9 steps to implementing successful content walls

9 steps to implementing successful content walls

Use these 9 steps to create your next content wall quickly, get more traffic, and increase time on page on your website.

Content Wall

Tiago Youssef

Tiago Youssef

May 30, 2022

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Even though content walls sound conceptually simple, building them requires you to sit down and align the content strategy with editors and content producers and with design, IT, and social media teams.

Implement successful Content Walls using these steps 

1. Create a publishing plan for your content walls

An excellent editorial plan for a content wall should have a mix of timely and “evergreen” content. 

Timely content means “breaking news” - topics people are excited about this month. For example, a sports publisher might feature interviews with a sports team after they win a major championship.

In comparison, evergreen content are topics that are likely to be relevant for months or years to come. For example, an evergreen content idea might include spring cleaning tips in a lifestyle publication.

2. Research content ideas

For your content wall to succeed, it needs to offer interesting content that your audience is interested in. To give your content the best chance of succeeding, use research tools to get new ideas. Here are three free Google tools you can use.

Google Trends - see what topics people are searching for! Remember to try several variations on your keywords (i.e. not just “laptops” but also “personal computers”)

Google Alerts - set up alerts for topics relevant to your website or publication. 

Google Keyword Planner - this free tool is created for advertisers who want to advertise products and services on Google. However, you can also use this tool to estimate how many people are interested in different keywords.

After using these tools, your team can prioritize content that will go on the content wall and even have ideas for new content sections. 

Tip: Get inspiration from your competition 

You don’t have to work from a blank page. Take a look at your top 3-4 competitors and see what kidneys of content they are publishing. Use a tool like BuzzSumo to see which content has gone viral on social media.

Once you spot some interesting ideas, look for ways to add your own perspective to it. For example, can you offer your audience more recent data, better photos or approach the topic from a different angle? 

Let’s say you run an entertainment news website. You use BuzzSumo and see that a  competitor create an article on the richest actors in America. There are plenty of ways you could approach that idea with a new angle. For instance, you might focus on the most successful standup comedians, athletes or simply look at a different country (e.g. the most successful  British actors)

3. Repurpose your existing content

Creating some original content for your content wall is smart, but you can also repurpose existing content. Let’s say you are creating a content wall for the most popular golf courses in America. You might already have photos and articles on five great golf courses. In that case, adapt those existing content assets and put them into your content wall.

Tip: To maximize your SEO traffic, avoid copying and pasting older content entirely. Instead, take a few minutes to update any content that was published over a year ago before putting it in your content wall.

4. Be thoughtful about content categorization 

Clear categorization of content is a key reason why content wall is valuable. So, spend some time think about the best categories for your content wall. Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind.

Start with audience interests

Whether you use surveys, online analytics or other means, use content categories that match the words that your audience uses. IF your audience loves to use specialized jargon, then use those terms on your content wall.

Adjust to fit your capacity and business goals.

A content wall can be take hours or weeks to create depending on its complexity. When you first get started with a content wall, we recommend keeping it simple. Start with three to five categories.

As you finish your content wall plan, verify that your concept advances your business goals. If you need to maximize user time on site to grow ad revenue, keep in mind the topics and feedback you receive from advertisers. If you are focused on lead generation, make sure there is some space for lead generation calls to action inside the content wall.

5. Choose a flexible content management tool

Publishing content walls gets much easier when you have the right tool. The content management system (CMS) you choose should support multiple users (i.e. several journalists and editors at the same time). In addition, the CMS should make it easy to plan, create, publish, and update content.

If you’re building a short list of content management systems to run your content wall, make sure you include the Arena Content Wall.

6. Pay attention to design and usability

A content wall features many different pieces of content. Without proper design and usability, it is easy for your users to get lost and confused. 

To maximize engagement, keep in mind that your content wall should be easy to skim. Generally, the fewer clicks it takes to get to the content from the homepage, the better. You want people to find it quickly so they stay on your site longer. 

In terms of design, take inspiration from digital magazines and social media feeds. While these sources can give you inspiration, your content wall should also match your brand’s look and feel.

7. Track your critical business KPIs

After you build and publish your content wall, measure your key marketing metrics to see if it is resonating with your market. In particular, check the following metrics.

Unique visitors

Track how many visitors check out the content wall and compare this to other parts of your website.

Traffic source

Monitor how you are getting visitors to the content wall (i.e. social media mentions, links on other websites etc).

User behavior

Find out what else website visitors do after seeing your content wall. For example, you might want visitors to sign up for email updates. If most users leave your website immediately after viewing your content wall, you may want revisit and update your links and navigation.

8. Work on personalization

Besides having an exciting content wall that looks appealing to a heterogeneous audience, publishers should find tools that recognize each person and provide personalized experiences based on their unique interests and navigation patterns. 

After categorizing content contextually, it’s time to design targeted experiences around it. For instance, they could involve personalized messages, push notifications, or a personalized newsletter for clusters of customers. By addressing each customer’s specific interests, you can boost engagement and customer loyalty.

9. Optimize distribution

Now that you’ve created your content walls, it is essential to market them in different distribution channels. Your team should consider different profiles of customers and the stage of their relationship with your brand. Are they already subscribers? Have they just accessed your website for the first time? Different stages require different approaches, but some strategies can work across different profiles. 

Internal links

Your website should have a healthy number of links pointing people toward your content wall. Internal links show your audience and search engines that your content is essential.

Referral Traffic

Contacting other websites to tell them about your new content wall is a great way to gain traffic today and build relationships for the future. Your team can build relationships with sites and brands that share an expected audience with your company, to drive referral traffic to your website through their channels as well.

Partnerships and endorsements

Endorsements and partnerships might be tricky for publishers because they need editorial independence. However, sponsorships are not always harmful. Imagine a newspaper that has an entrepreneurship section on a content wall. Why not have a rising startup endorse and promote the section in their channels during an arranged period? The partner will undoubtedly be happy to be featured in the paper, while it can get new sources of traffic.

Paid media 

If you want to reach audiences outside your existing customer base, it might be interesting to invest in social ads targeted at specific communities you want to attract. Keep in mind that paid media promotion can be very costly so you may only want to invest in this type of distribution for your most impressive content walls.

Conclusion

Content walls are a powerful way to attract visitors from the search engines and keep your audience engaged. Use the tips in this guide to plan a content wall that drives your business forward. 

To get started with content walls, check out Arena’s Content Wall solution.

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