As I sat down to write this post, I realized something. I am over two weeks late in completing this post. Also, generating good, compelling, content is hard. Sure, I could write a witty blog post every few months. That’s no big deal. Any fool with a computer, WIFI connection, and a donkey can do that. What I’m talking about is generating lasting, meaningful content on a regular basis. It’s insanely hard. Content creators face the never ending pressure to constantly feed the content beast (AKA Google) in order to generate clicks, climb rankings, and generate leads. There is the constant drum beat of MAKE MORE CONTENT. FEED THE GOOGLE AND THE PRESS. MORE SALES LEADS. NOM NOM NOM.
And, oh yeah, make sure your content is really high quality. No one wants to read boring articles with no personality.
Developing and executing a content marketing strategy is hard. It’s also doesn’t get the love it deserves. So I wanted to say "thank you" to all of the content marketers working on their craft, and share some of the reasons why you deserve props.[bctt tweet="#Contentmarketing is hard + doesn't get the love it deserves. Here's some love from @gallonofallan"]
Great content marketers focus on value:
They have to be helpful.
It’s a simple premise. The best content focuses on delivering quality, engaging material that either educates and/or entertains. Delivering quality, not just quantity, is what helps build a readership. This is a simple premise that you will quickly forget as you get pushed to meet deadlines.
David Lebovitz’s Living the Sweet Life is a great example of delivering value. I’m a fan of ice cream and David’s blog consistently teaches me new things about the craft of churning. It’s well-written and beautifully photographed. Just looking at the wonderful photos can make you fat. [bctt tweet="The content + photography on @davidlebovitz's blog will make you fat, says @gallonofallan"]
Want other great content marketing examples? Sorry for Marketing by Jay Acunzo. Do I read his blog because Jay’s my friend and I don’t want to hurt his feelings? Yes. But, I also read it because each post strives to add value. It’s not about pumping out content, it’s about telling a story and trying to help people learn more about marketing and acquiring customers. It’s well written and mildly humorous. Jay has also started to produce a podcast, Traction. It, too, is well-produced, educational, and mildly humorous. It’s like Jay. It has personality. [bctt tweet="For quality #startup #content, listen to Traction - podcast by @Jay_zo @NextViewVC"]
This brings me to my next point: the best content has a voice.
Quality content has an opinion and a voice:
No one wants to read or watch crap. This seems obvious but the pressure to generate more content forces marketers to focus on volume. Personality gets beaten out of content marketers. It’s hard to have an opinion/witty remarks about lawn care at any time of the day. It’s even harder when you’re under deadline. Too bad. If you want to grow a following you have to have a voice. This is a basic of all good writing.[bctt tweet="If you want to grow a following, you have to have a #voice. - @gallonofallan #contentmarketing"]
If you’re having trouble understanding this point, take a minute and go to CNN.com. Read all of the content. Memorize everything they do. Then do the opposite. CNN used to be dedicated to bringing the world breaking world news and analysis. It literally changed the media landscape by bringing the world into our homes with with brilliant 24/7 journalism. Then, time passed and they decided to focus on, well... I’m not sure what they’re focused on. And that’s the point. The site is a steaming pile of click-bait with bits of news hidden throughout. There is no voice or focus. They’ve done a wonderful job striving for mediocrity.
Marc Andreessen, on the other hand, is an example of a content creator who has done a wonderful job crafting a voice. His Twitter feed is smart, quirky, and oddly engaging. With over 55,000 tweets, he knows how to generate content. He either has an army of interns working for him or he never leaves his home. Either way, you should follow him. You’ll learn something.
Content creating takes a village:
Great content marketers develop a network of experts that they can rely on. You might be the most fascinating person in the world but—I promise—even you are going to run out of different ways to talk about innovation in the cardboard box industry. Get to know experts in the field and highlight their work. They don’t even have to write the posts. Interview them. They’ll love be highlighted and thought of as thought-leaders.
So I ask you, have you thanked, hugged, celebrated the work that your content marketing team is creating? If not, you should. Generating meaningful content that drives traffic, entertains, and truly provides value is hard.
I know I’m glad I don’t have to do it on a daily basis. If I did, there won’t be anyone to take care of my donkey.
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