Doing content one way for a long time works really well, until it doesn’t. It’s like investing in lots of different things and then picking the one that did the best and staying bearish on it indefinitely.
Diversification best practices would have you re-balance every so often once things get lopsided, but we’re creatures of habit and its hard to know what will work and what will be a wasted effort.
You’re one person with your voice and style and perspective, so your content is going to be consistently you. But that’s not what I mean.
What I mean is that as you put those constants in place to help you cultivate a practice around developing a subject matter expertise over time, a pattern in your online footprint emerges. And over time that becomes problematic.
Here are a couple common examples I’ve seen:
You post emails to your site, but they’re not “posts.”
As emails they’re great, response rates are high, and you can string together an ongoing conversation that keeps your base actively engaged. Each day, you make a single hard hitting point and your users think, “I’m glad I opened that.”
But as standalone blog posts they’re sort of awkward. Round pegs that don’t really fit in the square holes that make up your site. Users may stumble upon them from search and get confused or have trouble going deeper if interest is there.
You email out your posts, but they’re not “emails.”
Sort of the reverse of the above. You can email out your posts. I actually like this idea (its better than doing no email), but it treats your posts as little inbox alerts. It’s less intimate, removing you a degree from your core audience and the medium you’re using.
A remnant of a time when RSS feeds were king:
The Google Trends embed won’t show up in my RSS feed email broadcast because it’s not a static image, but it shows RSS peaking around Jan 2006, now crawling at about 6% of that in the US, 9% worldwide.
Email consistently generates the highest ROI as a channel in marketing, and it’s missed opportunity to only use it to blast out updates about new posts.
Maybe you have always created “hygiene content.”
In the hub-hero-hygiene content model, hygiene content is described as information people are already searching for. It’s practical, in demand, and often evergreen.
It’s dependable because you can clearly see the need for useful content.
But there is nothing particularly engaging or exciting about it. Over time (alone) it’s not going to hold an audience’s attention. In fact, this type of content is most susceptible to being edged out by similar content in search results over time.
Scrappy and overfunded competitors in Google will take you for a ride every time. Let’s say you write about sleep habits and an overfunded sleep tech company decides they need inbound marketing content strategy, they will systematically beat you on content piece by piece, because they can “afford to.” They’ll keep it fresher, promote it with ads, and use your own data (rankings, links, content ideas) to overtake you.
This is a real threat. Someone else will always be willing to spend more to get less if they can create “good enough” content to satisfy users’ search intent.
Maybe you build content (and a following) on a platform you don’t own
In college I started a Facebook group that grew to about 16,000 members. It was more a right time right place situation than anything special I did, but we put a lot of time into keeping the culture positive.
At its peak there were about 4,000 threads with over 100,000 replies. The group was even mentioned in the premier publication as being the gold standard for online communities around the topic.
When we reached 5,000 members, Facebook decided that we couldn’t send out notifications to everyone in the group. Then they changed the way they handle groups, gutting the group and forum structure. Overnight we were pretty done.
If you’ve been around for 5+ years, this has almost certainly happened to you on one platform or another, and they’re either:
- gone (vine, periscope)
- made access to your audience hard without ads (fb, twitter)
- too competitive now (quora, ig)
Any energy you put into building a following around content over a period of years on something that is not your own website is a liability.
There are other ways to do content just one way. The one most of us are guilty of tomorrow: being a content hoarder.
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