A fellow writer, Nate from Write by the Rails, posted a thought-provoking piece about how he is once again giving a damn about his blog. Turns out, analytics had gotten him down, discouraging him from writing. So he stopped writing quality content. This is the kind of (dis)empowering force analytics can have. When numbers are up, we think, “I’m getting there!” When they’re down, we think, “I must suck.” It begs the question, do you really want numbers to define you?
Now don’t get me wrong. We absolutely need a way to measure the reach of our content, especially in content marketing. Content marketing is about building visibility, credibility, brand and audience. We can’t do that without seeing how many people we’re reaching and who they are. That’s why Google Analytics exists. But at what point do we say, “If we build it, they will come”? Can there be an intersection of belief and big data?
I’m going to argue yes. And here’s why.
In Analytics, Faith and Science Hold Hands
Since the dawn of formal belief systems, there has been the clash of faith and science. And there needn’t be, especially when it comes to content marketing. Here’s where science can help back your belief:
- If you write without the burden of trying to please the Google Gods, you become a better writer. We’ve all seen keyword mills and obvious SEO magnets. It doesn’t make for good writing. Plus, it can cause writers block. So stop. Just stop. Write as if there were no Google and no audience you need to please. (This is easier for old people like me who grew up when there really was no Google.) You need to release your self-expression. It’s just how creativity works.
- If you can write solid content, you’re years ahead of your competition that can’t. And let’s face it. Most of them can’t. Even if they have the talent, they don’t have the time. It’s just how life is. It’s sociology.
- If you go back and format for SEO AFTER you write your great content, Google WILL eventually find you. It’s just how internet technology works.
- If you share your quality content through social media, newsletters and other channels, you WILL be read by at least a few more people. It’s how the law of probability works.
- If you utilize publications with larger audiences to draw in more readers, you’re years ahead of those who don’t. More readers bring in more readers. You’re creating an upward spiral. Anything in motion tends to stay in motion. It’s the law of physics.
- If you are consistent, your audience will start to notice and take you more seriously. They see you as being dedicated, professional and worthy of attention (even if not for long periods of time). It’s just psychology.
The one caveat is that all of this takes time and energy to happen. Content marketing needs to be done long-term. Many people don’t have the patience, and if they don’t see the analytics they want, they give up. That’s a choice they are making – to not believe in the philosophy and science. For us, that’s not our customer. We can’t MAKE you believe in the effectiveness of anything. We can only provide best practices, research, analytics explained and suggestions for improvement. So if you’re ready for that kind of help, ask for it.
Oh and Nate…keep writing. You got this.
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