I've had some interesting conversations this week. I probably could have turned just one of the topics from these conversations into a blog post, but so many stuck out in my mind that I just had to share several.
Usually we try to give the "how-to" on how to approach your content marketing tactics, planning, or technology to move your efforts forward, but given some of what I saw and heard this week, I'm going to have to also tell you, content marketers of the world, what not to do. Because there are some things the internet wants you to think are smart and cool, but won't actually help you win in the world of content marketing.
Here are four things that should not be part of your content marketing planning or arsenal of tactics.
To be a content marketing winner, you should never:
1. Create content with the singular purpose of making it 'go viral'
Everyone has seen it: videos with dancing cats that make you laugh 'til you cry, or even stuff created by big brands like Volkswagen with its 'Fun Theory' video, "Piano Stairs," that now has more than 22 million views on YouTube. The surprising thing about content that goes viral is that it is almost always just as surprising for the people who created it.
So what's the likelihood that your content will go viral? Slim. And if you are marketing in the B2B world, it's even less likely that millions of people are going to have some extreme emotional reaction to whatever you've come up with. It's very hard to predict; even harder to control.
Instead, you should stick to things you can control.
Decide what flavor of content marketer you are, define your goals clearly, and create a plan, then develop quality, educational content and continue to watch and test what your audience engages with so you can feed them more of it. If they continue to engage, and become leads, and then they buy services from your company, you'll be a marketing winner.
So unless you are a huge ad agency person and your endgame really is to create content that goes viral, focus on creating remarkable content that achieves your specific goals.
2. Think that one type of content is the BEST type of content
You might be a huge fan of the infographic, but the fact is that 65% - 80% of us describe ourselves as visual learners. But then again, that's not everyone - I, for instance, am a reader. I read everything. I never click on videos, even cute puppies doing adorable things or a guide for how to fix my printer when I desperately need it to work. I just don't do it.
Other people only view videos and avoid reading at all cost.
The point here is that, as a content marketer, you need to understand that regardless of your personal preference, your job is to think about your audience and offer content of all types to engage everyone.
This is where repurposing can be used to great effect.
Did you create an awesome eBook? Spin it off into a video, a blog post, and an infographic. Have a cool video? Transcribe it for me, please. Remember, I'm not likely to watch it. Ever.
3. Rush the creation of the editorial calendar
Your editorial calendar is your guide - if you just throw it together, there's really not much point in doing it.
You might feel pressure from others to get this finished ASAP so they can show it to this guy or that gal and prove that things are moving forward, but here's some news: if your content scheduling process is completely random, it's just a calendar.
Done right, it's a calendar that'll keep you aligned with your content marketing plan and/or the campaign you're currently running.
You won't be able to get people to stop pressuring you to create or revise that editorial calendar, but you can make sure you don't rush it. Stand your ground. Go back to your plan, include topics and content types that make sense for what you are focused on for the month or the quarter, and only then roll it out to those impatient people.
This is part of planning, and documented planning helps with success - in fact, the Content Marketing Institute's 2016 B2B Content Marketing Trends - North America reports that 53% of the most effective marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.
4. There's no need for panic in marketing
Seriously. Everyone gets upset when things go wrong. Some people are especially prone to panic. Understood, but there's nothing I have seen to date in marketing (and I've been doing this for quite a while) that cannot be fixed somehow.
With large, complex projects, panic makes things especially bad - some people, I've found, begin to panic even before anything happens. Planning is the arch-enemy of panic (see #3). I'm not saying you don't get to be worried or concerned about how things will go, or how you'll fix whatever it is you screwed up, but I know for certain that freaking out is not helpful.
When I have a marketing problem, I'm fond of throwing a few choice words around, and I'll embrace a cocktail to go along with that. However, I then find the best ammunition for results are: assemble a quality team, write up the plan (whether it's editorial calendar, roadmap, project plan, whatever), and attack the problem.
To be a content marketing winner, you can't simply imitate what everyone else is doing - and there are plenty of bad examples out there that won't help you achieve your goals.
If you take the time to plan your strategy, create remarkable content, and stay calm, you'll be much better equipped to win in the world of content marketing.