Log into Facebook and Twitter. Do your daily 3 minutes routine.
Now, ask yourself:
Don’t you feel like you’re flooded with content? Sometimes, it feels overwhelming. Other times, it feels confusing. Everything seems to be bombarding you and you are about to go crazy!
Well, I had enough. And I’m not going to play the numbers game. For whatever number of posts I am able to write by the end of 2014, I’m going to make sure that people read them for the right reasons.
I know of famous brands out there who do that. They play the numbers game, write exaggerative headlines, and produce mesmerizing visuals. But I’m not them.
I’m not saying that your headlines or choice of visuals isn’t important. They are important. But while you make sure that the cover of the book looks great, you got to make sure that the story you write is worthy of its cover.
I’m building a brand (blog) that people want to read, return to, and associate with because they know the blog is full of things they can actually use and apply to their work, rid of nonsense and fluff.
So I’m going to share with you these 3 tests that I’ve developed to find out if your content is really good or you’re just building a pretty facade.
Test 1. Would you spend money promoting this post?
I love asking this question, even to myself.
I admit that on a few occasions, I get caught up with trying to produce enough content on Facebook that it soon became a dread. Each post got worse as time passed.
But one day, I had to promote one of the posts to reach more people. When I previewed it in the Facebook ad creation tool, I felt utterly ashamed!
Not only was the content cookie-cutter, but the copy also lacked relevance and punch. In short, it was not worthy of anyone’s attention. Promoting such a post would be a complete waste of money. Clearly, the post was not good enough!
So why did I even create such a post?
If you specialise in doing something, you might have experienced a similar situation.
Day after day, you continue doing what you do best and your work quality suffers over time because of how mundane the work has become!
It is human nature. It’s just a burnout. Not everyone is lucky enough to do a variety of things everyday that helps them escape this conundrum.
If you can’t, it’s alright. Simply go through a safety checklist each time to make sure that the quality does not go out of hand.
Test 2. Ask someone to read it, see their first reaction, and ask for their opinion!
I’ll be the first to admit that this is not easy.
Social media managers typically work with a tight schedule. You have to produce content in advance, and sometimes the going gets tough when you manage multiple platforms, each with distinctive needs in terms of both content and copy. It’s hard to find time to do checks like this with someone else.
Aside from time crunch, you also have difficulties finding friends or colleagues who can help. Unless you work on a project as a team and a teammate works as an editor who checks your work, you might find this hard.
One way I get around this is to make it a practice to help each other. Offer something in exchange for the help they give you.
Test 3. How does it reflect my brand?
Rate it according to Positive, Neutral, Negative. Don’t even post it if it’s not positive.
The benefits of doing this are less obvious. But trust me, this is perhaps the most important day-to-day check you can do for your content strategy.
Sometimes in the competitive nature of your work, you get engrossed in producing content that would stand out and you forget the direction of your strategy.
On the other hand, executing your strategy means that over time, you will bind yourself and make the content you produce look mundane after a while. The content you produce loses its colour. So to break out of the rut, you try something “adventurous”. Sometimes, you may also cherry-pick ideas off blogs like mine.
Strategies are double-edged swords.
But being adventurous is also a good virtue!
However, you need to align it with your social media/digital/marcom strategy. I say this because I’m seeing many brands becoming “social” on Facebook without bearing any resemblance to their brand. They’re morphing to blend into the social media environment, yet their other faces in real life, print, broadcast, and digital remain the same. They’re picking up the best practices without really thinking what’s best for them.
If you design a piece of content that strays off your strategy, you need to recognise that it only provides a one-time interaction. Worse, sometimes it might send the wrong message about your brand to your target audience and mislead them to think your brand is something it is not.
If your one-time content takes off and generates an enormous amount of buzz, it might completely re-position your brand and throw your company off-track. That completely destroys your brand equity and you will need to spend a lot of resources and time to re-educate these people again.
Successful social brands not only create content that spreads like wildfire, but they also resonate with their audience. When their audience receive their message, they immediately “get it” because of the brand association they have established and how their message cleverly communicates that brand association. This “aha!” moment “rings true” with the audience; and the audience show their love by sharing it.
Of course, there are more reasons why stories go viral, but you get my point. In an extreme case, a pizza delivery brand which posts cat memes to get likes will not help them, but harm them in the long-term. If you stay true to your brand, you will see your brand grow.
That also applies to the content you post on Facebook and all other social media platforms.
That’s it! Do you use any more tests to decide if your content is good?