In 5th grade, my math teacher had this punishment (well, he called it a “game”).
It was called Think Fast. At the beginning of the year, we had to cut out construction paper numbers and keep them in an envelope on our desks.
Then, every once in a while, Mr. Teacher would saunter around the room and slowly, casually, start stringing together a math problem.
“10 … plus 4 … minus 3 … plus 20 …”
The entire room of chubby 10-year-old hands would frantically scamper, dumping out paper numbers on our desks and following along with the problem in our heads.
That’s when he would take things up a notch:
“Plus 8 minus 7 plus 18 plus 260 dividedby4timesthesquarerootof10 …”
And that’s when I would lose it.
Not because I couldn’t figure out the answer if I just listened and thought hard enough, but because it was Just. Too. STRESSFUL. So I’d give up and draw little hearts and flowers on my numbers while my classmates would sweat it out.
I’m not proud.
But that feeling of intense stress and hopelessness at trying to keep up with my peers is something I still see today – reflected in the faces of the people I meet when we have initial discussions about content marketing.
You know how it goes: It all starts out good and exciting. Content marketing is a no brainer! It helps you to be seen as an expert, and it helps bring in new business. Sold!
But as you learn more about what it takes to develop a strong content marketing strategy, it can feel like you’re falling farther and farther behind until you’ll never be able to catch up and figure out the right answer.
“Ok, we need to develop a strategy. But to develop a strategy, we need to find our ‘sweet spot.’ And to find our ‘sweet spot,’ we need to understand our target audiences. And to understand our audiences, we need to create buyer personas. And to create buyer personas …”
And that’s when marketers and business owners tend to throw up their hands and say: Forget it. Let’s just stick to the original plan.
But that’s not ok.
(Believe me; see how I’m still thinking about my 5th-grade failure 20 years later? That’s type A for you.)
So to all of you pondering a content marketing strategy for your business, I have one piece of advice:
Don’t wait for the perfect time. Don’t wait for the ultimate, completed strategy.
Content marketing is and should be a constant work in progress. And some of it you won’t be able to foresee or explore or fix until you just start.
Yes, you want to have a plan in place. But it’s perfectly fine if that plan does not include all of the bells, whistles, tools and tactics that you’d like it to include one day.
Have a plan for today, and a plan for tomorrow. And then have a plan for next year.
It’s better to play the content game than to sit on the sidelines doodling. So jump in, think fast and see what you’re capable of.
Want to talk content strategy? Contact us to get started (I promise, no arithmetic!).