Content Marketing

What makes up a top performing piece of content?

I used to be quite active on both Medium and Quora a couple of years back. Used to write about topics related to startups, business, marketing - basically overall strategy. Saw a fair bit of traction - Top writer on Quora, Top writer on Medium for several relevant tags, 0 to 3,000+ followers on Medium in 3 months (100% organic growth - without even sharing my articles on social media and such).

Why am I having this bout of nostalgia?

I came across a blog post that was claiming to scientifically dissect what good performing blog articles look like. Articles like that are quite common.

  • The right time to tweet
  • The right time to send those emails
  • The right length of your blog post
  • The right length of the headline
  • The right format of your content

You get the drift. Follow the list and you will just get everything right.

Maybe they are right, I don’t know. But, at the risk of being a cynic, if there really was a magic method to it, it would neither be magic nor so widely available for anyone and everyone to stumble across.

I used to come across such articles repeatedly during my Medium days (and hence the nostalgia), and I followed none of them. Neither in my Medium stories, or my Quora answers. And I am certainly not unhappy with how my content performed.

Top Performing Content is Helpful. That’s it.

I had previously written about the rules you need to be mindful of while embarking on your content marketing journey, and they still apply.

Today, we are looking at our content being meaningful.

When I would write on Medium, I used to write for an audience of One - Me. I was trying to bring about some discipline and order in my life, and a set daily routine and target of having to deliver one story and one Quora answer every single morning seemed like a good idea. And it was. It helped me tremendously on both personal as well as professional level.

But while I was not focusing on writing for anyone else, I wanted to create content that would be valuable for others if they stumbled on to it somehow. So, that’s what I did. Poured my heart out. Let bare my thought process on any matter we were talking about on any given day.

Unsurprisingly, that is the same methodology I am employing for Benne’s content strategy. Hey, why mess with a good system.

Your content needs to be valuable to one person. Then to 100 others like him.

Have you run into someone who had surprisingly similar thought process as yours? Similar ideologies, may be? Same guiding set of principles?

You can think of your audience as small clusters of individuals having similar macro, and micro traits. (That’s one of the key premises behind our insights engine as well, btw.)

So, if your content is found meaningful by one person out there, chances are there exist at least a few thousand people out there your content could still reach and resonate with. Maybe tens of thousands. So, having a “total addressable market” doesn’t seem to be an issue. As long as your content is actually valuable to at least one person. Now it becomes a question of distribution.

And to distribute your content effectively, you need to understand the cluster that one person came from. How he found you, what motivates his search and browsing behavior, what social media platforms are you being found on.

That is where insight engines like Benne become meaningful. How people are coming across your content, where they are coming across it, and countless such questions. All are answered by Benne. The more you know about the post-publishing experience of your content, the better you would be able to distribute it, and the more insight you will have into the kind of future content you need to produce.

How do you use this feature?

You don’t. You get all this information and insight automatically. If there is something to be highlighted about your content, or your website in general, you’ll see the relevant information in your command center.

We can’t create great content for you, that’s a task that will always fall onto you. But what we can do is help isolate your great content so that you can create more of them. What we can do is identify up and coming contenders so that you know to be bullish on promoting and distributing them. And what we can do, is help you understand your target audience better, by helping you draw parallels between your contents’ performance and the pathways that led to them.

The best part is that while you will always have access to all this data in case you want to go spelunking, you don’t necessarily need to dive into any of it. Because Benne would analyze all these data points for you, and deliver to you actual actionable insights that you can act upon.

Have fun! And if you are struggling with your content marketing, or strategy in general, I am all but a tweet away.

That’s it for today, see you tomorrow.


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