky clean content experience!
I had two reactions after determining and implementing our content restructure with our team.
First, how great is it that a team of marketers could shift what we needed to without bugging any of our developers?
Second, everything felt so clear. I finally had a document outlining where every Item was located, and could clearly see how our content was actually aligning with our content marketing goals.
Spring cleaning is a chore, but a necessary one if you want to provide a crystal clear content experience for your audience.