Several years ago, I penned a song entitled “Content” [kuh n-tent] that was all about being satisfied.  Everyone pronounced it “content” [kon-tent] and thought it was a placeholder for the actual title. It’s a little ironic actually. Is a musician every content with his or her pieces? Marketers, too, often find themselves asking this question often: am I content with my content?

Author and historian, A. Wyatt Tilby, first used the expression “content is king” in 1914. However, he wasn’t referring to copy, video or audio, but rather to being satisfied. We think of this as a positive thing today, but Tilby spoke of the British monarchy when content was a derivative of “constrained” or “contained.” So, for a royal, their content audience was captive. Literally.

So, how do you keep your audience’s captive attention? By taking innovative and fresh approaches that keep readers informed, entertained and empowered to do more in their daily lives. Here are five ways to know if you can be content with your content or if it is time to change:

1. You are excited for others to read it

This may seem obvious but if the content doesn’t excite you – as the subject matter expert – it isn’t the right approach or needs more work. No matter your profession, we are all called to write and persuade or inform others from time to time – be it a manager, coworker, customer, patient or client. For some, writing is all they do in their jobs, and it comes naturally. For others, it’s a dreaded task. The key is to find opportunities to write about subjects that excite you. When you do, it becomes easier to create content with which you can be content. You may need to stretch the boundaries of your writing comfort zone, and research for supporting sources. But in doing so, the content will be strengthened and ultimately, professional expertise will be heightened. Now, if that isn’t exciting, I don’t know what is.

The key is to find opportunities to write about subjects that excite you.

2. Ask a trusted, skeptical colleague to review

Before you hit “go live” on any piece of content, seek out your most trusted, skeptical colleague to give it a thorough review. He or she needn’t be an expert in the topic of the piece, but you do want their unbiased and honest opinion about the aesthetics, clarity, and audience-perceived value of your content. Does the headline grab the reader and pull them in? Is it true to the “meat” of the piece or is it simply click bait? The latter, while a heavily used tactic these days, can damage your credibility with your audience. Take in all feedback and make adjustments to your content to ensure your audience has the utmost opportunity to engage with, and derive meaningful takeaways.

3. The content has been active for more than three months

Now, let’s talk about the “lifespan” of an effective piece of content. Once you have your ad, whitepaper, blog or video “in the wild,” and your audiences are consuming it, you’ll want to consider how long to promote it. The duration may vary according to the traffic it gets and the resonance of its message with the intended audience. If the piece – whether being promoted via paid venues, or lives organically on your website – has been running for three months or more (or you can’t remember when it was changed), it is probably time for an update. The best way to remain content with your content is to ensure your audience doesn’t have a chance to get bored.

4. It has been seen by your core customers more than seven times

Closely tied to recommended lifespan of your content is the marketing “Rule of Seven,” which states that audiences need to see your content seven times to remember and/or take action on it. If the content is compelling, it can make an impact sooner than seven times. If the content is run-of-the-mill, it can be seen more before becoming redundant. If you’ve used the content in your rotation at least seven times, it’s a good practice to change the content before it becomes too familiar and easily tuned out.

5. The Call to Action is no longer effective

“Call to Action” (CTA) defines the desired behavior of the viewer: buy the product, watch this movie, or shop this store. Although it can be difficult, it is important to measure the results of your content based on your CTA. Pay attention to the messages your audiences are sending to you via the CTA: e.g., are they opening your emails; are they clicking the links; are they visiting your page to learn more; are they sharing or commenting on your content? These are all important indicators of message and content resonance. Monitoring the results of your CTA helps you understand if your CTA is compelling enough, or perhaps it is time to refresh the content.


To summarize, take a page out of modern marketing, whether you’re a marketing professional or not, so you can feel confident that your audience values your content. Remember to write about what excites you, seek out a trusted reviewer, keep content updated within the last three months, promote it seven times, and ensure the call to action is still driving results so you can be content with your content.

Jennifer Davis is a senior executive, industry presenter, business leader, mentor and volunteer. She is the vice president of marketing and product strategy for Planar Systems, a global leader in display and digital signage technology. More information about Jennifer is available at her website: http://atjenniferdavis.com/#homeinfo


Last time I wrote about why you need a copywriter for your business. In this post, I share where to find those secret places, us cool cat copywriters hang out.

So where are you going to find your dream copywriter?

Get jiggy on Facebook

Many of us writers are completely addicted to social media, and in between projects, breathlessly stalk the million Facebook groups we have joined; from Business Business Business to copywriters who work in Sydney and have beards. We do love a Facebook group mainly because it helps us feel connected to the outside world that exists beyond our desks in our homes. So put a call out and see what happens.

Prim and proper LinkedIn

Meh! Not as much fun as Facebook but you’ll find us there with an updated profile page but possibly a little less inactive. Know why I say this confidently? Because in my four years of being on LinkedIn, I have yet to see a callout for a copywriter. Guess those businessy types are too busy eh? If you want to see samples of our work go to our website, call or email us to see if we are the right fit. We will take you seriously we promise and get back to you within 24 hours! Ps: No sales pitches after accepting a LinkedIn request, we hate those as much as you do. LinkedIn groups, sorry simply can’t keep up!

Ask your network

If you have a list of people you contact for business advice then it’s a great place to ask if they know a copywriter you can trust. One, it saves you time trawling through Google. After a while every copywriter’s website looks the same as the previous one, two, referrals are often worth their weight in gold and are never given out lightly. Having things in common with the person referred helps to break the ice and it’s easier to build rapport and get a good result.

Twitter

Again, not really seen many callouts by businesses looking for a copywriter but if you’re active on it then you can look for a copywriter using the hashtag #copywriter, #contentwriter #writer and see who comes up. Check out their tweets and their website and see if they know what they’re talking about. Tweet to set up a meeting and you’re all set.

Copywriter directories

There are some copywriting businesses which have a list of business services where you can search for a copywriter. Generally, if it’s a well known business they will offer you quality copywriters though it might cost you a fee. It’s a good investment because it saves you the trial and error of looking for the right writer (catchy!) yourself.

Google search

You might be wondering why I’ve listed a Google search as your last option. Being a copywriter myself, I prefer to look for other writers on social media first if I need help. The best writer for your project may not always come up on the first page of the results and it also depends on what you’re searching for, which may not always be clear in your mind. Results for ‘web content writer’ could be vastly different from ‘blog writer’ and let’s face it – websites can be made to say anything.

Think of hiring a copywriter as an investment into your business and it is a big deal. You need someone who will understand your business, understand what and why you need content, suggest ideas, be quick to understand and interpret what you need, deliver professional, well written content and quote you accordingly.You need to deal with a real person not some name on an agency’s books or profile on a website like Fiverr.

Please, please don’t be cheap and try to get out of paying a reasonable amount for your copy; we have to eat and would like to go on the occasional holiday just as much as you. Copywriting is a skill, not everyone can do it and those who can need to be paid fairly.