I have been providing hands-on content marketing training to a handful of clients over the past six months. Consistently, the biggest challenge these companies face is simply publishing enough content to make a dent in their business goals. On the plus side, we are:
- On the same page philosophically about content marketing
- Creating dozens of ideas for articles, blog posts, and e-books
- Always exchanging ideas on how to get more people involved at their organization
So the roadblocks are minimal, and the enthusiasm and commitment are there. But actually writing and publishing more than a single blog post a week remains a challenge. Let’s explore how and why you should speed up your content creation process.
1. Google Cannot Index the Content Sitting on Your Computer
If you want your content to start driving results, you must let go and release it to the world (wide web). On a macro level, part of the rush to get content out the door is that most of your competitors are probably in this rat race along with you. Once a competitor establishes authority with Google on a given topic, it becomes very difficult for you to “dethrone” them.
On a more micro-level, it’s important to not over-edit your content to death. In our recent webinar, “How to Work with Content Creators,” we discussed why perfectionism is the enemy of your profitability.
What do you really accomplish by editing blog posts and demanding revisions for three weeks? If you are squabbling over commas or industry jargon instead of the value your content will provide to your audience, you are wasting your company’s time because you’re focusing on items that your audience either won’t notice or won’t care about. Be especially wary of diminishing returns when it comes to perfecting your content.
Focus on helping your prospects, answering their questions, and teaching them something new. Follow online content best practices and SEO best practices, and then hit “publish!” I call this “publish over perfection.”
Remember: If you have overzealous editors, or nervous writers, you can always go back and tweak a piece once it’s live. That’s the beauty of the web.
2. Get Your Organization Beyond the Content “Tipping Point”
Content quality versus quantity: It’s a common question we hear from clients. Do we choose one over the other? Do we need both?
Yes, quality is important. But creating 10x content — content that is remarkable — is very difficult and takes time. Think of a budding tennis star. She isn’t ready to compete in Wimbledon when she is 12 years old. Instead, she’s improving through constant repetition: practicing her strokes, working on the fundamentals, creating habits.
You should be doing this as well, as your business begins or ramps up its content marketing program. Get into the weekly habit of working with your teams and resources to get the content live on your website.
- According to Marcus Sheridan, content marketing speaker and expert, his most successful clients publish at least three pieces of content per week.
- According to 2015 data from Hubspot, small companies that publish 11 or more blog posts per month drive much higher traffic than companies of the same size that publish fewer than 11 blog posts.
For your business to reach a critical tipping point where your website can start generating organic traffic and leads, you must first have a significant content footprint. That means getting comfortable with consistently publishing 5-15 “good” pieces of content per month.
With content marketing, we have to “do all this at a scale that impacts the business. We cannot produce one great piece of content every month when the shelf life of content in today’s world is a few days at best and a few seconds at worst,” says Michael Brenner, CEO of Marketing Insider Group.
You can also think of it this way: When your teams are comfortable with the fundamental skills of writing for the web, practice using your “hare brain” for the first few months. Get through the tasks quickly and push the content live, whatever it takes. As you progress and you establish your content footprint, start to use more of your “tortoise mind:”
- Strategically plan your content themes for the long-term.
- Allow creative content ideas to develop over time.
- Identify major opportunities and gaps, and how you will tackle them.
Make no mistake: content quantity and quality “don’t have to be enemies,” according to Ann Handley, content marketing speaker and author. Ultimately, you need both to be successful. I’m just an advocate for starting fast. Get moving!
3. The Curse of Knowledge Alienates Your Readers
Remember to produce content for your audience — not your executives. You and your fellow internal experts likely understand your industry at a “400” level. However, the vast majority of your customers and prospects understand your business at a “101 level.”
Yes, your mission it to educate your readers so they advance their knowledge over time. But if you consistently aim to write at a level where the concepts and ideas you present simply go over your readers’ heads, guess what? You’ll lose your followers before you ever earned their trust.
So I encourage you to:
- Keep at least some of your content pieces at a “101” level.
- Ensure all pieces have a foundation of accuracy and align with your brand.
- Make the concepts extremely easy to grasp.
- Get comfortable with not always demonstrating your vast expertise.
- Ask an outsider if the content still retains its value despite not being at an “expert” level. My guess is it will.
4. Your Content Creators Will Thank You
You may be relying on a variety of people to produce your content: teammates, freelancers, even executives who are writing “thought leadership” pieces.
If you bog down these crucial contributors with endless rounds of revisions, or draconian policies on how to participate in the organization’s content marketing program, they will abandon you and simply return to their everyday jobs (which are more than enough to keep them busy).
You need a village to succeed in content marketing. As I mentioned earlier, having a slightly lower bar for quality in the early stages of your content marketing program is acceptable. A few tips:
- Be grateful for your teammates’ contributions, even if the content isn’t perfect — they are helping you achieve your goals and your company’s goals.
- The sense of pride and satisfaction that content creators get when their blog post or infographic goes live is something special. Let them experience that early and often.
- Share “quick wins” (content going live) across the company. This will help you create early momentum, and help you attract more contributors.
You are setting the stage for long-term success. The easier you make it for your team to create content and see it published, the more likely you are to have a supportive, committed group of content creators.