Content KPIs are killing your content – I said it.

One of my clients is a mid-size brand in the management consulting space. A lot of my work is inbound marketing for them. Simply put I do their content for emails, social handles, video scripts, ebooks, blog posts, website content – anything and everything that Hubspot says that an inbound marketing team should be doing. 

Once in a while, I do strategy too. This means I help their team with keyword searches, try to figure out how to get them to rank on Google searches organically, and so on. At the end of the day, the client is the happiest when we have notched up the required MQL numbers. 

Let’s call this client – Disco. 

At the end of one of the video scripts (outlining all the problems that an average tech company could face with strategy), I had put in a line that said – “if all of this eerily sounds like you, then maybe it’s time to Disco.”

My boss – Disco’s marketing manager said – I will check with the leadership team and tell you if we can use the brand name as a verb. I love it by the way. 

In the end, we didn’t use it. They said our brand isn’t there yet (maybe this could’ve taken it there, but we will never know I guess).

This near obsession with getting every piece of the content amount to being the holy grail on that topic is exhausting, unnecessary, and hopeless. Content KPIs – clicks, likes, pings, RTs, shares, comments – are killing content. It sucks. 

For all you know, it’s time to Disco mightn’t have made one shred of a difference to their brand. But for all you know that could have gotten the attention of somebody at one of those average tech companies who enjoyed such language! 

Content KPIs are killing spontaneous content. 

Said marketing manager also told me to remove the emojis from the text. He says – people don’t take you seriously 😫 . 

Every time a low stake (possibly high impact – we will never know) idea is thrown up, he says, let’s do an A/B test with 50 people and see what we hit. 


So what do you do? Do you totally forget content KPIs and shoot content left right center like nobody’s business? 

No. Of course not. It doesn’t have to be a “my way or highway” scenario. You know what – KPIs and creativity can co-exist – I kid you not! 

Brainstorming the **** out of the problem

Come up with as many ideas as you can. The more the people in the room, the better the ideation. Don’t worry about the categorization of the ideas or their quality. Just the number. If you’ve 4-5 people on your team, stop when you hit 120 ideas. I know that’s insane. But after the first 7 ideas per head, it gets tough. So you really have to think. 

I run a content marketing firm. So this could also be the phase where a teammate says – you know what – this isn’t working, let’s pivot the business. Yeah – this phase – go be drastic. 

Park the ideas that look too tough or don’t make sense

NEVER throw out any idea. Make a list titled “Project Name – (NOT) Ideas”. 

Then run through that list and make a star against the BRAVE ideas (like the pivot one) – those are to be thought through later. 

Think Think Think about the good ideas

Write a pager on each of the good ideas. Let your imagination go wild and see how you can hook your target with any and each of those ideas. Repeat the ditching process and see what you got left with at the end. 

Develop it more. Ask questions like – 

What if this idea doesn’t fly with the Disco team? What will make them like the idea?

What if we could make this sarcastic, self-deprecating, and hugely relatable? How do we do that? 

Deliver and Execute – This is where the KPI comes in. 


If you make content, it will make a splash in the water. It will. It always does. Just coz you didn’t see the ripples doesn’t mean the content didn’t have any impact. The objective is to keep the content coming, and coming, and coming. 

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