If Your Content Doesn’t Excite You, It’s Time To Rethink

by · August 6, 201217 comments

Ask yourself if the content you provide on your blog, social channel or email newsletter excites you. And don’t just say, “Of course, it does! I write it!” and dismiss the question. Actually take yourself out of your own mindset and worldview for a moment. Put yourself in the mindset of a customer. Now does it?

Occasionally, you’re going to answer, “no.” You’re going through the motions and pounding out content, but it’s become stale, predictable or just average. It’s not that it’s always bad … but it doesn’t stir emotions. It doesn’t spark other ideas or actions (like sharing). It doesn’t make you say, “Holy Smokes!”

So what do you do? You reinvent your content, that’s what.

painting the wall

A new coat of paint. (Photo credit: malloreigh)

I’ve reached that point here on Social Media Explorer. Yes, we have a fine stable of very smart authors. I love them each and enjoy the perspective they bring to the table. But, after assessing the content we’ve been delivering to you for the last five or six months recently, I came to the conclusion that we weren’t living up to our promise. We needed to reinvent what we do.

My criticisms of our own efforts include:

  • We’re not delivering ideas as much as we are just reporting. You can’t be a thought leader if you’re just reacting to stuff.
  • We afford far too many guest post opportunities for people. You don’t come here for aggregation of other people’s ideas. You come here for the SME perspective.
  • We promote far too much. Admittedly, I need to tell people about ticket sales for Explore, our social media research product and even our expert access Q&A site … those are items that help us feed our families … but we can be far more useful in how we do so.
  • We also promote other people’s stuff a bit more than we should. I’m mostly referring to product reviews of social technology companies. While sometimes we deliver some bigger picture analysis of what software like that means to the greater marketplace, often times we just say, “Look at this new tool! It’s cool!” There are other sites for that nonsense. You deserve better from us.

So, we sat down recently to decide how we were going to change Social Media Explorer’s content. We went through the exercise of re-defining our goals for the site, what content our readers come to us for, what perspective we can provide that others cannot and the like. We discussed ways to raise the bar and deliver what we have tried to for the last few years – intellectual stimulation and useful perspective for marketing decision-makers.

And we’ve landed on some changes. Perhaps these will help you understand how to reassess your content and how you can improve it. Here are the changes we’re making:

  • No more unsolicited guest posts.
  • If it’s a product review, it needs greater market context added in, balance to illustrate competitive options, etc. Even if a sponsor of our Explore events or an advertiser on SME is the subject matter, we owe it to you to deliver some balance and context to the story. You trust us. I’d like to think this is one reason why.
  • If it promotes Social Media Explorer’s products and services, it must contain some free item of usefulness, too. Like our interviews of Explore speakers, we focus on something they know, not just tease their talk.
  • Make sure the content has a measure of value to the marketing decision-maker. We think that describes our core audience, so that’s who we will aim to serve.

Just so you get a little peek inside the curtain, here is a short list I’ve given to our authors that describes what our content needs to do:

Social Media Explorer content will:

  • Focus on relevant news and its impact on marketing, business and the market place
  • Contain relevant perspectives on that news or marketing or business in general
  • Not pull punches but not pick fights and always be fair

We’ve also implemented a new process behind the scenes that will force me to edit posts more closely, ensure the SME perspective is reflected, even when the writer has a different one (though we never censor or direct our writers to have our opinion) and ensure the posts are held to a high standard. Hopefully, these tactical measures will help our strategic shift come to fruition.

So that’s what we’ve done. Now let’s focus back on your content. If you ask those questions and decide your content is stale, average or just not doing the trick, it’s time to reassess. Walk through the strategic planning process with your blog or social channel again. Revisit the original ideas and see if you’re A) Holding true to them or B) Need to straighten the course. Heck, you may even want to scrap the original plan and start anew.

The important questions to answer?

  • What is the goal of your blog/channel?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What do they expect from you?
  • What can you deliver they can’t get elsewhere?
  • How can we do that in a compelling way?

Now, step back and ask the question again: Does my content excite me? If I were a customer or prospect would it? If not, you know what to do.

I’d love your feedback on whether or not you’ve done or are doing this. What ideas did reassessing your content give you? How did you change? Let’s chat about it in the comments.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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Comments & Reactions

Comments Policy

Comments on Social Media Explorer are open to anyone. However, I will remove any comment that is disrespectful and not in the spirit of intelligent discourse. You are welcome to leave links to content relevant to the conversation, but I reserve the right to remove it if I don't see the relevancy. Be nice, have fun. Fair?

  • James Hahn II

    This kind of honesty is inspiring. I just discovered Social Media Explorer about two weeks ago. While I’ve gotten value from what I’ve read so far, you hit the nail on the head about the things that keep me from being overly excited to check your RSS feed. I look forward to the tweaks and thank you for all you do to challenge content providers to get better with every post!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, James. We aim to raise the bar. Stay tuned.

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  • http://twitter.com/geoffliving Geoff Livingston

    It’s funny, because I rewrote my editorial mission after our conversation in Louisville. My blog is starting to go nuts again. I believe in improvement and evolution over time. I think this is wonderful. Cheers!

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Two fairly smart guys can come up with good stuff now and then. ;-)

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  • http://twitter.com/wearewhitespace Murray Sye

    Hi Jason – I’m fairly new to your site, so I’m not too familiar with your ‘previous’ editorial. However to comment on your initiatives moving forward: your point: “Make sure the content has a measure of value to the marketing decision-maker.” in my mind is your ‘most important’.

    Blogging – or providing content in general – as a minimum take-away, should provide value to your constituents, regardless of the form (blog, ebook, wpaper etc).

    Don’t worry, I wrestle with all of this as well. The plus side is that we’re all still learnin’ and willing to improve.

    I will stay tuned.

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Murray. I appreciate the input here. Hopefully, we’ll make your staying worth the while. ;-)

  • iancleary

    Hey Jason, similar to the previous commenter I admire your honesty.  For my first blog I found that I was doing what other people are doing and wasn’t focussing on my strengths.  I had over 20 years experience in technology and only a few years in Social media.  I enjoyed the technology posts but also found myself drifting into articles about marketing and social media.

    My passion is technology and I like investigating how to leverage technology for social media.  I know that technology is only a piece of the puzzle but it’s the piece of the puzzle that I want to solve.  

    I do come to Social Media Explorer for your opinion.  Where is the market going, what do I watch out for, what’s really working, what’s not working etc.  So looking forward to your new direction.  
    Ian

    • http://socialmediaexplorer.com JasonFalls

      Thanks, Ian. Blogging for me has always been about learning as much as I help others learn. So the honesty is just a reflection of that. We all drift from our proper focus or strengths from time to time. Just good to re-set and say, “Wait! I need to be doing this better!” from time to time. Thanks for being along for the ride.

      • iancleary

        Thanks for having me!!!  I must owe you a bourbon or two :-)

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