“When I was a kid, we had to wait until Saturday morning for cartoons”, “Fast-forwarding through commercials does not take foreeeeeevvvvvver”, “We had trees for entertainment when driving, not movies.” If you have kids, or have been around them at all over the past few years, go ahead and add your own. You no doubt have seen the fury of this on-demand generation. Myself, I’ll admit that I have recently uttered these exact phrases. The difference between “them” and “us” cannot be overstated. For pete’s sake, they can hardly wait for a grilled cheese to be made. Sheesh, right? Them.
And on the flip side, there’s us. As an adult, I’m patient, well-versed in waiting, and solid in my understanding of delayed gratification. “I’ll wait”, “Go ahead”, “Take your time.” Yup, we live there. As adults. Yay, us.
But as a digital marketer…I’ll admit it, I’m a child. In fact, #creepyalert, there’s a good chance that I know you are reading this post right now. And even if I’m not creeping on real-time Google Analytics, it’s likely that I’m talking to myself right now: “Why haven’t my Twitter numbers increased?”, “Why hasn’t anyone left a comment?”, “Maybe I should share on Facebook again; it’s been a few minutes”, “Is the comments area broken?”, “I’ll just go ahead and tweet it, or maybe I’ll Buffer, but that’s not immediate enough, so maybe just a direct tweet”, “Perhaps I should leave the first comment myself,” and on and on and on. I’m a child. Me.
I hope, and expect, that you aren’t a child like me. But if you are, here are some lessons that we, as marketers (perhaps more accurately as content creators/publishers), need to learn.
Wait For It
Sure, the first 1, 12, 24 hours of content-sharing matters; 100%, it matters. But should it matter as much as it does? On the analytics side, we can show conversion rates, site visits, virality, etc. But where it really seems to matter is with our ego. We care about the numbers because we care about the numbers. It’s not often that we care about data (emotionally, I mean), but when our ego is factored in, we can’t help but to be personally invested in those specific numbers. Yes, it makes sense to care about how our personal content is performing; most of the time, we have invested much time, energy, and care in its creation before launching to the world. And we feel like proud parents once that content is birthed and well-received. But if our labor of love stagnates, doesn’t catch fire, or spreads slower that we would like, content marketers can quickly turn into pushy stage moms (no offense). And maybe that shouldn’t be the case. We’ve all seen articles get picked up, gain traction, and find their wings over 12 months after their initial posting. But we let our ego speak loudly, and our ego is all about now. We preach evergreen content, layered content, and resurrected content, but we tend to live (and tweet and share and promote) like Mission Impossible content (you know, “this message will self-destruct”). However, if your content doesn’t pop immediately, don’t waste your hours staring at graphs, talking to yourself, and pressing buttons. Let it go, and trust that your content will find its place in the digital world. Promote it, yes, but don’t let your ego drive the bus. It’s likely to drive you in the wrong direction.
Being generous is one of the Be-attitudes in my last post, and it’s something that can never be overstated. Good will begets good will, and it’s really hard to spur people to action if you spend little to none of your time acting on other content provider’s behalf. One of the best ways to get attention is to give attention; to get help, give help; to reap, sow. If you are asking others to spend their time reading your content and, furthermore, to promote it, you need to buck up and do the same. (Sidenote: SME had a great post recently on how to structure content curation; you can find it here.) So put some time on your calendar to consume content, then start posting about it. You might just catch the eye of the very people you want to spread your own posts. In fact, I’m thinking a good exercise would be to set consume-and-share time aside immediately after my own post is published. Instead of watching analytics and social metrics like a crazy hawk, I think my time would be better spent helping others. So that is what I will do. #creepyalertover
Step Away From The Ego
I’m guessing that you have had that uplifting feeling of watching one of your campaigns take off. It’s a wonderful feeling and one that I hope we all get to experience many times over. I’m also guessing that you’ve had moments on the opposite side of the fence: no traffic, no traction, and a yucky, deflated feeling. Both are valid and valuable.
The unhealthy step is when we obsess over the now, the moment, the real-time and let our ego begin to drive decision-making. Step away from the reload button, and instead spend your time helping others. Consume and share the best content you can find, and be us and not them. Oh, and if sharing this article feels good to you, please do so; bonus good-will points for comments, especially those that make me think.