We have strong feelings about content marketing—for good reason. Too many brands are churning out subpar content for content’s sake, clogging people’s feeds with stuff that is superfluous, self-indulgent, or entirely off-brand. (This is why we recommend some brands stop creating content until they can sort themselves out.) But on the flip side, we’ve noticed another disturbing trend: Marketers have become so precious about their content that they become completely paralyzed.
- They waste hours debating copy…for a single header.
- They exhaust their teams with endless ideation.
- They tire their designers with pixel-by-pixel edits.
- They push deadlines back time after time.
This type of hyper-focused micromanaging doesn’t help your team, and it certainly doesn’t help your marketing. There’s a point where you just need to put down your pencils, push it out, and move on.
If you’re a marketer who easily gets bogged down in the details, here’s the good news: Not only do you not need to stress so much but you can actually improve your results by, well, easing up. Here are three key reasons you should publish content consistently—and avoid overthinking.
“Digital marketing is so ephemeral. You have a huge opportunity to launch and learn from lighter efforts vs. endlessly debating copy phrasing.”
—Column Five’s VP of Growth Asher Rumack
1) You need to keep your audience engaged.
We all want to publish the perfect piece of marketing content, but guess what? The longer you wait, the more you allow your competition to snatch your audience’s attention away from you.
You want to stay top of mind for your audience, but when you get bogged down in perfection, you lose the opportunity to consistently connect with them. Although larger pieces of content (e.g., ebooks and video) are crucial to your success, there are leaner, easier ways to create valuable content that can also make an impact.
Tip: One of the easiest ways to cut your brainstorming time in half is to simply poll your audience about the content they like. You can do this on social media, or send a survey to your email list. You might be surprised by the results.
For example, when we polled our audience, we learned that people especially love roundups and real-life examples of great marketing. Instead of wracking our brains for original content ideas, we’ve incorporated more roundups of things like SaaS campaigns, great digital marketing, and CTA examples into our mix. This content is relatively easy for us to produce, and it gives our audience exactly what they want.
2) Creating content is easier than ever, thanks to a variety of tools.
Although we don’t think that AI can replace you, there are plenty of online tools to support you. From generating topic ideas and articles to designing social content and optimizing content for search engines, tools like ChatGPT and Canva can help you do everything. Best of all, they alleviate the need for extensive technical skills or resources, which are often a big blocker for marketers trying to get things done.
With the right tools, you can work smarter.
Note: We don’t think AI will entirely replace marketers or the need for human brain power, but you can determine where and how you implement it. For example, we find ChatGPT helpful for beating out article outlines and asking questions about our audience and what they’re searching.
Tip: See our roundup of 100+ content marketing resources to find helpful tools to cut your creation time in half. You should also look for low-lift ways to create truly valuable content.
For example, to help our audience brainstorm more effectively, we created a simple Google Doc template of fill-in-the-blank content marketing ideas. It didn’t require us to write thousands of words or design a full e-book, but it was an incredibly easy way to provide something of value (and gate it).
3) Testing is the most effective way to learn what resonates.
No matter how much time or energy you put into something, it means nothing if the content doesn’t resonate with your audience. That’s why testing is essential to learn what works and what doesn’t. By publishing a variety of content (and experimenting with different types of content), you can gain valuable insight into what your audience likes and dislikes.
Getting creative assets into the market to get real data feedback is cheaper than ever, so the cost of false starts or delays is exponential.
Tip: A/B test different headlines, images, calls-to-action, types of articles, formats, etc. to find out what type of mix gives you the best results. Pay attention to engagement rates, click-through rates, and time spent on-page to understand what resonates.
For example, after reviewing our highest-performing content, we found that “how to,” “tips,” and anything with a number in the headline tends to perform particularly well. (TBH, we’re also experimenting with getting sassier, as you can see in the title for this very blog. Who knows what the data will tell us, but we won’t know unless we try.)
The #1 Secret to Good Content: Value
Ultimately, whether you’re sharing a tip thread on Twitter or publishing a 50-page whitepaper, the key to good content is the value it provides. Value may be subjective, as your audience might derive value from a hefty piece of thought leadership or a funny video. Either way, the key is to make sure you’re speaking to their needs and wants. To do that effectively…
- Assemble the right team. If you need a partner to bring your content strategy to life, head on over to our FAQs to find out what it’s like to work with us.
- Document your goals to ensure you’re actually moving the needle.
- Follow these tips to brainstorm valuable ideas.
- Measure the right metrics to get the best insights—and tweak your content strategy accordingly.
- Optimize your infrastructure to create quality content consistently.
Above all, stop being precious with your content. Start being curious. The more you push out into the world, the more you’ll learn, and the smarter you’ll get. That is the best way to make sure your marketing succeeds.