With over 80 written articles, over 100 Facebook Live videos, and countless posts and comments on Social Media, I can say with certainty that my best piece of content is NOT that with the most likes or views. Nor did the most popular content attract more leads. What then is content worth creating?
Powerful content demonstrates who you are by inspiring, educating or entertaining people who are like you.
It can’t be measured with the technology that’s available because content-creation is not a silo operation. Powerful content ignites conversations and triggers emotions. One post or one comment at a time. Touching one person at a time. It builds up.
What most businesses do instead is wanting to reach a wider audience by researching what’s hot and trendy and then trying to fit into these trends, one post at a time, again and again, moving farther away from their unique Brand DNA.
Redefining the Purpose of Content
The disappointment of Content Creation (and Social Media in general) starts early because marketers and businesses don’t get out of it what they expected to receive in the first place (e.g. traffic, leads, sales, etc). Like in any relationship, it’s not what you GET OUT of a relationship, but merely what you put INTO a relationship. And if you don’t do that in business, it won’t work.
What is Business? It is finding ways to do more for others than anybody else. It is finding a way to connect and to truly serve. The same rules apply to content creation. If that sounds like common sense, then why do the following questions are being asked over and over again:
“What’s in for us if we create this video?”
“How do we know if it works?”
“Which known brands have done this before?”
“How can we automate Community Management?”
It’s like asking “what’s in for me for being me?”. Well, copying others, following trends and fitting in does NOT work. This has already been demonstrated by other brands.
Being honest and acting with integrity DOES work. This has already been demonstrated as well.
Why, then, do people still follow a path that does not work? They do it for the same reasons they smoke, for the same reasons they use violence to end violence. For the same reasons that people used to do things that deliver short-term gratification.
Trying to be popular, to have a trending article or a viral video serves the ego in one way or another. Sometimes it can be just vanity and sometimes the fear of not being enough. Doing that is not bad at all, it just burns a lot of resources without any significant progress.
In order to embrace this idea and to avoid the trap of fitting in, a shift in mindset is required:
From “How can we reach more people?” to “How can we deliver more value?”
From “Will more people like it?” to “Are we telling the truth?”
How To Measure Success?
For personal brands and small businesses, you can rely on serendipity and gut-feeling. But for large organizations and bigger teams, we need meaningful KPIs.
Quantitative metrics like reach, likes, views, and shares won’t help evaluate our content, simply because we should stop measuring content, and generally all communication and marketing activities, in a silo. If we have a clear answer on what success looks like in our business besides profit and turnover, we can find ways to measure how content is contributing to that success.
How and where to start?
The first step is not to focus on the content itself but on the mindset and the internal narrative of the organization. It’s useful to start seeing others the way you want to be seen, to take the time to connect with people you want to serve, instead of interrupting them and forcing your products and services on them.
Everything you put out there is more or less addressing people who are like you. It’s madness trying to convince people who disagree with you or to reach a wider audience to increase sales. Hence, write articles you would read. Post and share content in a way you would engage with. Your content might be similar to someone else’s content, but your intention and your unique way of putting things into perspective will resonate with the right audience.
Don’t seek a larger audience. Instead, seek opportunities to be in true service. Powerful content does not come in a specific form or through a specific channel. A generous comment on someone else’s work is sometimes enough to make change happen. What if I told you that my most powerful content lies in private messages. Is that content? Or is it just one-to-one communication? What’s the difference anyway? Turning private voice-messages into a podcast is an easy task. But the point is not to reach a bigger audience.
If you have genuinely something to say, there will be someone who genuinely wants to hear it.
What’s holding you back from showing up in your most authentic way with the intent to serve?