The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo struck a chord with readers last year. Everyone from pack rats to neat freaks turned to the book to help them get their homes in order. And bloggers jumped on the decluttering bandwagon, helping people who didn't read the book get some use out of it as well. But the more I read about cleaning out my closets and desk drawers, the more I realized Marie Kondo has wisdom for content marketers as well.
Mark Twain said it best, "Don't use a five-dollar word when a fifty-cent word will do." Journalists already know this. Clear, simple prose leads to good writing. But applying Marie Kondo's advice to your content marketing endeavors, and to all your content, can take it a step further.
You can't organize your stuff until you get rid of the junk clogging up your drawers and closets. Think of your blog or website as your closet, and take a good long look at what's inside of it. Are there posts no one ever reads and are just taking up space? Get rid of them. Are their holes in your content wardrobe? Do you need a little black dress, but have too many pairs of jeans? It's time to take a content inventory and get rid of what doesn't work so you can create more content that does work! (And don't forget to reuse those old staples that do work.)
Respect Your Content
Marie Kondo wants you to respect your belongings. What's the use of having nice clothes if they're all stuffed into a crowded closet and you can't find them? If you can't find your grandmother's good china because it's buried in the basement, well, you might as well not have it at all. The same goes for your content. If you have great content but you (and your audience) can't find it, it's useless. Whether this content is hidden behind a firewall, isn't optimized to be SEO friendly, or isn't available on the platforms your users are on, you need to respect your content enough to make it findable.
Create Content that "Sparks Joy"
Marie Kondo advises people to only keep items that spark joy. A sweater you love and your favorite book can stay. Credit card statements and cords with mysterious origins have to go. Content creators can learn from this. One of the quickest ways to your potential customer's heart is to reach them emotionally. But this tip also tells us a lot about actually creating great content. Get rid of the garbage! Eschew jargon. Delete marketing speak! Get down to the real meat of the story and you will create joyful content.