I had an archery lesson recently. On the first round of shots, more arrows than I care to admit landed in the grass before the target. On the next few rounds I was hitting the board the target was on, but not the target itself. Soon I started hitting the outer circles of the target and very occasionally, the bullseye. I was making progress.
It took a while before I got any clusters. When I did they were in the middle at the top. I started lowering my aim and as the instructor predicted, I was soon landing the arrows in a cluster closer to the middle of the target.
What relevance does this have other than me sharing my weekend pursuits? Well since joining GatherContent as their content strategist in March, I’ve been learning a lot. Content Strategy involves many things. Research, planning, data, writing, managing, maintaining, numbers, words, and just as importantly, trying new things.
We’ve done the groundwork. I understand our audiences, we have data informed personas, the use cases and customer journeys are mapped out, we know our personality and tone well enough to be authentic and consistent, we talk to customers and we keep reviewing, refining and learning.
So when it comes to the actual content production, I’m confident in many of the decisions I make. I know the audience that will value our new guide about content strategy for UX designers, for example. I can put an effective distribution plan together for our guide on managing digital projects. But there are some areas where I’m firing arrows without much experience or practice.
The blog content is always interesting for example. I commission guest posts based on several criteria, the topic and how it fits with our strategy, the appeal to our audience, the advice and learnings it offers and how it fits with other content on the blog. But there’s never any guarantee that any posts will hit the bullseye in terms of social shares, views, feedback, lead generation, marketing site visits and any other metrics linked to traffic from our blog.
I always assumed that our interviews would be some of the most popular content we publish. The bullseye or at the very least, the red circle around the sought after yellow dot. A content audit of the blog taught me otherwise. My assumptions were squashed and immediately replaced with insights.
The audit allowed me to see the clusters, in this case, topics, and learn about what worked and what didn’t. I could then make informed decisions for future blog content, commissioning articles that are more likely to be well received, to hit or be near to the bullseye.
That learning results in informed decisions and that results in fewer misses and more bullseyes. So what do your clusters tell you? I definitely encourage you to find out at the nearest opportunity.