You Don’t Need More Content, You Need Better Content
If you go to a restaurant and are served a bland meal, would you be happy if the manager offered you more of that same disappointing food in an effort to make it better? Of course not -- you’d want to go to a different restaurant and eat better food.
More is not always a good solution.
So why, then, are you working yourself ragged in the metaphorical kitchen trying to churn out more and more and more bland content that your readers don’t even want? If your content isn’t generating the results that you were hoping for, the solution isn’t to do more of what doesn’t work, it’s to do better.
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Give the People What They Want (Or Else)
Your audience -- Twitter followers, email subscribers, readers, etc. -- are one of the most valuable assets that you have. They are not just pairs of eyeballs that read your content, they are potential leads, customers, and brand ambassadors. One of the most serious consequences of producing bland content -- or selling too hard -- is that you risk boring your community and driving them away.
A solution? Get to know what they are looking for.
Don’t let it get to the point where a reader is so frustrated with your content that they hit the unsubscribe or unfollow button -- be proactive. Make it a point of reaching out individually to some of your subscribers or most active readers and ask them what they enjoy and don’t enjoy about your content. The key here is to make it personal. So for the love of all that is good, don’t cop out and send them a survey.
Use this opportunity to solicit their feedback on the kind of content they would like to see more of, and channel that information into your editorial calendar and content strategy.
Look Back to Your Big Wins
You know how when you reflect back on past life experiences, the lessons you learned from them seem to be a whole lot clearer than they did at the time? Well, that same wisdom can be applied to your content efforts.
With that in mind, here is your task: pull all of your content from the last six to nine months (longer, if you have the time!) and critically analyze each piece in order to determine major trends. In your analysis, pay attention to metrics like:
- social shares,
- open rates,
- conversion rates,
- and number of comments.
Once you have identified your most successful pieces, the next step is to identify the characteristics that they share. Here are some examples of the questions -- both qualitative and quantitative -- that you can use in your analysis:
- What was the content format? Were successful pieces more visual?
- Did these pieces start with a story?
- Was something being sold?
- What was the average length/word count?
- Are there common themes in the titles?
- What day of the week was the content published on?
- What time of day was the content published at?
Regular monitoring of analytics can keep you in the loop on the effectiveness of your content on a daily basis, but sometimes stepping back and taking a look at the bigger picture can yield some valuable insights that you wouldn’t have gained otherwise.
Run Content Through the Useful Filter
One of the simplest ways to make your content better is to make it more useful.
Good content solves a problem, offers a solution, or meets a need. Somewhere along the way, in between promoting new product launches and fun blog posts about your corporate culture, the usefulness of your content can take a bit of a nosedive. Ultimately, if you want your content to be successful, you need to make it attractive to click on and worth your audience’s while to read through.
Enter the usefulness filter -- super simple, super impactful. When you are developing new content, whether it’s an infographic or an Instagram post, ask yourself this three-part question:
- Is this content useful to my dear?
- If so, what is the specific value are they receiving?
- Is that value being clearly communicated?
Oh, and another thing: not all your content is going to be useful to your entire audience. As HubSpotter Corey Eridon explains, “email segmentation is important because it allows you to deliver only the most relevant, customized content to your subscribers.” This level of customization, she shares, makes you “better able you are to deliver content that speaks directly to their interests, making you a fixture in their inbox they don't want to get rid of.”
Put Your Content to Work for You
Perhaps one of the most compelling arguments for not endlessly pumping out content comes from Derek Halpern of Social Triggers:
“It’s smarter to find another 10,000 people to consume what you’ve already created as opposed to creating more. Or, in other words, create content 20% of the time. Spend the other 80% of the time promoting what you created.”
Halpern argues that instead of aimlessly publishing more content that will likely just get lost in the noise of the internet, you would be better off focusing your time and energy on getting your existing content in front of the right people. This can be anything from repackaging and republishing your content on sites like LinkedIn or Medium, to simply sending the link to an influencer whose audience might be interested in your content.
Don’t Kill Yourself for Mediocre Results
The goal of content marketing isn’t just to create content -- it’s to drive forward real business objectives. What follows, then, is that if your content is not converting like you planned, simply creating more of it won’t be helpful.
Every blog post, every tweet, every explainer video you release is an opportunity to build your brand, grow your customer base, and drive sales. Don’t waste that opportunity, or your audience’s time.
With that in mind, here is my challenge to you: pick one of these four tactics that you will commit to implementing into your content strategy by the end of the week. It can be something as small as re-publishing a successful piece, or as extensive as emailing all of your subscribers personally -- all that matters is that you pick a place and start.
Once you’ve picked your next step, leave a comment below letting us know which one you chose! Accountability FTW.