What’s the best story you’ve ever told?
Is that the one your friends would pick? Your customers?
I’ve been publishing online for over a decade. You know what’s still missing?
Digital Asset Management (DAM).
There are thousands of articles out there about reviewing the data to see what content gets the most traffic, the most likes, the most shares, comments, traction. I’ve read hundreds of them.
They all suggest a simple, data-driven approach to content strategy. “Figure out what your customers want and give them more of that.”
But the wannabe journalist in me is reminded of something I learned from Pew’s Excellence in Journalism Project some years ago.
Journalism has an obligation to make the significant interesting and relevant.
Buzzfeed can serve up more bacon pancake recipes.
Jalopnik can run more “Nice Price or Crack Pipe” stuff.
That’s giving the people what they want. And I’m all for it.
But I also want to give people what they need.
What’s the opportunity cost to the reader? What does the Buzzfeed reader miss while reading yet another pancake recipe? What does the Jalopnik reader trade for the time spent mocking another Craigslist listing?
I want to show my gearhead brothers and sisters what’s possible when they evolve beyond mod lists and time slips. I want to inspire them by sharing all the other ways being deeply engaged in an interest impacts the lives of those like them. And help them leverage those skills for massive gains.
But back to digital asset management (DAM).
Last month, I exported a list of everything on GBXM. All 750+ pieces of it.
Before I mash that up against site traffic data—to see what people want—I’m going through the list to trim the fat. Stories that never felt right in the first place. Project updates that should have run elsewhere. Stuff with broken images. That sort of thing.
I’ve moved 130 titles to the “shit-can” pile for violating The One Rule.
Feels pretty good to mow the lawn, so to speak.
Once the list is trimmed, THEN I’ll find out what was most popular. First by letting our Customer Advisory Board (aka: the focus group I mentioned the other day) offer THEIR advice. And then by using my simple content audit—a Google Spreadsheet—MY DAM—to prioritize what gets updated first.
You can’t be all things to all people.
Be something that matters to those that matter to you.