It can be challenging to find a new way to approach a topic that has been written about before. I found myself recently writing a blog post about creating audience-centric content and using buyer personas correctly. I know what I am talking about in this area and consider myself a reliable and credible source on the subject, but here was the problem: It’s already been done before, and well! (Shout-outs to Hubspot and Juntae DeLane for some rocking posts on this topic recently.) Now, before you start judging me for hanging my hat up too soon or lecturing me on all the ways I can approach an old idea in a new way, I thought it may be far more interesting to write about what so many of us go through as marketers, entrepreneurs, and business leaders when we are trying to create compelling content in our industry for our ideal buyers.
What I found in my struggle to finish this particular blog post wasn’t that I couldn’t write about it or that I didn’t think it would be valuable to my audience, but rather that I didn’t want to add to the clutter of content that is rapidly becoming over-produced. Mark Schaefer (definitely follow his blog here) unpacked the concept of “content shock“ and the simple economics that if there is more supply of free content than there is demand, it will no longer be a sustainable or lucrative strategy for some businesses. As a content marketer who loves the written word and adding value to my audience, I decided to trash my last blog post, revisit my content calendar for the year, and add new filters to the type of content I am willing to create going forward. I’ve had a content marketing Renaissance.
Fresh Perspectives Only
If I can’t offer a completely fresh perspective, analysis, or commentary on a subject, I will not write about it. I am more than happy to share content that my peers have already created that capture the essence of what I would have created myself. Content curation is a huge advantage to a winning content marketing strategy. Not only do I want to produce great original content, but I need to be the greatest filter of other people’s content for my audience, ESPECIALLY with the ever increasing amount of new content competing for attention every single day.
The Topic Has to Excite Me
Producing great content isn’t just about being a good writer and communicator, it’s also about being freaking excited and convicted about what you’re saying. I get that content is for the audience and not the author; however, the best authors write from their hearts and have something they feel very compelled to share with the world. I don’t want my voice to be drowned out or lost in a sea of similarity. Just like in a conversation, if someone makes a really great point that you agree with, there is no reason to repeat what they’ve said or try to one-up them. No one likes a one-upper. I’ll only speak-up when I really feel I can contribute in a meaningful way. Otherwise, the risk of just making LOUD NOISES can dilute the power of the message.
It Needs to Be Better than Better
Quality of content and consistency of publishing are two very important pillars of content marketing. However, I think we all need to up the ante and go beyond quality of writing and strive for a higher quality of thinking and expression. The level of difficulty to write about what has already been said before is easy compared to thinking for yourself and sharing something uniquely all your own. Don’t let the fear of vulnerability get in the way of your originality. The blank screen in your canvas to create something truly authentic. I don’t want the pressure of deadlines to be my excuse for not thoughtfully composing my own great ideas. I want the pressure of deadlines to inspire a discipline of higher thinking.
No More Beating a Dead Horse
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Basically, there are certain concepts that have been sufficiently covered and agreed upon in any industry. If a concept has been, I’m making a conscious decision to not spend more time hammering the point so that I can free up energy and explore other areas. In my industry of content marketing, one of the biggies is adding value to your audience. I think the particulars of what that value means is ever evolving by target audience and a concept worthy of continuous exploration, but the overarching theme of “value” is universally accepted and so I don’t need to harp on that as much as how to add value as an example.
It Has to Prioritize Relationships
More than anything, what I want most is to enjoy relationships with my audience. Regardless whether or not a reader of my blog becomes a client or not, the intrinsic value I receive establishing human connections with my audience is priceless. So, the content I produce should feel more like a dialogue than a monologue. At church over the weekend, my pastor made a compelling point when he said, “Happiness is measured in relationships, not progress or prosperity.” That really hit home for me personally, and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with progress or prosperity or pursuing those things, relationships will always matter more than the latter. “You cannot be happier than your relationships,” he said. I reflected on his sermon a lot this week and determined that content marketing goes beyond the definition of “distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.” For me, and I know other marketers too, it most certainly also means creating and maintaining real relationships with your online community.
There is no question in my mind that content marketing is the effective strategy for businesses to organically grow their business. There is no question in my mind that content marketing has added supreme value to every industry with the publishing of so much useful information. There is no question in my mind that content marketing naturally lends itself to fostering real relationships with online communities through their accessibility to companies and the real individuals writing and publishing content. And there is no question in my mind that content marketing will adapt and evolve to survive the, dare I say, exploitation of content creation if it is being produced just to be produced.
So, for all these reasons, I trashed my last blog post and wrote this one instead.
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