Why Your Content Will Never Be Good Enough

Desert RoadQuite simply, the marketing content you create will never be good enough. You will need to produce better content every single day.

Today, someone trumped your content. Just now, they become a more useful source of information to your audience.

How Your Content was Trumped

Content quality is relative. As more companies focus on developing and producing quality content, the overall quality of content will improve and the expectations of content will increase. Your content may have been good when it was created, but now it’s merely average.

In content marketing, your competitors are not just product competitors. Analyst firms (irony: whose papers you may license and distribute), media companies (who you purchase advertising from) and individual influencers are all competing to be your audience’s primary information source.

Publishing companies are experts at building and serving an audience by meeting their needs. Increasingly, content marketers are vying for this position.

Breaking Your Internal Mindset

As content standards increase, focusing content on your internal needs while meeting the audience’s needs is increasingly difficult.

Despite the proliferation of persona development and buyer-centric marketing, a true external mindset continues to be a challenge for most corporate marketers. Consider how you handle situations like the following:

  • Your audience’s priorities are mobile, cloud and security. Your solution doesn’t work on mobile devices or manage cloud-based applications.
  • A key competitor released a major upgrade that includes a number of firsts in the category. These features have been well received in the market.
  • You are sunsetting a product and dictating to your clients that they need to upgrade. The market sees it as a bad move and an opportunity for your competitors.

As a modern content marketer, how do you respond to these situations? If you publish research and best practices, but ignore mobile and cloud (first bullet), you are not serving your audience’s needs. Someone else will.

If you provide perspectives on the industry, but are not willing to cover the industry advances your competitors are making, someone else will. When they do, they will become the information source that is meeting your audience’s needs.

When you sunset a product, do you focus on the positives while sweeping the negative implications of resources or costs under the rug. When you minimize the negative implications your customers see, you send the message you are not listening to them. If you are not listening, you certainly cannot meet their needs.

Your audience is gold. Maintaining your audience requires putting them first. You cannot be a news source for only the favorable news, or the source of analysis that only shares analysis that fits your products perfectly.

In Summary

Content marketing is a never ending journey of continuing to refine your focus on meeting the needs of your audience better than anyone else. Last quarter’s content won’t be good enough this quarter.

Your Turn

How do you plan to meet the challenge of an increasingly competitive content marketing environment? Share your view in the comments below or with me on Twitter (@wittlake).

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  • Chuck

    The beauty of content is that some people like what you write and others don’t. The downside of content is that some people don’t like what you write and others do. This can be said for almost any content, from movies, to books, to blogs, to articles, etc.

    • Chandler Turner

      Yep. It is hard to please everyone. In fact, we really don’t need to please everyone. We just need to please the ones that matter. the heck with the rest of them. We do have to get the right ones to pay attention.

  • Eric, this is a great post. And it’s what I fear all the time. My company, Spark Media Solutions, produces content, but I’m always looking for ways to tweak it and make it better because I know someone(s) are doing something better. Some I know about, some I don’t. But if I keep pushing for new production models that prove successful, then I can carry that over to my clients. Super point!

  • Chandler Turner

    To me, the content issue seems to remain within the inability of companies large and small to understand how to focus content outwardly toward their prospects and clients. They are continuously focused on the arrogance of their latest widget. To state it with an oft-used catch phrase, they are “drinking their own Kool-Aid”. There is an obvious lack of understanding that people who reach a Website via search or other method – such as a referral – are at or very nearly at the point of purchase and are looking for simple information that will help them make the decision.

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  • The way I see it content development and business development should be seen through the same lens. And, just as you have a unique vision for your business and a unique voice, you’ll never need to fear competition. The only true competitor you have is yourself, or your own vision. (I realize this sounds a bit corny, but I feel it’s true nonetheless).

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  • I agree that you need to be consistent and serve your customer’s needs.

    However, that only warrants the conclusion that you need to keep creating content with your goals clear in mind.

    In fact, properly created content can be top content for a long time, you just need new content to stay relevant for existing customers and more easily found by new customers.

    Just today I read a post on Google+ about the importance of dissenting opinions that was fairly well received and shared. Pretty much the same idea was presented in a little book called On Liberty, which was written by John Stuart Mill in 1859. That is content that is still relevant after 150 years. And don’t get me started on Plato and Aristotle..

    • LOL. Thank you, I always appreciate the perspectives you add here! Yes, there definitely is content that lives on. There are even a few such things that are referencable over (shorter periods of) time and considered marketing (Edelman’s trust barometer, IBM’s CXO surveys).

      Here though, I believe it means more than just creating additional content because content becomes part of how you compete. When someone else produces something that is easier to consume, more portable, more accurate, or more up to date, it becomes more useful. In a competitive vacuum, your content may still be incredibly valuable, but when it continues to be measured against competing content it begins to get stale. Of course, with the exception of the classics (to the extend classics of marketing content truly exist).

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, great to see you again here!

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