Everyone is jumping on the content bandwagon these days. Not many do it well, and boy, does it show. There are reams of terrible, bloated, recycled content out there that adds absolutely no value and serves only to (or try to) boost someone’s SEO goals or inbound lead numbers. And as painful as this might be for me to say and you to hear, chances are, you’re not doing it well either.
Committing to a content plan is like committing to a marriage. Or a cat. You gotta be in it for the long haul, giving it the attention it deserves. And for goodness sake, be interesting. If I read another useless piece of content, I may just punch my laptop in the hopes the author can somehow feel it.
Ok, so how do you stay interesting? Avoid these terrible content clichés and maybe, just maybe, people will actually want to subscribe to your content. I know, novel thought.
Cliché #1 – More Is Better
If a piece of content is published on the Internet and no one is around to read it, does it make a sound? Look, you could publish a new piece of content every hour of every day, but it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference if no one consumes it.
Even worse, search engines have wised up to the content over-saturation method of publishing. Google Panda slapped content over-saturation in the face. Now, it’s the quality of your content, not the quantity that is rewarded with better search results.
So. Create less—but better quality—content and find ways to break it out into smaller assets so you reach audiences at multiple levels. An excellent webinar becomes a fantastic blog post, both of which can be shared on social media. More isn’t better. Better is better.
Cliché #2 – Third-Party Content Is the Answer to Your Content Prayers
Do you really want to drop $25k to lease a white paper from Gartner just because you “don’t have the time” to create content yourself? Of course you don’t. Take that money and throw one hell of a pizza party for your content staff instead.
I understand the temptation to take the easy way out. I really do. But your content needs to be meaningful to your company and your potential leads. Make an effort—it doesn’t have to be that difficult. Instead of dropping G’s on someone else’s stuff because you don’t know what to talk about, find your own ideas. Interview CMOs or other high-level people in your networking groups about their challenges. Pay attention to social networks to “crowdsource” content ideas, then hold Google Hangouts to talk about common questions or themes. Even comment on other articles for visibility, instead of writing pay-to-play articles. That should be enough to get you going.
Cliché #3 – You Have to Come Up with All the Ideas
Yeesh, what an exhausting notion. I mean, no offense, I’m sure you have lots of great content ideas. But you know who else does? People who engage with your existing content.
Trolling the comments on your blogs, articles and social networks can uncover a treasure trove of FREE ideas you can use to shape future content. Are there additional points or angles they feel you didn’t cover that you can address in your next piece of content? And what are the hot topics people are posting about on Twitter or LinkedIn or other industry networks you follow? Your content will be so much more attractive to people if you actually produce content that ties into current themes and topics.
Avoid these clichés. Because if you don’t, people won’t engage with your content. And even worse, you’ll disappoint me.