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From the Trenches

4 Things I Saw Content Marketers Do This Week — That You Shouldn’t

Yvonne Lyons | September 16, 2016
4 Things I Saw Content Marketers Do This Week — That You Shouldn’t

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 world 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 from my week 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 surprising for the people who created it.

So the likelihood that your content will go viral? Slim. And if you are marketing in the B2B world, probably 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.

Stick to things you can control. Decide what flavor content marketer you are, define 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 buy services from your company, you will 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 goals.

2. Think that one type of content is the BEST type of content. You might be a huge fan of the infographic. In fact, 65% – 80% of us describe ourselves as visual learners. But not everyone is a visual learner. 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. (In fact, they probably won’t even read this blog post.) I get that. My point is, 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. Enter: repurposing. Did you create an awesome eBook? Congrats. Spin off 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 is some news: If this is completely random, it’s just a calendar. Done right, it is a calendar that keeps you aligned with your content marketing plan and/or the campaign you are 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 percent of the most effective marketers have a documented content marketing strategy.

4. There is no need for panic in marketing. Seriously. Everyone gets upset when things go wrong. Some people are especially prone to panic. Understood. But there is 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 archenemy 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 will 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 am fond of throwing a few choice words around, and I will 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 — as you can see from the conversations I had this week, 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.

Need some resources to get you moving with that calendar or planning? We’ve got them. Have more questions or find yourself in a panic? Get in touch.

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About Yvonne Lyons:

Yvonne Lyons is Right Source’s vice president of creative services, overseeing content and design for all of our clients. She ensures that all creative produced at Right Source is of the highest quality and is aligned with our clients’ business strategy and goals. Yvonne received a bachelor’s degree from the Johns Hopkins University in writing and literature and has more than 20 years of experience in marketing, branding, and communications.