Content marketing isn’t a practice for perfectionists. Having a perfectionist’s mindset will see production churn at a snail’s pace; too much deliberation will cause you to miss out on key opportunities to interact with customers.
So, when we hear the words “I’m a bit of a perfectionist” from a new client, we can’t help but do an inward sigh of pessimism.
If perfectionism to you is expertly bringing a brief to life, then consider us perfectionists, too. However, in our experience, when people call themselves perfectionists, they are the only ones who know what ‘perfect’ looks like – phrases like “it’s hard to explain what I mean” tend to get rolled out.
Striving for the ‘perfect’ piece of content, then, is just as frustrating for perfectionists as the person or agency who is tasked with creating it. It’s little wonder studies show that the personality trait of perfectionism is linked to poor physical health and an increased risk of death.
The Content Marketing Institute believes it’s time to do away with the notion of perfectionism – when it comes to content creation anyway – and instead channel your efforts into coming up with something that your customers will love.
How exactly, you ask? Well…
1. Work out what’s working for you
There’s no harm in taking inspiration from other content creators – the BuzzFeeds of the world – but you shouldn’t judge yourself by their standards.
BuzzFeed’s content regularly gets more than a million shares, as a result of their website getting in excess of 200 million monthly unique visitors. You’re not going to be able to compete with that.
Instead of letting BuzzFeed’s most popular content lead where you go with your content, work out what content is working for you and look to replicate its success.
Look to your website’s analytics to judge the performance of your blog content; look to social media to see what posts are generating the most engagement. What are the characteristics that made this content popular? Once you’ve worked this out, you’re on your way to creating content your customers love, every time.
2. Cut the red tape
Too many cooks can turn a fine bit of content into a right old mess.
As far as idioms go, that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
While it’s always important that content is comprehensively checked for spelling and punctuation errors, brand voice, etc., it’s crucial that you don’t spend too long proofing and editing.
The worst thing you can do to a piece of content is to have handfuls of people review and approve it before publishing it. One person might feel very strongly about the wording of a particular phrase, while another might not approve of a particular visual. They may well be right, but your audience probably won’t even notice.
By the time everybody has had their say and the changes are made, you’re left with a piece of content that is not only outdated, but has lost its thread altogether.
By cutting the red tape, you can get a piece of content into the world for your customers to love, before your competitors do.
3. Get a better understanding of your customers
You can only create content that your customers love, if you know what your customers love. Duh. If you haven’t got any hard evidence on what content your customers love to read or what is interesting them right now, it’s time to get some.
Surveys are a good way to get a feel for what your site or content is lacking, while a bit of social listening will help you understand what customers are saying about a brand and industry online. Look for insight into your customers round every corner.
With in-depth insight to fuel your content, you won’t have any trouble coming up with ideas; rather, the challenge will be getting all your ideas onto the page. It’s a nice problem to have.
4. Delegate responsibility
Once you’ve completed the strategy and planning stage, consider delegating responsibility entirely to a team of content experts. Or, if you’re adamant on keeping things in-house, ensure you give your content creators space to breathe; creativity can be hard to come by if there’s a lack of confidence between teams.
Outsourcing, however, will put content creation firmly at arm’s length. Here at M2 Bespoke, we undertake a thorough ‘discovery’ phase, comprising a content/resource audit, competitor analysis and audience research. We’ll also identify pain-points and assess wider business objectives, before establishing content objectives.
You can be sure that we will know your brand inside out before we get to work on creating content your customers will love.
— M2 Bespoke (@M2Bespoke) February 7, 2017