You did it. You built a solid hub of corporate content.
But now what? You've got a well-planned behemoth of a content machine, but is it sustainable? Will it thrive? Will it survive a year, two years, five years later? Or a few months, even?
Unless all the sweat equity you put into building it continues at the same intensity and pace after it's built, likely not.
Fact is, your blog is destined for a sad end if it's not carefully nurtured and fed engaging content that changes with its readership. It takes more time, attention, and resources than it took to build it. It demands a long-term strategy and an invested team. And without those things, you'll destroy the very thing you worked so long and hard to create.
Here's what happens when a good blog goes bad, and gets killed before it gets a fighting chance to thrive.
Day 25: All that text got boring
You had the best intentions for a thriving site, but somehow those intentions fell flat. You exhausted your first two weeks of the content calendar—and the site looked pretty good. You had a healthy mix of text balanced with graphics, video, audio, and images. But, in four weeks, you found yourself in a pinch.
The need for content grew as your capacity to produce it shrank. The graphics and videos were crushing it, but they also took the most time. Things started to pile up, and you got desperate, so you cranked out posts faster.
Quantity surged at the expense of quality until the site was filled with heaps of boring posts that you whipped up in 15 minutes apiece. And nobody—not you nor your readers—really cared about them.
How to save it: Breathe fresh air and new purpose into the content calendar by adding multimedia back in it. Plan evergreen content in advance (far in advance) to ensure that you have the right resources and bandwidth to produce it. Stretch text-based pieces into visual-rich ones. Experiment with new content formats and series—take a cue from Serial's success to launch podcasts, for example—and identify more efficient and templated ways to create videos, infographics, and galleries for a steady flow without sacrificing quality.
Day 50: The well of ideas ran empty
It's hard to keep content fresh when you've been writing about the same things for weeks. After a while, no matter how hard you try, topics blur together. It becomes the same old thing masquerading under repackaged headlines, images, or structure.
That's what happens when the well of ideas runs dry, and repurposing goes too far.
Once filled with good discourse and innovative ideas, your content brainstorms and editorial teams become stagnant. People aren't throwing out new ideas, and if they are, they're getting rebuffed by someone else in the room who says, "We already did that."
Your beloved content machine has become a groaning, slow-turning mill.
How to save it: Dig deeper into the well. When you do, you'll find new perspectives and characters and voices and contexts that change the ideas you previously considered overdone and overworked.
And, sure, if the same topic has been covered repeatedly, chewed up, and reused until it loses its flavor—let it rest. But that's not how things usually work. Topics evolve. News breaks. Circumstances change. Feelings shift. Account for those moving pieces with your content planning.
If you've extensively covered Topic A, dig deeper. Ask yourself how the changing world has changed the topic—and tap the well for more ideas.
But it's not just about digging further into the same well. Find new wells in new places with new topics and stories. Identify how people's lives are changing, how the brand is changing, how the world is changing, and do everything you can to keep pace.
Day 75: The audience lost interest
Things are getting really quiet. The comments and likes—once ample—have died down, as your blog may soon be doing. The analytics have dwindled, and if you could ask your former readers why they stopped coming, they'd probably say, "Meh, there wasn't really anything for me anymore."
They don't feel engaged, and why would they? Maybe you never asked them what they wanted. Or, worse, you never really knew them anyway—what their interests were, where they lived and what time of day they visited your site.
And now that you're just giving them heaps of text with no interesting variety, they're peacing out.
How to save it: There are two ways to resuscitate a dying readership. One, focus on current readers: Run the analytics on your audience—then and now. Find out who they are and what they're into. Poll them periodically. Invite them to engage on the site by posing more open-ended questions and controversial issues that spark discussion, and create content that fits their needs.
Second, recruit new readers by inviting new voices through guest contributions. If those guest bloggers themselves have active readerships, and if the blog now features engaging content suited for them, there's a chance you'll attract those eyeballs, too.
Day 100: Your team lost interest
Well, you had a fun run. Despite a few bumps in the road, you had begun to steer a course for the better, but then your team checked out. They no longer felt invested in the blog, and the pizazz of content creation lost its sheen. People who were once über-excited kept saying they'd write "soon," but "soon" turned into days and weeks and months.
Can you blame them? By now, the blog's practically a ghost town—so of course the team lost interest. There's nothing in it for them, and they've got more important things to do than waste time creating content that only their mom will read.
How to save it: No, it's not too late... but to re-engage your content creators, you have to reignite the passion felt at the blog's genesis. Go back to the beginning: Why did we start this? What was our purpose? What did we really want to get out of it? Why were we excited? How did we let that excitement die?
But nostalgia alone won't do it. There's got to be some quid pro quo—like the chance to author a piece that goes viral or giving them more exposure to executive leadership. Find out what motivates your team, and offer them that.
And ,if all else fails, enforce accountability. Put a recurring meeting maker on their calendars—titled "Joe's Blog Week." After all, it's hard to push it off when it's right there.
There is an afterlife for dead content
So maybe you did kill the thing. For whatever reason beyond your control—concerns of budget, compliance, or something else altogether—your blog is dead. But that doesn't mean that all of the effort put into it dies, too.
Give new life to the fruits of your labor by repurposing the content in new ways. Maybe one blog died, but a newer and more sustainable content program was born of its strategy, components, and lessons learned.
And in this, the Ironborn adage holds true: "What is dead may never die, but rises again, harder and stronger."
Just don't kill the next iteration, too.
Take the first step (it's free).
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