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Stop fearing failure and be brave in your content marketing program
Failure isn't always a bad thing. Columnist Rachel Lindteigen says that by looking at what didn't work, you can learn more about your customers and gain a better perspective for future content.
While no one sets out to fail at something, it seems the fear of failure is hindering some in their content marketing efforts.
I had the opportunity to speak at SMX London last week, and it was wonderful. I had the chance to talk with SEOs and content marketers from all across Europe and hear their perspective on what’s happening within our industry.
After several conversations, it became apparent that a lot of people are worried about failure. But in all honesty, I don’t see failure as the worst possible outcome for a piece of content.
Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Failure isn’t the worst thing that can happen?
I don’t think so. When you fail, it gives you the chance to look at your content again — maybe with a new perspective — and hopefully, you’ll figure out what went wrong, and next time you’ll be more successful.
So you created this great content marketing piece, and sadly, it fell flat and didn’t perform as expected. What do you do?
Review your content piece that didn’t work
- Who is it targeting?
- Is it answering their question(s)?
- Is there anything unique about your piece?
- What imagery is associated with it? Is it captivating?
- Why do you think it failed?
Once you’ve looked at the piece honestly, and you have some thoughts as to why it didn’t work, you can start to look for ways to improve and move forward. If the piece had great content, but there were no visuals or they were boring (i.e., stock photos), that may have been part of the issue.
It’s possible that if you repurpose the main content with better, more engaging images, you might be more successful. If the content was written too technically or above the average target audience member, you might benefit from a rewrite and refresh, so the content speaks more directly to your target audience rather than at or above them.
If your content is honestly just “okay” and not something special or unique, that might be the issue. Readers will engage with content that’s worth engaging with. If yours isn’t, they’ll skip over it.
Once you’ve reviewed the piece that didn’t work, and you honestly believe you’ve identified why it didn’t resonate, you can address the issues and try to distribute it again (if it’s worth trying). You may need to adjust your distribution plans or provide extra support for content amplification, but if what you’ve written initially is worth sharing, it’s worth trying again.
Make your content better
Now, if what you wrote originally really wasn’t good and the results were probably to be expected, push to provide better content in the future. Review the lackluster piece with your team, and answer the questions above and the following ones:
- Who are you targeting with this piece?
- What information do they need to know?
- Why do they want to read your content?
- What is your goal for the piece you’re creating?
- What is the reader’s goal?
I’m sure there are more questions you can think about answering once you begin brainstorming, but you see the pattern. Think about your consumers, and help answer the questions they have.
Often when content fails, it’s because we’ve spent too much time trying to craft the “perfect” piece, and we’ve forgotten about the audience.
I think some in the industry are trying to make content marketing out to be super-complex, and the way I see it, it’s really pretty simple: Tell great stories to people who are interested in them. If you provide great information, your audience will want to consume it, and you won’t be faced with a failure.
Stop being afraid of failing. Embrace a failure as an opportunity to learn more about your program or customers, and start writing!
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.