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Avoid Content Shock: Ask These Questions Before You Create More Content

Image Credit: Pål Alvsaker. Text added.

Everybody seems to be jumping on board with content marketing. In fact, 78% of CMOs think custom content is the “future of marketing” and they are in a mad rush to produce A LOT of it. Because if they don’t do it, won’t their competitors?

The trouble is, most companies don’t have the processes in place to support all the content they’re creating. And many of the people demanding all this content don’t know the answers to some of the most fundamental questions, chief among them: Why are we producing this content in the first place?

“Marketing implies an ongoing activity and I think that can be very harmful to organizations who don’t have the resources to support that content once it’s out there,” says Kristina Halvorson, author of Content Strategy for the Web. “It compromises the user experience. It stretches already thin resources. It causes a problem with their content marketing systems.”

Marketing consultant Mark Schaefer, who coined the controversial term “Content Shock,” suggests that readers simply don’t have the brain capacity to keep up with all the content that’s getting published. And, eventually, the exponential increase in content won’t be economical:

So how do you avoid overwhelming your customers? First, recognize that creating more content isn’t going to magically make your content marketing strategy more successful. Then test your content by putting it through a hearty round of questioning before you decide to pay to create it. Finally, make sure you have sturdy processes in place to manage the content that does pass your test. And before you do any of this, confirm the leaders of your organization are on board—you won’t get anywhere if they aren’t.

Okay, ready to put your content through the ringer? Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Why am I creating this piece of content? 
  • Is it in line with my overall marketing strategy?
  • Who is it for?
  • How is it useful?
  • Does it already exist?
  • Who is going to create it?
  • How long will it take to create it?
  • Who needs to approve it?
  • Where will we publish it?
  • Why will we publish it there?
  • What teams need to be involved in its creation and publication?
  • Does our CMS support it?
  • How are we going to manage it once its published?
  • Does it have an expiration date?
  • Do we have enough resources to support it?
  • Is the voice consistent with our brand?
  • How will people find it?
  • How will success be measured?

Answering questions like these will help turn your content factory into a great content brand. And your customers, who are already bombarded with content from every channel every minute of every day will start tuning out the noise of your competitors and tuning in to you.

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