The Three Most Important Content Critics in the Universe

How, as content creators, do we find our material?  How do we know what to write and how to write it so that others will read it?  Which posts will be “liked” and “shared” and which will get you “unfriended?”  Certainly, there are many different answers to these questions and, goodness knows I am still searching as well.  But, I am excited to say, I have found the three most important content advisors to help in this quest.  You, you and you.  Actually, after re-reading and editing this content (hint, hint), it’s better if you read it reflexively and then it becomes, “me, myself and I!”  It’s all about perspective, right?

That brings me to my main point.  Whose perspective matters?  Ultimately, the reader’s but we usually don’t know the reader personally, do we?  So, the only thing we can do is look from someone’s perspective who we do know – us.  We can both judge for ourselves what is good and what it not and also put ourselves in the reader’s shoes (or whatever they are wearing or not wearing while at their computer).

This sounds simple (maybe even too simple) but, how often do we actually do it in a formal manner?  Sure, we think we have a sense of where we like to go and what we enjoy reading on the web but, if you take one or two days to really analyze your personal preferences, you come up with some great (and sometimes surprising) insights.

overlord - photography by Steve O'Bryan

Photo by Steve O’Bryan

The 4 Steps of Self Content Strategy Audit

Here are some steps to take:

1.  Track your website visits.  Don’t worry if you miss a few but try to take down the names of all the sites on which you landed during the course of 24 hours.

2.  Track your blog posts.  I don’t mean the ones you write but, the ones you choose to read. Make a note of what they were about, their tone, their content, their length, if you read them all the way through and anything else that stood out to you.

3. Track your social media travels.  No, you don’t need to list the time of each visit but, get a sense of how often you really look at Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram etc. during the course of the day.  Also make a note of around when you tend to look at each, what catches your eye, what you click through to, and what you “like,” “share”, etc.

4. Be hyper-analytical about everything.  Pay extra close attention to anything that might catch your eye.  If you glanced an ad that led you to something else, take note.  If an email led you to a webpage, think about why.  Keep track of anything you may think is valuable to use later when creating your own content.

I know this sounds involved and yes, I do suggest creating a spreadsheet or other means to organize this information.  However, this is analytics you can easily do yourself because it is only three people that you are tracking – me, myself and I and…it’s only one day (two if you have the time).  I’d love to hear what you find out about sites you didn’t realize you actually spent more than 30 minutes on, times of day you think are best to update Facebook, reasons you read posts through all the way to the end, how often you click on links you would tell other people are stupid but really grab your attention, whether you look at more comedy than politics even though you thought the opposite was true or any other interesting and/or embarrassing thing you find out about your online habits.  I’d also really like to know how you implement what you find in your next piece of content.

Ultimately, your website is your passion and so your readers are probably pretty much similar to you in their tastes.  So, if you write what you would want to read and post it when and where you want to read it, your customers will likely read it too.