Changing Your Content Mix

Italian meal

Your content is a product that gets shipped. With that in light, you should adjust the course as time goes on to keep it fresh and relevant.

Do you use your blog and online outposts to test and experiment? How do you know you're getting results – or not – from your activities? Did you develop a plan and then measure against your goals?

How I do content

Over the last couple of years, I've been testing my own theories, that is walking my talk here at Conversation Agent and in other social network outposts. Many of you have already remarked in more than one occasion that I'm quite prolific. I can do that because I have a vision, and a plan.

Reviewing some of the activities in that plan:

  • this blog archives 1,382 posts written over 4.5 years, and about 9,000 of your comments. That's a lot of free content when consumed daily. Yet only I, and a few determined scrapers, which I'll discuss at the end, know where it is and what it's about. The more popular series of posts have been those on content strategy, followed by case studies, and conversations
  • shared 3-5 posts authored by other writers/practitioners daily for 18+ months on Twitter — you can find more information about what I discovered after about one year on the Twitter  @ConversationAge effect; the trend has spiked upward since then to include an additional 67,000 clicks on the shortened URL of just 3 posts shared/day
  • sharing doesn't stop on Twitter, I also use Google Reader to share links with my network there and on FriendFeed. I wrote about how I use Google Reader
  • then there is the Facebook page for Conversation Agent, where I share many of the posts, not all, and add original commentary and discussions. That part of the integrated plan is still taking shape, so look for new activities there soon
  • by far your favorite part of my mix, in addition to the spontaneity and network on the Facebook page, which is really branching out, are my slide decks. I wrote about textbook content marketing on SlideShare
  • I've also done a fair number of podcasts, including many BlogTalk radio shows, which you can select on the blog's sidebar, or conveniently on this page created for you
  • for multimedia content, I've relied on my other site, which will undergo a transformation in coming weeks. It will make more sense, then

You see how my existing content mix includes a lot of the content from the community, integrated with my own curation and facilitated conversation. It has grown very organically, and hopefully has been very useful to you.

In part due to the sheer number of sites that have began scraping this content at an accelerated pace (e.g., the first response had "bemused" as emoticon), and mostly due to a focus on creating a better mix that takes into consideration content usefulness and convenience, as I learned from your interactions across outposts, I will make several changes in coming weeks.

I will still publish fresh and free content here. More conversations, books and tools reviews, and will add my own take on industry changes, campaigns, who's doing good work and why. There will be new elements in the mix, which I know you will enjoy – some will be free, some won't.

Thank you for reading, for your great comments, on which I plan to build more conversations, and look for an update on what's available in coming weeks. Your time and attention are precious to me, and so is your take.

Do you evaluate your content mix periodically? Is that a useful exercise? How many of your changes are due to customer feedback? Do you see your plan through before making those changes to verify with facts?

[to me, content is like a good Italian meal, an excuse to be social, learn, have fun]

0 responses to “Changing Your Content Mix”

  1. Valeria, I’ve been trying to mix up the content, usually within one post – e.g. use a photo and video sometimes, though not always. I haven’t experimented too much with audio and podcasts and that’s something that I’d like to try more of. Now that my blog is 2 years and 1 day old (!), it’s going to try to start walking instead of crawling.
    What I personally like the most about your posts is that though they are usually long in terms of word count, they are extremely readable. A lot of bloggers of your caliber are extremely unreadable, IMHO, because of the words they use (or don’t use), not to mention their posts looking really scrunched. I don’t find that with CA at all. Thank you for that as well as the tremendous content you so generously create and share.

  2. I am constantly considering the content mix, though it’s not always my call in determining what goes live on the sites. Often, the pool of possible stories to run isn’t as diverse as I would like.
    All of our sites are interested in cultivating a global audience through the curation of relevant stories which enable the discovery of similarities on a personal level.
    An example: Our Rally site. The ideal mix is one which features individuals in various roles from all over the world. Skoda drivers in the UK. Organizers in Mexico. Toyota co-drivers from South Africa. Teams here in America.
    We don’t want anyone to come across the site and think they are not welcome, but until we have a steady supply of variety in the pipeline to schedule out farther in advance, we’re somewhat limited to reflecting trends in early adopter profiles. (And thank goodness for them!)
    The common thread through your content here, and one of the big ideas that keeps me coming back, is the very personalized tone of conversation. You help us connect with other people and ideas.
    PS – Checked out that thread on Get Satisfaction. What a scandalous bunch of hacks. Alas, share your story and let Karma do her thing. 🙂

  3. This post really hit on one of my big goals for 2011. I know I need to “mix it up” but your overview of the tools and categories for content put it together in a way I can digest. This one is going in my “re-read in a few weeks” shampoo, rinse, repeat file. Thanks!

  4. Perfect timing Valeria!
    Just putting the finishing touches on my plan for Q1 and overall content plan for 2011. Just came on board with my company in September and launched right into writing my first blog (the company had one already, but I really ‘owned’ the content plan). We started with a pretty aggressive persona project that allowed us to create blog categories so we are writing to each type of ‘buyer’ in an effort to help. I am really excited that we are now posting at least 1 blog per day so feel that its a perfect time to take it to the next level.
    This year, we are going to experiment with videos and I am excited to start this Friday – stay tuned! I would love to get to the level you are at but it takes time and I have only had 3 months so far.

  5. @Shonali — I like specific feedback, thank you. To me telling someone why you like or don’t like something is a true gift. Congratulations on your two years+. A blog is a commitment of time and energy, and I’m sure you’re amazed at all the content you’ve already written and shared. Probably the product of my upbringing, to me “look” and “feel” are connected, substance needs style, too (and that is not mine, my biographer wrote that 😉
    @Brian — and maybe that’s where you start, by curating what you have, helping bubble up some of the trends, drilling further down into the common elements, just like the Ducati tribe does. Maybe even run polls, I’ve done a couple here to learn what people were interested in early on, then learned also to listen for cues through conversations. You’re on your way, so kudos for that.
    @Rosemary — so glad the timing worked out for you and your team. Reviews are good. Love your analogy.
    @Christina — indeed, it would not be fair to you to compare oranges to apples. I have a big archive here. We used buyer very defined buyer personas in my last corporate job last year to shape the editorial calendar for the blog, and matched those types to our own experts. I find that it takes a little while before it becomes a habit, and that usually there is someone who finds it easier to step up and get more into it. Looking forward to your reports on videos.

  6. Valeria, you were kind enough to post an “About You” piece on me back in November ’09. The stated goal for my blog, “to provide content and coaching for fellow architects (in order to) to advance their missions” has not changed, but the emphasis now is on building an architectural blogging community.
    As far as my content mix, in addition to my original posts, I’m using software to aggregate and curate industry specific articles on my blog.
    For distribution, I rely on Facebook and LinkedIn a good bit less, but have parlayed my Twitter time with a blog-specific account. I find this to be an optimal balance for community building.
    I will dig into your post for ideas and sites I may have overlooked.
    Continued success to you and your readers in 2011.

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