Content marketing must-haves: Momentum

Many company blogs are started with a blog splash and some great ideas, but how many keep the momentum up? Producing regular, high quality editorial content that maps to your business objectives can be tough.

 Content marketing must-haves: Momentum

There’s a very entertaining blog called the One Post Wonder.

It’s devoted to those people who get fired up with the idea of starting a blog, write a few words, and then just give up.

Social media gurus always used to talk about how often a blog is started in the world – every few seconds. But rarely do they mention that a blog gets abandoned even more frequently

As the Caslon Analytics blog comments: “Several studies indicate that most blogs are abandoned soon after creation (with 60% to 80% abandoned within a month, depending on whose figures you choose to believe) and that few are regularly updated. The 'average blog' thus has the lifespan of a fruitfly. One cruel reader of this page commented that the average blog also has the intelligence of a fly.”

As it is in the world of individuals, so it is in business. Many of the FTSE 100 companies’ blogs have been discontinued, or not updated for over a year. The internet is littered with corporate blogs that launch with a big splash and some great ideas, but then fizzle out as the reality of keeping a decent editorial operation going kicks in.

To take a business blog almost at random: as of today, the blog of air compressor manufacturer Ingersoll Rand was lasted updated on January 13, 2011 – over a year ago. Unfortunate. Even more unfortunately, the blog posted on January 13, 2011 was apologising for not having blogged for a few months. In other words, the company last blogged over a year ago… to say sorry for not blogging much recently.

The impression this gives is of inertia, inability to deliver, a lack of energy or initiative. It’s undoubtedly a worse impression than you would give by having no blog at all.

To do content marketing well, in other words, you need to think not just about what you’re going to say, or who’s going to say it – but how you’re going to carry on with the same level of quality and interest over time. You need to have a plan in place – an editorial calendar that builds the creation and delivery of content marketing assets into your daily business routine.

You need to find a way to avoid that all-too-familiar weekly or monthly last-minute scramble, where everyone dashes around, screaming: “Who’s got anything to blog / put in the email newsletter / tweet about? WE said we’d send something out again TODAY!!!”

You need to plan for momentum. Here are a few pointers:

  • Start a calendar. Divide your planned content marketing output into themes that map directly to your marketing and business objectives.
  • Turn your themes into strands, formats, deliverables. Give individuals responsibility for generating ideas and creating content for agreed themes and formats.
  • Be realistic about frequency. As in most things, it’s much better to under-promise and over-deliver. At the outset, you might get what looks like a glut of ideas and authors vying to get involved. But don’t splurge all your content at once – hold something back for when the initial enthusiasm has fallen away. 
  • Look at what assets you already have. Often there are white papers or articles or collateral already in existence that were created for one purpose (a sales meeting or conference presentation, say) that, with a little ingenuity, could easily be tweaked and made part of your content marketing output. 
  • Work backwards from your regular delivery dates. To deliver a blog on Friday 12th, when does the idea need to be agreed? When does it need to be drafted by? Who needs to review and approve it, and by when? Who’s doing the quality control?
  • Cultivate subject matter experts and lobby for their input to be an integral part of their job, not just an extra you have to beg for every week or month.
  • Schedule regular ideas meetings. Encourage people to come up with ideas for your different strands and messaging themes.