2 steps to stop losing readers because of content holes
Mar. 23, 2016
Once upon a time in a city approximately 575 miles away, I worked at a magazine. One day, while working at this magazine, I had the brilliant idea to audit our online content. My boss was thrilled. She OKed the effort and I dug in.
I clicked through five pages or so before I realized my brilliant idea was actually pretty stupid. The website had 22,000 pieces of content. Going through them line by line in the website’s backend was absurd.
You don’t have to have 22,000 blog posts to understand what a ridiculous task I’d set myself. All content management systems look the same, and they all make it pretty tough to see exactly what you have, all in.
The method I’m sharing with you cut a week-long task down into an hours’-long project. Put it to work for your business blog and you can have your audit done in less than 30 minutes, easy.
There are two blogs occupying space in your brain right now: the dream blog and the practical blog.
The dream blog is the one that you would devote all of your resources to if you could. It publishes twice a day, every day, and the content is so damn good, you’re beating off guest post pitchers with a wiffle ball bat.
The practical blog is closer to what your blog is right now. It’s in lean mode. It’s what’s (almost) possible for you to actually execute along with the rest of your workload.
I want you to consider both the dreamy blog and the practical blog in this step. Ask yourself this: If you had absolutely no limitations, what sort of content would you publish to get your audience to want to start working with you?
Once you’ve got the dream mapped out, I want you to put on your ruthless hat and start pruning those ideas. Cut them back until your left with a Minimum Viable Blog. Your MVB is your blog goal, starting today.
Here are three areas I want you to think about in this step:
No matter where your website lives, you update it using what’s called a content management system. WordPress and Squarespace are both content management systems. SeeBrittWrite lives on WordPress, so I’ll be showing you how to do this there, but if you can post on Squarespace (or anywhere else), you can do this same exercise for your website, too.
First, go to the posts page. Tweak your settings so you can see as many posts as possible on one page. Here’s what mine looks like:
Now, hit print or save it as a PDF and use Adobe Reader’s highlight tool to mark it up. You do you, guys.
Once you have your document printed out (or open in a PDF reader), here’s what I want you to do:
Pretty quickly, you’ll be able to see what colors, symbols, and letters are dominating your blog—and, conversely, what’s missing. Most blogs should be striving for balance between different post types, categories, and other variables.
That’s it, guys—two steps and you’ve discovered exactly where your content holes are.
Why should you care? Because balance is important. If your content is weighed heavily toward Pinterest when you’re selling courses that focus on Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, you’re going to look like you know more about one (or care more about one) than the two others. You want to build trust and authority across your offerings, not concentrate it in one area.
If you’re looking at your content holes right now, good on you! Now, you have two options: You could shove that information in a drawer and keep trucking along with a blog that’s not selling your audience on your whole business. Or, you could do something.
I know you want your blog to be the best that it can be. That’s why I made the BLOG IDEAS WORKBOOK, so that you can start filling in the gaps in your content today and start planning your best-in-class business blog of the future.
The Workbook guides you through a monthly blog brainstorming process step-by-step. You’ll start with a prompt, come up with tons of possibilities, and then cherry-pick the best post ideas in the bunch. All in 15 minutes (but probably less).
And guess what? It’s totally free. Just type in your email address in the box below and I’ll send in straight to your inbox.