I met Meisha on Twitter. We traded some messages and then I asked her if we she would join a Zoom. That's how marketers meet these days. I wanted to connect with her because I knew she had a lot of energy around the problems that we were solving at The Juice and thought she'd be a great guest on the 3C Podcast. All of my assumptions came to be true and then I asked her to contribute to a content piece that we just started working on. The topic was quantity vs. quality in content marketing. The following article is Meisha's submission. She's a Modern Day Marketer that you should be following on LinkedIn and Twitter if you aren't already.
If You Don’t Like What’s Being Written, Change The Conversation
Content Marketing Manager, Wistia
Quality versus quantity—the age-old dilemma for marketers. How can I keep up with goals and benchmarks while also focusing on impact and experimentation. Unfortunately, in my almost ten-year career, this is a problem I am all too familiar with.
I’ve had jobs with vanity goals around rankings, traffic, and leads. And I’ve interviewed for roles with lofty goals around these same metrics. Of course, many teams use these goals to benchmark progress and define success. If you don’t have a goal, what are you working towards? And how do you know if it’s working?
I’ve recently been rewatching Mad Men, which honestly gets better every time I watch it. One of my favorite quotes from the show is when Don, Creative Director at Sterling Cooper, is having dinner with an important prospect. The prospect is in a bit of a pickle. They want to move forward with a big project but a vocal minority is stirring up negative publicity and halting progress.
Don’s words of wisdom? “If you don't like what's being said, change the conversation.”
Sounds smart, but what does this have to do with being a Modern Day Marketer?
If you don’t like how performance is judged or how content is executed, change the conversation.
Initiating the conversation is often the hardest part. But more often than not, managers are willing to listen—especially if you can back up your plans.
First, if you haven’t already, dig into your goals to understand where they are coming from and how they’re driving the business forward. Then, have a plan of what changes you want to make and what impact you expect.
Here’s how this might look...
Your role is tied to specific goals around creating and publishing “unique, high-quality” content that ranks for relevant keywords. Content so good that people “want” to link to it. Sounds straightforward enough, right?
The problem? Everyone else is taking this exact same approach. “Unique, high-quality” content simply isn’t good enough. This method has turned search engines into dumpsters for overly optimized, copycat content. Just check out this search results page for “content marketing tips”.
Even if you are able to cut through the noise and get on page one (which is unlikely), how qualified is this traffic you’re attracting? You’re pulling in hundreds or thousands of visitors per month and then 99% of them bounce?
Of course, you’ll have to pull up your sleeves and dig into the data. Are the terms you’re writing and ranking relevant to your business? How long do people stick around? Are they navigating to other content or leaving your site? Do these folks continue down the funnel?
Maybe you think there’s a better way to approach content. What are you really trying to achieve with these goals? Driving traffic or driving qualified traffic? Generating leads or capturing interested prospects at the right moment?
This isn’t to say that SEO isn’t important or that it can’t work to drive meaningful traffic. However, the broad “spray and pray” approach is no longer effective.
What if you changed the conversation from vanity metrics to impact (quantity to quality)?
Let’s explore this in the context of the above example, “content marketing tips”. This might be one keyword in a list of ten on your plate for the month to target.
What if instead of just listicles of tips you also create video assets that could be embedded in each post and also re-published across YouTube and social channels. You spend less time pumping out content and more time creating engaging, high-impact content that multiple teams can repurpose.
Or, think even bigger. What if you launched a series (think video interviews, a podcast, etc.) around a central theme that’s important to your business. It’s a jump, but if the video recaps on blogs are working to drive engagement and start conversations, imagine how well a dedicated series could perform.
Of course, this all starts with getting buy-in. So start having conversations—with your manager, with product folks, with people in customer-facing roles. Listen to how these teams define success and how content (and not just written blog content) can support their initiatives. This is how you can start driving impact through 10x quality content and scale back on the quantity game.
It all starts with changing the conversation.
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