It’s that time of year when most of us start thinking about our personal and professional goals. What will we do better next year than we did this year? Which bad habits will we resolve to break? And how successful will we be in adopting the good ones we believe will make us better people and professionals in 2016?
Year after year, improving health and overall wellness tops the list of resolutions that Americans make for the New Year. I would suggest that associations apply that same principle in re-evaluating how they generate content for their members and other stakeholders. Associations generate a lot of useful content, but some pieces are better presented than others.
In Karo Kilfeather’s most recent post to the Crescendo blog, she highlights some new year’s resolutions that she’s making to “rethink her content philosophy.” Three of them might be particularly useful in helping associations to avoid some common content pitfalls:
- I will insist on quality over quantity. Every day we’re churning out more and more content. Yes, the usual suspects are creating content that is valuable and wonderful, but how many times have you read an article or blog post with a promising headline and content that is the digital equivalent of plastic packing peanuts? Be the change and insist on writing fewer but better pieces of content. Give it a longer lifespan by learning how to repurpose.
- I will be more strategic and less tactical. Your CEO had a great idea for a blog post. Or maybe there’s some industry news that just begs for commentary. Inspiration for a piece of content can arise unexpectedly, but if you’re always thinking one blog post or white paper at a time, you’ll always scramble to fill your editorial calendar, and your audience will learn to expect disjointed content. Developing a content strategy with the big picture in mind will leave room for serendipity, of course, but it will also enable you to get ahead of your content needs and ensure that what you create is thematically connected to all your other content and creates a natural path for your audience to keep on reading.
- I will build a process that scales. One rock star is not a process, and to grow your content marketing efforts, you might hire more staff, recruit freelancers and guest bloggers, or ask more people in your organization to write. As you add in more people, you add more variables to the process and more places where it can break down. Having a clearly defined process for aligning content to business goals, generating ideas, assigning topics, and setting editorial direction will help you grow your content creation army from 1 to 3 to 17 without creating chaos and diminishing results.
These content strategies may well be worth adding to your list of resolutions for 2016. If you resolve to improve “the health” of your content, it will be more valuable to you over the long-term.