Does your content move out into the digital world with ease? Or do you have trouble getting content out your digital door? If the latter sounds familiar, you’re stuck in content paralysis. Answer these questions (honestly) to yourself:
- Are you a content writer’s red-pen wielding buzz kill? Do you spend your weekends revising and editing every white paper, ebook, blog post, press release, or email that your content writers produce?
- Do you have good content sitting around that never gets published?
- Are you a social-media hovercraft ? Do you insist on reviewing and approving every single social media post?
If you answered yes to any of the above, you’re burning through time and money. Plus, you’re causing yourself (not to mention your marketing staff) a whole lot of undue aggravation. Look, I get it. You don’t want to publish crap that reflects poorly on your brand. But while you dither on getting content out the door, your target audience is reading your competitors’ content. In effect, you’re not showing up on time for your interview with your target audience.
Content paralysis goes hand in hand with campaign failure.
According to Emma Stratton, Founder and Chief Strategist at Punchy, “the reason most campaigns fail is because of a weak or non-existent positioning and messaging strategy behind it.” Fix positioning and messaging, for they are the corner stones of all marketing and sales. Once you do , you’ll have solved most of what’s getting in the way of an efficient content process.
Improve Your Content and End Content Paralysis in 4 Steps:
1. Start by creating a solid positioning statement.
Emma Stratton reminds us that a positioning statement tells prospects
- what your product or service is,
- who needs it,
- and the value it offers that competitor solutions don’t.
Here’s an example that positions a fictitious product:
Digital Stunt Writer is an easy-to-use freelance writer’s software that takes notes, transcribes, and edits interviews in real-time.
2. From there, craft your value messaging strategy.
Messaging goes one step further to clearly explain the value of your product or service. Write it in a language your ideal customer speaks.
Value messaging focuses on how your product or service will change your ideal customer’s life. As Stratton says, your messaging must “turn pains into benefits.” Notice these Digital Stunt Writer value statements answer the question: “How does this benefit freelance writers?”
Craft great copy with less tedious groundwork.
Earn more and spend less time on each writing project.
3. Get rid of old habits that paralyze content.
Once your organization is aligned around a goal and strategy and everyone is clear on your brand’s positioning and value, make sure your old habits don’t creep in and wreck the progress you’ve made. (I’m talking to you in the premium seats.)
Keep your messaging strategy updated and at your writers’ fingertips.
Dust off your brand messaging guidelines. If you don’t have such a document, develop one! You’ll save time and money while keeping your content on brand.
Develop a consistent write, revise, edit, and final proofing process that gets content out the door.
- Write. Front load writing assignments with goals for the piece. Outlines save time and make revisions easier.
- Revise. This is the big picture review where you ensure the piece is on brand. Do your goals, positioning, and messaging strategy resonate? Does the writing reflect the culture and language of your target market? Are the facts correct?
- Edit. Here’s where you get picky about details. Is the writing optimized for search engines (SEO) with easy-to-follow organization that utilizes H1, H2 headers and keywords? Do sentences flow in an active voice? Are there too many adverbs? Is the grammar correct? Is it conversational enough?
- Final proof. Catch little grammar, punctuation, or spelling mistakes. We all make them, so one last read is always important.
Lead don’t hover.
Make sure you train your staff and clearly communicate your social media voice, boundaries, and expectations. Get everyone focused on your marketing goal, messaging, and value, and then get out of their way. If your leadership team or any management-level staffer is still reviewing and approving every single social media post…you’re not there yet. This micromanaging wastes leadership time and throws a wrench in timely and authentic “social” social media. Plus, it makes for a toxic environment.
Lead Visibly in Media
Folding yourself into the stage curtains is usually fear taking over. And what recovering perfectionist doesn’t grapple now and then with fear? When your team leaders do this, it could mean they don’t feel empowered and encouraged by you and/or marketing to publicly step up. This can be easily solved with a little TLC, direction, and some solid on-brand talking points.
Open communication channels and demand transparency.
Leadership needs to fully participate in growing not only your marketing success, but your organization’s communication channels. That’s how you harness the talent you already have. Communication isn’t a one-and-done endeavor. Create a culture of cross-department feedback and engagement. Sales VPs and directors, for example, are an amazing source of information on what pitches are resonating with prospects.
4. Book a Consult.
Content paralysis can be a symptom of a marketing process that needs alignment and focus. If you’re not sure where to start to fix content or any other marketing issues, we’re here to chat. We’ll help you honestly examine where you’re at, articulate where you want to go, and work with you to devise a doable plan to get there. But it all starts with a no-pressure, no-BS consult. Let’s talk.