We all know that content on our websites and social media is what drives traffic, generates leads, and ultimately grows our business. And lucky for us, producing content is easier than ever. Technology enables quick in-house video production. Blogs enable everyone to be a writer, so hiring someone is easier every day. Even websites can be created in a matter of hours with templates. In other words, creating masses of content and putting it into the world no longer takes an army or even a lot of planning.
But these advances are deceiving. I’m guessing many of you have used these techniques, probably with limited success. In the two years since I founded my marketing agency, I’ve tried some of them myself. But in that same two years, as I’ve grown my own business and helped others grow theirs, I’ve learned that these things don’t work. Not by themselves, anyway. Having a video that doesn’t interest your audience is worse than having no video at all. Filling your website with blog posts that no one finds or reads is not a good use of resources. Volume of content does not in any way equal volume of leads.
Content might be king, but the reality is that only GOOD content is king. And by “good”, I don’t mean stellar video production or compelling prose. Those things are important of course, but in the end, anything that doesn’t align to your strategy or resonate with your audience is just noise. The dreaded spam – no one likes it. Instead of attracting an audience, you’re actively repelling them. In this case, “good” means content that is carefully considered and curated to work for you.
So how do you get there? I firmly believe after years of marketing experience that ensuring content works for you is 50% strategy, 30% the content itself, and 20% dissemination. What’s the first step? Well, the first step is creating a content strategy – it’s half the battle. A content strategy isn’t a schedule for creation and release of content. A strategy is taking a hard look at analytics, understanding your buyer personas, and developing a thorough plan to attract them with purpose-driven content. Scroll through our blog page for plenty of posts about content strategy.
What’s next? A content audit – evaluating what you’ve got already. Given the relative ease of content creation, you’ve no doubt got a lot of it. And chances are, you thought it was pretty great when you created it. And chances are…it needs some help. I know as well as anyone that it’s hard to look back with an objective eye and scrutinize my own work or that of my team against my business strategy. It’s hard to kill or spend time revising something that I know took time, energy, and creativity to produce. And it’s even harder to see gaps and know how to fill them with content that works. The sometimes hard-to-face fact is that most companies are creating content, but very few are doing it well.
My team has helped many companies and marketing teams evaluate their content and assess what’s working and what’s not. I’ve watched companies struggle with this at first, failing to see the problems and make the hard decisions, becoming emotionally attached to content.
Have I scared you yet?! I hope not. But I do hope that it’s clear that while creating content isn’t difficult, creating content that works is no small undertaking. It takes time, thought, resources, and perseverance to see results. The companies I’ve helped – eventually they opened themselves up to so much growth by trusting the strategy and sticking to it. By consistently giving their buyers what they want, their lead generation possibilities skyrocket.
Most importantly, they’ve upped their content game by resisting the lure of fast production and instead created high-quality, effective content that endures. Their approach to content shifted to one of objective, careful, and continual evaluation – new habits that ensure a long haul.
Get started on your own content audit today with our Content Mapping Template.