It sometimes seems that you can’t attend a meeting without someone making a joke about “feeding the content beast.” Lately, I have been thinking a lot about the need for the beast to have a quality and balanced diet. Early in the process, it seems that your content program is like a new puppy. It’s an exciting and new experience with extra care, and even costs are expended to make sure your program gets what it needs for healthy growth.

But like that puppy, once your program is mature, the content diet can get off track. Whether apathy orclip_image004 overload, or a coupon for a cheaper food, it is easy to get distracted and the overall quality of the content can suffer. How do you know if you are neglecting your content doggie? Below are a few warning signs:

· Volume Is Up: If you find yourself producing more content to please more internal clients, chances are your focus has shifted from the content consumer to your product and service marketers. Study after study tells us that more is not better—it’s just more. Stop now before you make your dog sick!

· Editorial Standards Are Optional: If you have drifted from your original editorial guidelines, and it’s not in direct response to additional learnings about the market or your audience, your quality will suffer. Your content is supposed to have a focus and a point-of-view. And yes, it is faster and easier to produce it if it does not. But just like you would not feed your dog a steady diet of gerbil food because someone sent you a free sample in the mail, you would have to align with and be sure to uphold your editorial standards and focus.

· Content Isn’t Reused: At a minimum you should be reusing at least 15%. If you are producing 100% new content each month, chances are you have a budget unlike 99% of the content organizations out there or it’s not all high quality. Do yourself a favor and look at developing content that can easily be reused and refreshed. Don’t worry; I’m not going to make an analogy about feeding your dog recycled food.

· Inconsistent Across the Cycle: Best practice is to develop and reuse content throughout the sales funnel. If you find that your content is heavy in the beginning of your funnel or just inconsistent across the customer journey, it’s time to hit pause. Make sure you are providing content for the entire sales cycle; including post-purchase and not all of it is original content. You can’t just feed your dog in the morning and ignore him at dinner and wonder why he’s not behaving the way you expected.

I understand that developing high quality content that advances your brand and business objectives is hard work—sort of like training your dog. But what you will find is that a consistent investment actually takes less time and yields greater results. If you get off track, a quick return to the basics will get you back to having a good dog vs. a content beast.

Colleen Nolan

Colleen Nolan

Colleen is an advocate at heart who believes that with the right message and motivation anything is possible. A strategic campaign designer and communicator, she is skilled at defining and analyzing a desired result, and then developing the marketing and communications pathway to achieve success. Colleen quickly makes an intellectual and emotional connection with key audiences and uses these skills to craft communications programs that have strong resonance and dramatic impact.

Colleen has 20+ years experience in engagement, issue management, community building and mobilization.