Why make changes to your content when your content is already perfect?
When you start making your first ever piece of content, you feel pumped and on the edge of your seat. You put it all together, look at it, nod your head, and think, “yeah!” with a cheeky grin. People are going to love it! People are going to love you! You’re ready to publish it. You publish it. It’s published! Then you sit back and deeply smell the air. But then you get even more excited and try to get it across to as many people as you can, on several different platforms. You spread it in hope that the whole world will see it. And love it!
The haunted house effect
That cliché of a haunted house: dark, quiet and spooky. Nobody there, or perhaps somebody? That state of confusion and the feeling of irrational fear. The same feeling you get when you see how little your content is being shared or even liked. Not even a single comment. Blank. Just like the haunted house: dark, quiet and spooky. You then wonder, who actually got to see your content, who liked it without ‘liking’ it, and what if somebody didn’t like it?
When I published my first piece of content(a video on YouTube), I was surprised by how unpopular it was. I thought it would be a hit, a sensation, a viral masterpiece. There were many views but very few likes, and even less shares. The views themselves may have been accidental, like when your out-of-date satnav leads you down a dirt road and into a forest. And even into the lake, some viewers might have thought looking at the shockingly awful piece of content before their eyes.
Just needs a lick of paint
So what do you do when you get knocked down? Get back up on your feet! So I rolled up my sleeves, cracked my knuckles and made some improvements. Hence, I tampered with transitions, coloured the subtitles, added a few pictures, changed the camera angles, used a better camera with better sound. Now it was perfect. Yes, it was perfect. When I published it, I was pumped.
Less views, less likes, less shares…
If the facts don’t fit the theory, change the facts.
– Albert Einstein
If you keep crying over the same spilt milk, change the milk.
– Rob Wolff
So what went wrong? Everything was much better! Now it was perfect. I started making more improvements and published the next piece which turned out to be even more disappointing. Then it dawned on me. Maybe it’s not the quality or the effects, but rather it’s the actual content itself. So what I did is put myself in the audiences’ shoes. I sat there and watched my own video the whole way through and I asked myself, do I like this video because I like myself or do I actually really like this video?
So I watched it again and asked myself, is this video really worth sharing and would I really want to share this, personally, with other people. Simply put, no. It wasn’t the sound and video quality or the effects. It was the content. What I actually presented in the video was average. What I said and what I did was, if anything, just about good enough for 10 seconds on Snapchat – and never to be seen again.
Change the milk
So now I’m doing my research. I’m asking people for their thoughts on my content, what gets a thumbs up and what needs changing. Now I won’t be building an audience based on my content, but rather I’ll be building my content based on the audience. I’ll be tracking what my audience like, and what they don’t. What gets shared and what gets blanked. I’ll be tracking the sharability using various forms of data analytics and observing on which platforms the content gains the most attention.
By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the bitterest.
Why make changes to your content when it’s already perfect?
So I’ve come to realise that my content wasn’t perfect and I’ve thought long and hard about my next piece of content: what to change and what to keep, what my audience really want to see, and what they don’t. I’ve been watching other similar competing videos in my niche, and now I’ve got a much better idea about what looks good and what makes me cringe. I’m going to imitate those impressive tactics and watch out for what to avoid. Most importantly, I’m going to change what doesn’t work for me and my audience. I’ve learnt that the hard way. I won’t be stepping into any haunted houses anymore – that was bitter.