Improve Your Content: Lessons From A Three Year Old

content marketingOut of my four children, I think it’s my third born, who just turned 3, who has the most potential as a writer. Really, I’m quite proud.

How do I know this about her? It’s simple, really. She’s the only one who has written on our walls. In purple Sharpie, no less. Can’t fault her taste, right?

But in all seriousness, living with four small people teaches me lessons regularly. And when I’m smart enough to hush up and pay attention, it’s remarkable what I manage to learn, in spite of myself.

It’s easy to get caught up in all of the nifty tools for analyzing how to improve your content. Maybe you’re hooked on Google Analytics (I’m sure there’s an intervention program out there for that). Or perhaps you find yourself compulsively checking TrendSpottr to see how your latest post is doing. (Don’t ask me how I know you do that.)

But oftentimes, the best analysis is much, much easier.

For me, it came after my 3-year-old created her first joke the other day.

Izzy:  Knock-knock.

Me:  Who’s there?

Izzy:  Waterfall.

Me: Waterfall-who?

Izzy:  Oh no, the water falled!

I laughed – not just the polite mom laugh for the not so funny jokes, but because it was actually kinda clever for a just-turned-3-year old! And then she tried it with other combinations of words.  Like, “computer fall,”  “chair fall,” etc., which didn’t get the same effect, so she went back to “waterfall,” and she had me cracking up again.

My point isn’t just that I think my sweet girl is incredibly clever, though I do. Izzy clearly noticed that her first variation got the response she wanted. I laughed a real laugh. So what did she do?  She created variations on what worked and evaluated my response again.

When people comment on your content, whether on your website, your You Tube channel, or other social media postings, do you ever come back to it after leaving your initial responses? (You are engaging with the people who comment, right?)

It’s easy to miss the forest for the trees, as it were. If you don’t ever come back to look at the patterns, noting what your audience likes, you may well have your content marketing plan all mapped out, but it might not be what your followers see as valuable.

I can hear you now, “But what if I don’t have any commenters? What if I’m new? What if I don’t have enough traffic to see what my audience wants?” No problem – you still have a secret weapon to discover what your soon-growing audience wants to hear.

Ready for this? It’s your competitors’ sites!

Go to some of the top sites in your niche and evaluate their blog content, Facebook posts, and any other social activity.  If you’re not already following them, you should be, not just for research, but for networking. Competition is your friend – it tells you there’s a market in your niche.

Go seek out their most commented upon posts. Do not copy them!!!

Whether you’re looking at your own content or someone else’s, look for the information that you won’t get from Google Analytics.

Checklist: How To Improve Your Content

  • Take the time to see what aspects of the content sparked the most interest via likes, shares, and especially comments.  If you’re looking at shares, look at who shared it and see if they included any preliminary comments.
  • What did people agree with the most?
  • What was the most contentious part of the post?
  • What would have made the content stronger?
  • (Evaluating someone else’s content) – do you have examples from your own business or life that supports the author’s ideas? Or – do your real life examples contradict the main idea of the content?

What have you learned about your audience through reevaluating their feedback?  Leave a comment below!

13 comments

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  2. I call it R & D – Rob and Duplicate! Best trick in the book! My kids are 16 and 19 and I’m still trying to figure out the punchline of Izzy’s joke – go figure. Great information you shared. I love when people weave personal stories into their posts. Makes for better reading and a feel that you “know” the person a bit more. Thanks for sharing this!
    Laurie Hurley recently posted..The Zen of Being A Social Media NewbieMy Profile

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  4. Laurie –

    Thanks for your comment!

    Izzy’s a funny kid – but the thought of anything “falling” prompts an “oh-no!” kind of response from her. Probably connected to the fact that she still has toddler/preschool coordination and falls more often than our 2 older kids do. :)

    Love your R&D abbreviation! It is so easy, in our quest to be unique, to forget that other people’s content and other peoples comments are some of the best places to start our research.

    And in fact – it’s adding in those personal stories that connect us to customers/prospects, as well as make our content ours. You could, in theory, take this very same article, take out the stories about my 3 year old, put in your own stories, and I wouldn’t recognize it as my own. Because by infusing your stories, you’ve made it yours. :)

    Again – thanks for the feedback!
    Pauline Magnusson recently posted..How to Improve Your Content? Read my Guest Post!My Profile

    • Diana – I’ve found that if I’m having a hard time coming up with ideas, there are two things I need to do more of. One is reading in my field. When I’m not making time to “sharpen the saw,” as the late Dr. Stephen Covey called it, I won’t be as effective.

      And the other thing that fuels my creativity is living and doing outside of “my field.” Getting out and living life is a great way to cross pollinate ideas and make them grow in amazing new ways. :)

      Look forward to seeing your posts, too!
      Pauline recently posted..How to Improve Your Content? Read my Guest Post!My Profile

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  6. I really enjoyed reading your post and its great that you are able to relate our everyday interactions with our families to our work. I totally agree that we should be attentive to what people like and make variations. This can really help in our writing content. Thanks!