“All is flux.” – Heraclitus
Years ago, when the company I was working for was going through yet another website makeover, someone commented that such makeovers were rarely the result of customer feedback. To use a popular meme: “I would do more business with you if you would just change the color palette and font on your website,” said no one ever.
Rather, many website overhauls are driven by fatigue, and usually fatigue starting at the top. The CEO gets sick of looking at the same website day in and day out, and pushes to have it changed. Thousands of dollars later, you have a brand-spanking-new website but, frankly, the business that website represents is exactly the same. So what was the point?
I was reminded of this scenario when speaking with Ardath Albee for this week’s episode of Marketing Smarts. (Note: Ardath will be speaking on content marketing at our upcoming B2B Forum. Use the code “SMARTB2B” to get $200 off when registering!)
Ardath was talking about the “shiny object syndrome” that many marketers fall prey to when it comes to producing content. As she put it, “We just want to keep changing because it makes it interesting for us, but it doesn’t have anything to do with what our prospects are interested in.”
Just like the CEO looking at the website, we as marketers can get sick of looking at the same content over and over again. We want to change, so we decide to make infographics or videos or launch podcasts—regardless of whether these forms of content meet the needs of our potential customers or even match their information consumption habits.
Before we change any of our content, however, we need to recall something that Ardath told me during our conversation: “All of your prospects haven’t read all your content.”
Read those words again and reflect on what they mean. Yes, you may have looked at that white paper or those blog posts a thousand times, but there are (at least!) a thousand people who have never seen them even once. So what’s more important: creating something new for you or working harder to make sure that more new people see what you already have (given that it has proven its value and effectiveness up to now)?
Let’s face it. There is plenty of great content out there already and, if you’re lucky, you may have even created some of it for your industry. Do you or your customers really need new content? Isn’t it time that we considered a moratorium on new content until we’ve squeezed every drop of goodness out of the content we’ve already got?
Saying “never change your content” is a little extreme (plus my mom always told me to never say never). But how about this, don’t change your content or add anything brand spanking new to your content mix until you are absolutely certain that you have not yet provided your prospects with the content they are looking for (and, by the way, who wants to admit that?) or until you are absolutely certain that the content you have simply does not reflect the current state of your company and its expertise.
If you have produced the quality content that needs to be out there, and it is more or less current, just leave it be. Alright? Enough with the change already!
If you’d like to hear my entire conversation with Ardath, you can listen here or download the mp3 and listen at your leisure. You can also subscribe to the Marketing Smarts podcast in iTunes or via RSS and never miss an episode!
Tags: Ardath Albee, Content Marketing, Content Strategy, Marketing Smarts Podcast