Bad content is usually always your fault. Take that like a champ because you can control whether things change or whether you continue to churn out little humpback trolls of ineffective blog pieces. The power is in your ability to effectively know your product, know your customers problems so well you almost seem like you have stalked them and watch them sleep at night (you have with your market research, tracking codes and analytics), and know how best to attract them to sit down at your dinner table to consume what will nurture them intellectually.
When planning a dinner party, having a general menu is expected. What would it be like if you forgot to find out whether you have vegans, or those who are allergic to shellfish at your table only offered one surf and turf option? Wouldn’t things have a better chance of going off without a hitch if you had taken a survey of what preferences were and special requests so that you can accommodate unique tastes and medical requirements?
Like a steak and lobster dinner pushed in front of the face of a sensitive guest, our content can sometime be more about what we want to write than what the reader actually prefers. A content strategy sometimes is considered as working because content is being published and not because it performs. Churning out fishy, poorly written, unappealing pieces that focus on word counts rather than the logical development of hard hitting, soul stirring, informational or entertaining topics will end up going to the dog. This is true regardless of the time, energy and resources spent preparing for and inviting people to by means of PPC, publicity, social, search engine optimization, or other digital and traditional marketing strategy.
This makes it worth any creators time and resources to do a content audit and see what performs. If the challenge is finding writers that can create authoritative content, it may be more valuable to find more experienced writers and make an investment in them, than to produce a lot of what doesn’t work.
Other content types may perform better including video, podcasts, magazines, and other media. Whatever form the content type you deliver it needs to, among other thing, do the following things to be palatable:
- Share an opinion and the reasons for this conclusion.
- Provide instructions and resources.
- Stir emotions and trigger reactions including surprise, laughter, sadness, anger and relief.
- Solve the problems and answer the questions of those who are coming to you for an answer.
- Be more consultative or information than salesy, unless the content is sales copy.
- Help people achieve a desired goal (better hair, profitable business, new job).
- Inspire to action.
- Be grammatically correct.
Without digging into more high level strategy of content development, some questions to ask to create content that meets the abovementioned goals, ask:
- What is the purpose of this piece?
- Who needs this?
- What is the best format to deliver this information (video, listicle, social media post)?
- What other resources do I need to substantiate this, make it exhaustive, or make it appealing/colorful?
- When is this most likely to serve people the most (seasonal, time of day, at list opt-in, etc.)?
- How can I organize this content so that it makes sense to my audience and help them to reach the desired reaction or decision?
Once those questions are answered, develop your piece and use tools like Google Analytics, Hootsuites native analytic tools, and other things in your dashboard to see how the item performs. Seeing comments and sales conversions can make help you see whether you are on the money or have totally missed the boat.
A word of caution. It’s not content alone that will help you determine whether this works. The proper distribution of the content needs to be considered as much as the piece itself. Sharing on social media, on a company blog, strategically placed at a physical location or elsewhere can provide insights that will help you be smarter about what and where you produce.
This is just a starter consideration. For more in depth and personalized content strategy contact me here.