Content marketing: Telling Meaningful Stories

Why production time isn’t always the best way to measure content marketing effectiveness 


I solve problems and mentally write blog posts while getting gas, going on a run and sometimes while taking a shower. That, of course, happens because our brains are freed up to think about those problems and stories without artificial pressures.

That’s why some of us – me, too – wake up at 2 a.m. with ideas and solutions. Side note: Make sure to write these things down. 

I remember journalists who would think about a story’s flow all day – including while doing other work and writing other stories – and then sit down and write the thing in minutes. 

I’ve been there when clients would ask me a complicated question that I needed to ponder for a while. I told them I’d circle back later in the day. I carried on with my day, worked with a client team during an on-site content marketing training and flew home later in the day. I literally officially spend 45 minutes exclusively that day on the complicated question from earlier in the day. And 30 of those 45 minutes were me writing up a recommendation.

So that’s super efficient  and I can offer 8 opinions like that in an 8-hour workday. #Math. LOL. No, it’s not that simple. I came up with a strategic and customized answer by subconsciously mulling it over, comparing it to similar cases and evaluating it against new trends. While I could make that a step-by-step process, it just kind of ran in the background while I was actually focusing on other – slightly unrelated – things. 

It’s more free flowing than a true production environment. It’s a Knowledge environment. Not a Product enironment.

Recommendations from Christoph on further reading:

Content marketing terms explained 

Spotlight: What’s thoughtful strategy?

And don’t get me wrong, deadlines are actually a great way to get things done. That’s one reason why I have enjoyed being on teams that produce fantastic and creative events. The event is a non-negotiable deadline. The event will happen at the time it’s a scheduled for. People will show up, etc., etc.

And certainly, if your job is to write blog posts for clients as a writer, in theory, you can make more money by writing more blog posts. That obviously means the quicker you write them, the more you can write. But that doesn’t translate as nicely or easily as that sounded. 

Recommendations from Christoph on further reading:

When and why to stop vetting stories

Storytelling is scalable

All kinds of people (dare we call them writers) can write general blog posts in moments. But they won’t help any clients stand out or make an impact. So efficiency doesn’t equal effectiveness. 

And when we hire partners, we want effectiveness. Sometimes effectiveness costs more than efficiency. 

This really hit me the other day that we get what we pay for when I was shopping for speaking outfits.  I want to wear more vests when keynoting and had ordered some vests from Amazon. I love Amazon but the vests were what I should have expected for the cheaper price. Men’s Wearhouse had much nicer vests but they were also more expensive. You get what you pay for. I now will wear the Men’s Wearhouse ones. Ultimately, I wasted some money because I bought the cheaper ones first. I got what I paid for and now I had to buy vests twice. 

On the other hand, some of my most well-received blog posts took me under 30 minutes to write. Some of my highest-effort ones took hours but were far less effective. 

So input doesn’t always equal output. And being efficient or not so efficient also doesn’t equal effectiveness. 

The basics that  actually help content marketing initiatives be successful are:

  • The basic understanding of audience, interests and unique stories.
  • The drive to not stop. 
  • The willingness and knowledge to be good at politics. 
  • The willingness to stand by something. Your story, for example. 
  • The drive to reach our audiences wherever they are and without being annoying. 

There are likely other items we can add to this list and it will certainly evolve, but you probably get the point. 

Content marketing is part art, part science and part stamina and determination.

I’m all for being efficient but I also want to be effective. Sometimes that takes longer and sometimes we need to solve the problem subconsciously over a few hours while doing something else.

Who said this would be simple, right? 

Email me here now to send me your complex question to mull over today. 


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Christoph

Christoph blogs on The Authentic Storytelling Project and is a globally recognized content marketing expert. The IMA named him Internet Marketer of the Year in 2015. He works with healthcare organizations and other brands around the globe.

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