Top 5 Things I Learned About Writing Content In 2011

Every year I like to reflect and assess what is working in my life and what isn’t. These are the five things that came up for me during 2011, when it came to creating content in my business. Maybe you can identify with some of these.

1. Statistics Can Be Addictive

In 2010 my husband was obsessed with his Blackberry and in 2011 he moved on to an iPhone. I think he may be even worse now. He is addicted to his apps the way I am addicted to my “stats”. Keeping an eye on your content statistics such as blog article views and article directory views can really get addictive especially when you have a period of high traffic and then see the inevitable dip in traffic. Not only that, if you get really obsessed, you start to rework your article ideas around what you believe the stats are telling you. Not good.

Okay, even though it does make sense to give your audience more of what they want, there has to be boundaries around how much time you give this — and I didn’t have too many boundaries. I analyze stats like some of you run down your entire day on Twitter. So what is it I learned? That I need to chill with the stats looky-loo. In 2012 it’s all about monthly stats watching instead of daily for me. I’ve got other things to do!

2. Consistency Is Critical

Well, the one good thing that came out of my obsessive statistic watching is that it did reinforce the fact that consistently publishing content totally affected my overall statistics for my blog, in the article directories, and with Alexa.com. The more I published, the better my stats, period.

3. Content Needs Space To Breathe

I decided to play around with the length of my articles in 2011 because while I had always stuck to a 400-500 word formula, I wanted to see how those would do when compared against article shorts (150ish words) and longer articles (800-1000 words). What I discovered is that if I broke up the content in the longer articles and included enough white space in between paragraphs – that they fared just as well.

The key seems to be for most people reading articles on the web is that they need white space to break up the type in order to stick to reading articles all the way through. It makes total sense, especially now that we know statistically that most content is being read on mobile devices.

4. Content Needs To Be Shared Via Social Media

Sharing content via social media has only grown in 2011 and what I did somewhat casually in 2010 became a “must do” activity over the last year and is only growing in importance in 2012. As  you probably have noticed, social media is no longer that thing that only the cool kids participate in, now it’s a global force. Everybody is doing it.

Businesses are spending big bucks on their social media branding because it’s that important. And honestly, new kids on the block have it so easy! Social media sites give entrepreneurs a HUGE advantage when it comes to getting their content in front of many more eyes than was possible pre-social media days.

Finally, search engines are considering your social media footprint  when ranking your content. Look at it this way, if folks are talking about you (in social media) then you get better ranking. If they aren’t – you may have to stand in line behind a few of the more popular folks in your niche!

5. Content Resistance Is Futile!

This realization is not so much about me as it is about many of the members of my community. Many of my article marketing students #1 complaint is that they have no idea what to write and so it takes them a very long time to write one article. This creates a resistant mindset when it comes to creating content which can break what little confidence you may have had in your ability to write.

I think it’s important to understand that if you are really struggling to write content that your ideal clients would love to consume, then there may be a bigger issue at play, and that is that you are NOT 100% clear about what your message is. If you were, it shouldn’t take 3, 4, 5 hours to write one Top Ten list or a few how-to tips. You might be saying “well that’s not me”, but ask yourself when was the last time you produced some content? Was it today? Last week? Last month?

In conclusion, it’s time to get honest with yourself. What have you learned about your content this year? Take a look at your content production pattern. Are you creating content enough to attract new clients consistently? Are you sharing it in social media? What can you do to improve your content for 2012?

 

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