Content feedback. We thought everyone was on board. Turns out content feedback is a trigger for some people. Anyway, in the interests of balance, we thought we’d publish this anonymous rant from a content writer that dropped into the Rockee inbox this week.
Content feedback and sausages
Content marketing is still massive. It’s worth about £50 billion* if you believe the stats. Get it right and you can make some easy money.
Get a few content ‘creators’, maybe even some AI help. Brief in a few thinly veiled Google searches, Wikipedia-substantiated articles and masturbatory client puff pieces and you’re in business.
Just keep pumping it out of the sausage factory and don’t stop the machine churning. It’s a great model. But there’s a blockage on the horizon that could clog up the machine: content feedback.
There’s only one thing better than sausages…more sausages
Quantity. That’s the name of the game in content marketing. Pump out as much as you can as quickly as you can with as little effort as you can. Keep the blog posts coming. Content feedback changes that.
It starts forcing us to think about quality. And that calls into question the model we’re working to – moving us out of the battery-chicken house into a free-range organic equivalent. In short, quality is the enemy.
It’ll block up your content-marketing machine faster than you can say – what the world needs is another ebook on digital transformation. And content feedback is the start of the slippery slope to producing quality content.
So, in the spirit of every factory-content-marketer, here’s a list-based blog that explains why getting feedback on your content is disastrous for you. And the content-marketing industry.
1. People might point out your content’s shit
Encourage content feedback and you’re increasing the likelihood that someone will spot the blindingly obvious – that the content is complete and utter toilet fodder. There are many reasons why that’ll be the case. Here a few you might recognise:
· The camel – you know, the horse that everyone helped put together, but no one took responsibility for.
· The boomerang – the digital transformation ebook is back again. Change the cover and get it out there.
· The vanity project – someone important has something important to say. And no one dares question whether anyone wants/or needs to hear it.
That list could go on forever. The underlying point being that it’s shit for the simple reason we’re not focussed on making it good. But we don’t really want anyone else pointing that out…or we might have to start answering some questions.
2. People might point out you’re shit
It’s not a massive leap, is it? The content’s not very good, so the person creating it can’t be very good. Until recently, you’d keep the volume high and rattle off a few vanity metrics and you could progress without ever having to think, or work, too hard.
Will anyone notice the ebook I wrote is remarkably similar to the last one? Will anyone work out I’ve combined the generic messages I was given with a liberal sprinkling of out-of-date stats? Probably not.
Because the truth is most people aren’t reading this shit. But, as soon as they do, and you ask them about it, you’ve got a problem. Get feedback on your work and you won’t just have people questioning the quality of the work, they’ll start questioning the quality of the people producing that work: you.
3. You might have to do something about the feedback
What you don’t need is someone feeding back to say they’d find the piece more useful if there was more technical detail. Or that they found it hard to read – too much marketing jargon.
Basically, as soon as the kid in the crowd points out that your glamorous robes are transparent, and your marketing bollocks are on show, you’re going to need to do something about it.
You’re going to have to understand your audience. Give your work a clear focus. Expand on complex ideas in an accessible way. And, god forbid, make your work interesting.
Not only is that time-consuming, but it’s likely to produce a better piece of content. And then you’ve got something to live up to. People (clients or colleagues) are going to start expecting better content and heaven forbid – content marketing ROI.
4. You might have to have some awkward conversations
A central tenet of effective content marketing is the path of least resistance. Can we publish these 5,000 words on why we’re amazing? Of course. We could probably just put this 125 slide PPT as it is, everyone loves it. Great idea.
The audience for this piece is males and females of all ages. Go for it. Our audience will definitely want to spend 10 minutes watching us talk about this product. Ok – let’s get it out there.
If we start getting feedback on our work, we might have to start having different and more awkward conversations. We might have to explain to people that what matters to us is less important than what matters to the audience. We’ll have to tell people that sometimes it’s better not to put something out.
We’ll have to go all Jeff Goldblum and explain that just because we could, doesn’t mean that we should. And how are people going to react when we have those conversations.
They’re not going to be happy. They might start questioning your role. Much better to nod in quiet agreement, get it out there, appear helpful and move on up the content-marketing ladder.
5. Less opportunity to get creative
Getting feedback on your content is going to lead to a clearer idea about how it’s performing. And that means fewer meetings where you get to look at some numbers nobody really understands and come up with increasingly unlikely, but creative, hypotheses to explain those numbers.
People with cats have a higher dwell time on Wednesdays when it’s raining because…Qualitative feedback limits the opportunity to kick back in those meetings and get creative. It opens up the possibility that you’ll have a clear idea of what you need to fix.
Combine it with content scores and Google Analytics stats and you’ll really start to understand how your content’s performing. And that’ll increase the risk you’ll need to go back to your desk and create something people will want to read or find useful.
6. It’ll slow the machine down
We’ve touched on this already, but it’s important. The success of content marketing is predicated on some good old fashioned 18th century thinking.
It’s the factory system. It’s the industrial revolution. It’s why you hear churn factory, or sausage factory, or content-marketing machine…or engine in agencies and in-house content teams.
And when you hear those words, it’s usually people advocating for some sort of organic, artisanal, free range, good for mind body and soul content.
Get those revolutionaries out of there. Those hippy luddites will slow your machine down. If they don’t destroy it outright. Content feedback will only spur them on to focus on quality over quantity.
If you’re not convinced, you’re probably one of those aforementioned luddite hippy people.
You want feedback on your content. You believe that all feedback is good feedback. You want to produce great content. You value quality over quantity.
Well, good for you. Don’t spoil it for the rest of us though. Don’t jump on the Rockee bandwagon.
Don’t start posting about content feedback. Don’t blog about content marketing success.
Don’t share advice on making better content. We don’t want a content-marketing revolution.
Image credit – Andre Hunter, Unsplash.