It’s 3 p.m.. You’ve promised to deliver a blog post, either to your own blog through a self-imposed deadline or to a client’s blog, at EOB today. So far, you’ve come up with…nothing.
There is so much noise on the Internet, that you’ve convinced yourself that if your content isn’t astoundingly brilliant (as in “Oh my gosh, this has prompted me to change my business model” brilliant), then there’s no point in publishing it. You think back to the myriad of blog posts you’ve read and proceeded to think “What a waste of time…” You don’t ever want to be that author.
Which is why, at now 3:05 p.m., you’ve still got nothing.
One big mistake a content marketer (including myself) can make is to assume that people will do nothing more than read your content, well, read the content and then buy your product. Even though the term “online conversation” has now been in existence for a few years, it’s still easy to monologue your way through blog posts and webinars, thinking that no one will offer feedback. With that thought process, it’s easy to think that you’d have to produce nothing short of brilliance in order to stand out online.
But that’s not what content marketing is entirely about. Content marketing seeks to spark a dialogue. It seeks to inform, yes, but to inform and then engage. Users engage with you because of both your insights and your (for lack of a better word) friendliness.
How quick are you at responding to tweets or blog posts? How much time in your webinars do you allow for audience questions? Do you ask your audience for white paper ideas? Do you reach out to media and bloggers to offer bylines? These are the questions of a content marketer focused on dialogue.
At the end of the day, you should never be out of ideas for new content. Don’t make the paralysis by analysis mistake and refuse to join the online conversation because you don’t have an out-of-this-world insight. With the advent of social media, content marketing today is about dialogue — dialogue between a company and its consumers, between you and your followers, between the media and their readers.
I once worked for a company that launched campaigns only after they saw a public interest in the topic. It was Agile marketing at its finest. By joining the online conversation instead of attempting to create the conversation, the company tapped into an already-engaged audience. The media (both social and real) attention they received was astounding — upwards of 30,000 tweets and nearly 500 media stories was average. The company never lacked content because the content was already there; they just had to jump into the dialogue.
Don’t fret because the cursor in your WordPress screen is blinking at you. Get on Twitter or LinkedIn, and see what people are saying. Content, at the end of the day, is nothing more than insights on a given topic.
Instead of this, do that:
Some final thoughts on how you can shift your focus:
- Instead of coming up with an entirely new topic every time you blog, look at what others are already talking about online. Can you add an insight?
- Instead of giving people five- (or eight-, or ten-, or whatever number suits your fancy) step processes, tell a personal account of how you managed a problem, grew your online following, tested a software, etc. Then ask your followers if they’ve had a similar experience.
- Instead of having email pitches constitute your entire relationship with a blogger or website manager, engage with them through comments on blogs or through social media. And by “engage” I don’t mean continue to pitch.
- Instead of creating content about a brand new subject matter, see if you can further explore a previous topic. Can you turn a blog into a white paper?