How to win with digital content

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There is a huge misconception in the business world that I feel obligated to challenge—or just downright destroy. It’s a myth that isn’t so much spoken or even believed, but one that’s lived out daily, monthly and yearly. And it’s costing companies millions of dollars.

What is this tragic lack of knowledge? It’s what I like to call, “We already did that.”

Focused and targeted content, which is the intentional communication of your message to your audience, is the single most powerful way to build a client base, generate leads and ultimately grow your business. Most companies I see don’t do focused content well. Instead, they spend a lot of money on generic content designed to do nothing more than show they posted something. Or there are some companies and brands that put out great, engaging content for a while… then stop. 

And then there are the companies that win, those that are constantly putting out new and engaging content. They are constantly communicating their brand message to their audience.

It’s this second group—the ones who do it right for a while and then stop—I want to focus on. Why? Because the first group doesn’t understand digital communications at all and the last group gets it completely, but it’s this large section in the middle that is trying and wanting to win, yet doesn’t understand why they are still failing.

The reason is actually very simple. Typically, these companies have at some point invested time, money and resources into creating some type of digital content, be that photos, videos, graphics, blog posts, podcasts, etc. And likely that content started to generate traffic, which generated leads, which generated sales. They were communicating to their market and everything seemed to be going great… until it wasn’t. The problem is that these companies fail to realize that even strong digital content has a life span—a time when it’s relevant, new and can be effective. 

See, all media eventually runs its course. No single video or photo or blog post can be the end-all, be-all of your content. You can’t expect a video you put out to get 1,000 views on its first day and also 1,000 views a day one year later. Digital content operates on a curve. The longer it’s out there, the slower it becomes absorbed, viewed, engaged with and seen. In short, after a while, its life as “effective content” comes to an end. It’s dead air, silence. And new content needs to take its place to continue the communication. 

However, the companies that fail to realize this try to use the same video for years and years (or even months and months). They take a single photo of a product and never go back to take new photos in new contexts. They write one blog post on a subject and then consider it “covered for all time.” 

Sorry, but you’re going to fail with that strategy. We understand this concept as human beings, though we don’t think about it. Digital content doesn’t last. It’s like brushing your teeth—you can’t just do it once. You have to do it constantly and consistently. Another way to look at it is like working out. Sure you can workout once or twice, or even for a month. You’ll start to feel and look better, but if you suddenly stop, you can’t expect the same results as when you were lifting weights or running every day.

Or take movies—first it’s in the movie theater, then it gets shifted to being sold as a DVD or digital movie, and eventually it hits the sale bin at Walmart for $3.99. You wouldn’t expect a Marvel movie that opened with a $10 million first week to be able to sustain that number indefinitely. That would be crazy. We understand that at a certain point those who are going to watch that Marvel movie will have done so, and then the world moves on. 

Content for your company isn’t any different. It’s just on a smaller scale. 

In short, remember: Just because you made it two months ago, two weeks ago or two days ago, that can’t be where you stop. Coke didn’t stop after one magazine ad, Apple didn’t stop after it made its first video, and you certainly can’t stop just because you “already did that.” 

You can’t water a plant just once and expect it to keep growing. You can’t fuel your business once and keep expecting it to run. You have to keep filling its digital tank.