The Content Conundrum: Are you Content with your Content? (get it?)

Blogs, White Papers, Tweets, Webinars, Press releases, Industry Articles, Infographics, Case Studies....Should I keep going?

The amount of content AND the number of vehicles to convey it is astounding.  Necessary, but astounding.  There's no one way to reach people and no "right" way to do it.  As a society, we live in so many different places on the web and all consume content differently.  It is NOISY.

So many companies are too focused on just churning out content.  They conjure up meaningless and empty blog posts simply to populate their blogs.  They schedule obligatory webinars and white papers to drop sometimes before their audiences have even digested the first three they put out in a two week span.

Is volume important? Yes! But not at the sacrifice of quality content.  Every blog post or white paper doesn't need to be a novel, but it does need to be useful and valuable. There's no point in canvasing your universe with content that does nothing for them.  Content should evoke thought, conversation, and action.

In an article from The Content Marketing Institute last June, some industry heavyweights tackled the question of how much content is too much.  

Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer of MarketingProfs said,

"...quality always trumps quantity when it comes to content. I don’t think how much is the right question,” she challenged. “It’s more about how effective your content is. Focus on whether it’s meeting your objectives: Is it igniting conversations? Is it enabling relationships? Is it sparking business?”  

All of the experts interviewed for the article concurred on a major takeaway. 

"It’s important to have a regular cadence of content to “feed the machine.” But the experts’ consensus is that balance comes from focusing on quality over quantity, staying consistent, and using metrics tools to measure audience engagement. Once you find the perfect content rhythm for your blog, email marketing, and social channels, you just might discover that less content is bringing you more success."

So what does this all mean for you?  Let's take a big step back and assess the situation.  There are some introspective questions that need to be answered before you start smattering your website with content and incessantly emailing your audiences.

  • What content does your audience like most?

What's the feedback when you send a white paper? Is it generating more leads than your webinars?

  • Are you hitting your universe enough? Too much? Too little?

What's your unsubscribe rate like? Are people clicking your Call to Action prompts in emails to get to the next phase? How many people are attending your webinars? How many are converting to leads?

  • Are you burying your blog posts and tweets?

How are you spreading the word socially? Are your audiences interacting? Are they commenting, sharing, liking?

There's no silver bullet in the quest to produce perfect content.  It really is a trial by error process.  You need to focus on what works for you.  It's like being a new parent...you will get a TON of unsolicited advice on when you should take the pacifier away, what your child should be eating, how often they should nap, etc.  But what works for one parent most certainly doesn't work for another.  The best thing to do is to treat that advice like an a la carte menu and literally pick and choose components that strike a chord.  Then, make them your own.  

We have a few pointers to help carve out your content journey that have worked for us at ion.

  • Sometimes less is more. Don't talk just to talk - commit to produce quality content you can stand behind.
  • Don't cannibalize your own content. If you put out something stellar, let it shine for a while before you stifle it with additional content.
  • Listen.  Creating content is NOT just about producing - it's also about listening to cues from your universe about what they want to read, see and experience.
  • Encourage Interaction. Don't lecture. Open the floor to communication and healthy debate.
  • Be Passionate. Seriously...it's contagious.  You can smell passion a mile away and it elicits great things.

Now comes the part where we practice what we preach.  We'd love to hear your thoughts on content creation.  Do you have your own rules. best practices and tips you'd like to share? Ok....go!