What’s Your Content Cadence?

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content cadence

By Brooke Ballard, {grow} Contributing Columnist

I’m going to be 100% honest here. I’m excited as hell.

When Mark asked me to be a contributor to the {grow} blog, I excitedly ran around my house yelling (true story, ask my dog).

But as my first due date loomed, I started to turn from over-the-moon thrilled to biting-my-nails nervous.

Mark has a reputation of publishing only the BEST and most ORIGINAL content — it’s one of the biggest reasons, in my opinion, he has such clout (and Klout) in the social sphere.

So as I sharpened my storytelling skills, I started to think about the importance of cadence in writing.

What’s Content Cadence?

Cadence sets the backdrop for your story; it helps the reader better visualize the sequence of events you’re laying out.

It also helps with things like:

  • Flow: Each paragraph should build on the last and set up the next
  • Tone & Voice: Good content cadence helps the reader connect with WHO you are; it humanizes a brand, company, or business
  • Edutainment:Which is to say it checks the boxes for both education and entertainment
  • Context: HubSpot best defines this as, “delivering the right content, to the right audience, at the right time.”
  • Storytelling: Connecting this piece of content, and others, with your customers

I think these elements are extremely important to consider in content marketing because they put the consumer in the driver’s seat.

Too often we write what we want to write, or what we think our customers want to hear about, without actually thinking about the cadence of our content and how if done correctly it will draw readers in — and keep them coming back.

Content Cadence Questions

When I wrote my first post for {grow}, I’m not embarrassed to say that Mark sent it back twice for editing and rewrites. It was a good post. He helped me make it a great post.

I know he was guiding me based on what his audience expects.

What does your audience expect?

Ask yourself questions like:

  1. Who is the person I am picturing in my head as I write this?
  2. What message does my audience prefer? How can I help them?
  3. How does my audience want to consume my messaging?
  4. What topics resonate with my readers (measured by deeper engagements)?
  5. How can I analyze these components to find my best content cadence?

It’s critical you not confuse content cadence with frequency.

Frequency is more about productivity and cadence is more about your communication style.

Which brings up a few more questions about cadence you might want to address:

  • [Frequency] How many posts and/or updates can your audiences handle per day/month? Remember that each platform or channel has its own limits.
  • [Timing] When is your audience online? What are the best days and times to post? Does seasonality come into play, or are you global and unable to talk in seasons? What about trending topics?
  • [Length] How does your audience consume content? In short bursts? In long, data-driven case studies?
  • [Personality] Can you let your freak flag fly? Or do you need to stick to the facts, data, and corporate-friendly tone?

Good Content Cadence Cultivates Conversation

Look back at every piece of content you’ve produced.

Which pieces not only enticed a user to open or click, but spurred deeper engagements?

It’s no secret that our mantra at my startup is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” — and it’s why content cadence is something that will have much of my focus in 2015.

Let’s use this post as an example of my point:

  1. Who is the person I am picturing in my head as I write this?

    • Mark’s audience is vast, supporting many levels of marketing expertise (but my guess is basic, 101 stuff won’t do)
    • So I am thinking of somebody who wants to take things to the next level.
  2. What message does my audience prefer? How can I help them?
    • The {grow} audience seems to like humor, education, transparency (I tried to meet those)
    • As I write more for {grow}, I’ll be able to hone my messaging
    • Since I am an avid fan of {grow} I think if I address some of the issues I am facing it will help others in the audience, too.
  3. How does my audience want to consume my messaging?
    • For this particular question, I’m going to assume through the blog
  4. What topics resonate with my readers (measured by deeper engagements)? 
    • While shares are nice, I’ll be looking at comments, conversations, and other connections resulting from this article — this will guide me in creating future articles
  5. How can I analyze these components to find my best content cadence?
    • I’m looking for triggers: What sparks debate? Conversation? Collaboration? Community building and connection?
    • As my post analytics start to paint a picture, I’ll better understand what type of content to produce, as well as the cadence the {grow} community expects

Different channels have different cadence needs, so experimentation and testing will ultimately be my guide here at {grow}.

So, be honest.

How’d I do with my cadence and storytelling? Conversations welcome. 🙂 

See you in the social sphere!

Brooke Ballard for {grow}Brooke Ballard is an in-the-trenches digital marketer & owner at B Squared Media, blossoming blogger, and co-host of @ReadySetPodcast. Her mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on Twitter.

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