When I first started learning about the deep workings of content marketing, I remember feeling overwhelmed about the analytical side of it. On top of assessing my content’s ROI, I also had much to learn about CRM and creating content for a lead, a marketing qualified lead, and an actual customer.
The pressure to create not only good content but measurable content increased. Eventually, I began to believe that every word I wrote had to produce some measurable result or it wasn’t worth writing at all.
You can imagine how quickly the passion for writing content for my business disappeared.
Too often, content writers fall victim to producing content only for the purpose of getting a measurable result. When we write solely to follow the contrived notions of “in vogue” marketing trends, our content suffers.
Now, I’m not saying that we should throw all marketing trends and analytics out the window. But I am saying we content writers would be wise to recognize when trends and popular analytics fail to match the needs of our business and our customers.
In a recent post, Loryn Cole describes two such content trends that create results but little value. The first is the listicle. As Cole explains, this type of content serves no other purpose than to get clicks. “Some of these articles take off and get lots of traffic and shares,” Cole notes, “but the vast majority of them fizzle.”
I can guess why. Often, when I click on a “top-ten list,” I’ll read the first few lines. Then, I’ll merely skim through the rest to see the headings for those ten items. Rarely will I actually read the content under each heading unless something stands out. Now, if all the writer had wanted was to get as many clicks as possible, then this content might have served its purpose. But if the writer had wanted to truly engage readers with helpful, useful content? Well, that remains to be seen.
The other content that Cole believes creates little value is the article that offers only the most basic information. “This kind of article was created, not to help people, but to rank in search engines,” Cole explains. The article may appear at the top of Google’s search results, but rarely will it actually have the quality of content that the reader will truly find worth reading.
Again, the “return” on this type of content may be simply to gain clicks and create traffic. If that’s the goal, I suppose that’s okay.
But I’d like to argue that such traffic never produces long-term results. Readers who click on an article and then just as quickly click away aren’t going to remember the content. What’s more, they aren’t going to remember the writer, the business, or the brand.
Such content never leaves a lasting impression.
What does leave a lasting impression is content that engages readers with thoughtful and insightful information. This type of content may not appear at the top of Google’s rankings, but a reader who finds it will likely go away having read something worth reading.
“[I]t’s worth remembering that popularity doesn’t equal quality,” Cole states.
How true. Good marketing content may naturally produce traffic and ranking. But those measurable effects should never be the ultimate goal.