There’s a lot of personal investment that goes into creating content. We don’t just pull levers and print out content like a cold assembly line; we all have to invest our time, creativity and talent into our marketing assets in order make them relevant, relatable, and effective.
Naturally, with all the personality that goes into content, it can be pretty easy for us to get personally attached to the content we create. When these attachments go wrong, however, content marketing can turn to content hoarding, and valuable messaging can turn into detrimental cries for help. To help you avoid such content hoarding habits, we’ve identified the six most common types of content hoarders, and how you can immunize your organization against them.
The Over-Possessive Officer: More ego-driven than results-driven, the Over-Possessive Officer (whether actually an officer or not) polices an organization’s pool of content in order to ensure that any content with his or her name on it stays in rotation. These content hoarders believe their personal brands to be of equal or higher value to their organizations’ brands, and so they create content to highlight themselves more than to deliver value to their customers or prospects. To treat Over-Possessive Officers, we recommend a healthy dose of content or campaign data to empirically refute any inflated ideas of what’s actually working for the business.
The Paranoid Pusher: Often recognizable by a frenzy of overly-efficient content production, the Paranoid Pusher pumps out content not to meet a measurable market demand, but to cover all bases in case his or her boss is watching. The Paranoid Pusher feels the ever-increasing expectations we all feel as content marketers, but uncertain of what actually works, this fearful content hoarder fills his or her marketing channels with fast-made content that’s often without any real purpose. To prevent a Paranoid Pusher from plugging up your marketing channels with hastily hodgepodged content, we recommend setting clear content conversion metrics and reporting dashboards or parameters in order to insure your content creators are creating the right stuff, not just all the stuff.
The KPI Creep: As an avid practitioner of the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy, the KPI Creep sticks exclusively to instruction and only does what’s been clearly defined. In a well-oiled content marketing machine, this kind of cog would be great, except that the KPI Creep also believes “if it is broke, don’t look for it.” The KPI Creep clings to business as usual, especially when business is good, but when change, improvement, or innovation may be necessary, the KPI Creep will adhere like tar to old practices and processes, and can even become an active inhibitor to overall progress. To maintain a safe distance from KPI Creeps, we advise mixing in key performance indicators for content marketing that reward change or innovation and foster an environment where failure in order to learn and grow is encouraged.
The List Leach: The top ten telltale signs of a List Leach actually boil down to a singular fact that this content hoarder is a one trick pony. List Leaches often latch on to the assumption that the list format is what makes a content asset successful – with no consideration to the actual value conveyed by the list. Content variety for a List Leach usually means mixing in a five fun facts list with a dirty dozen of delightful things, and for long form content, a healthy sixty surprising stats for good measure. For a list leach’s audience, however, it’s just a dull, draining deluge of lists. To repel List Leaches, we advise incorporating customer or reader feedback into content planning and analysis in order to establish the kinds of value people really want – as opposed to relying on gut feelings for generic content types.
The Groundhog Day Goon: Almost as predictable as death and taxes, the Groundhog Day Goon is a content hoarding creature of habit who only clings to what’s worked in the past. If there was an infographic that got solid pickup last year, the Groundhog Day Goon will use that same exact infographic this year. Only rarely when obvious content gaps arise does the Groundhog Day Goon even consider creating new content, and even then, the source material is usually just his or her own existing content. Then, as soon as a gap is filled, it’s back to business as usual. In competitive, change-prone markets, Groundhog Day Goons can actually do more harm through content marketing than good by making their organizations appear dated, out of touch, or obsolete. To escape the cycle of a Groundhog Day Goon, we recommend active social media monitoring and engagement with relevant industry or market peers and even competitors in order to stay up to speed on present trends and forward looking opportunities.
Sticky Fingers McGee Marketer: This kleptomaniacal content hoarder not only rides on the coat tails of other content creators, he or she is also apt to just straight up steal the whole coat as well. The Sticky Fingers McGee Marketer steals from other rich content, and in poor taste, passes it off as his or her own. Happy to walk the line between petty imitation and blatant plagiarism, the Sticky Fingers McGee Marketer’s collection of copied content can even steal the credibility away from his or her organization should he or she get caught red handed. To stop Sticky Finger McGee Marketers at the door before they can infiltrate your organization, be sure to request content portfolios which you can easily vet before filling any of your content marketing positions. To weed out any of these content hoarders from the inside as well, we recommend establishing a peer to peer or multi-person content review process in order to insure overall content integrity.
Beyond the six common content hoarding characters above, in general, content hoarding often arises when we lose sight of why we’re creating content in the first place – namely, to deliver value to our audiences or to drive meaningful results for our organizations. When this happens, we fall victim to creating content just for the sake of having content, and what we may believe to be a pool of useful assets actually just ends up as a pile of junk.
Clearly, content hoarding falls into the “worst practice” category, but for content marketing best practices from the Best-in-Class, download the free report, 5 Habits of Highly Effective Content Marketers.