The need to feed a mythical “content beast” is a distraction from what really matters – your audience, and what they want and need.
The Need for Content
If you’re marketing a product or service, it’s imperative to create content in order for your brand to be found online. However, many marketers find “feeding the content beast” scary and intimidating. They worry about coming up with a million interesting things to say that consumers want to read. They worry about creating compelling content that doesn’t make their legal team nervous. They feel like they have to become a factory for content in order to satiate this limitless hunger for content.
Where Is Content Hunger Coming From?
But whose hunger are we satiating when we create miles and miles of content? Is it our own hunger to produce more and more, as a means of getting closer to a figurative finish line of content marketing success? If this is the case, we are using our need for quantitative success to justify creating more simply for the sake of it. There are always going to be unknowns in content marketing. It’s an environment that requires high adaptability and a willingness to constantly learn. One essential truth, however, is the need for utility will never die. Be helpful, be useful, be relevant, and make it interesting. If you’re creating just for the sake of creating, are you compromising any of these principles? The minute you start circulating superficial content without substantial value, you start eroding your reputation, and ultimately, your brand.
Your Brand = Everything
Your brand is the most valuable thing you can invest in as a marketer. It’s the only thing that will last the test of time. It’s the only way you can create truly inimitable differentiation. When managed and grown properly, your brand can become an intangible asset that provides financial value. Your brand is way too valuable to risk hurting it. Protect your brand like you would anything you really care about, with focused attention and only the best care.
Do It Right
Don’t sully your brand. Stick to your guns and publish content only when it’s something that truly matters. One of the most dangerous things you can do is to become the content creator who cries wolf. If you become this, people won’t listen to you anymore. Earning their attention back will likely be difficult. You need to stay focused.
Yes, Quantity Matters (It’s Just Not Everything)
What we need more of is quality. But without quantity (on some level), you will potentially run into one or more of these problems:
- People forget about your brand
- People forget who your brand is and what it stands for
- People stop caring about your brand
- People stop checking in with your brand
- People stop visiting your brand’s website
- Your website loses SEO value because you only have stale content
Yes, the need to regularly publish content is there. But that doesn’t mean it has to be daily, weekly, or even monthly.
Know How to Feed Your Audience
We need to come to terms with who we really should be “feeding” when we create content: our audience. This is why there’s no set formula for how much content to produce and how often. It’s highly dependent on the attributes of your particular audience. (This is one reason why persona mapping is so important)
What kind of information are they looking for? Is it information that is used daily, weekly, monthly, yearly, or once in a lifetime?
How much do they really want to read about it?
How often do they want to think about it? If it’s something that doesn’t require constant attention and isn’t very pleasant to think about, they probably don’t want to be reminded of it on a daily basis. But if it’s something like diabetes, which affects people’s lives every single second of every day, then they may be more receptive to daily content.
The Real Problem
It’s time to challenge the common misconception that content marketing is about “feeding a content beast.” When portrayed in this light, people are really expressing the need to slay an internal tiger of fear and uncertainty. It’s time to channel our inner FDR and acknowledge the content beast isn’t what’s stopping us from content marketing success. It’s our fear of not getting content marketing right. There’s this myth that you can solve a problem by throwing more at it. Instead of throwing more on the pile, focus on how you can make new and existing content better. Your goal should be to keep your audience engaged with just the right amount of content. No one likes the feeling of being overstuffed or malnourished. Aim to keep your audience engaged and genuinely hungry for more.
Banish the “content beast” mentality and focus on creating content of value. Provide interesting, relevant, and useful information for your audience. Give them what they want. If you don’t know exactly what they want, figure it out. Don’t be afraid to experiment, try again, and adapt until you get it right.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.