Overthinking & Underperforming

When most people sit down to write or produce any type of marketing content, the first step is typically to have a meeting about it. Someone somewhere wants something to happen, so we all schedule or jump into a brainstorm session about it to make sure we're all “on the same page.”

Depending on how big the initiative it is, teams can spend weeks, months and sometimes even years planning, redesigning, postulating, revising, scrapping and putting things on hold when fires need to be put out in our businesses. We tell ourselves that we’ll get to it

There's a common belief in the marketing industry that you have to create beautiful content that outshines our competition. Of course, we should work to create great work. Quality does matter, and we should always strive to create and distribute things that people will enjoy.

However, quality shouldn’t hold us back from producing and promoting things regularly. So many of us waste time and potential overthinking the minutiae of our content. Stalled efforts lead to a lack of consistency and relevancy, which (over time) hurts your brand more than not “getting it perfect” would.

The time you spend perfecting a single piece of content could be spent on producing multiple pieces of content and reaching 3x as many people. This doesn’t mean you have to choose between quality or quantity. All I’m asking is that you shift to a mindset focused on consistency and relevancy.

Here are some tips on how to get over your overthinking problem:

Start small. Develop a content habit.

Commit to one piece of content per month. This could be a video shot on your phone walking people through your new space or it could be a Medium post about a new law that affects your business. Every six months (at least this long for a significant data set), re-evaluate and see what is working and what isn’t. Did people respond more to the written word vs. video? Did certain topics get more engagement? Did you see an increase in customers/clients at your store or inquiries on your website? Watch your metrics and see what converts. Then, double down on it or try something new. The point is that you are doing things at all, not waiting around for the right things to get made.

Think of yourself as a documentarian, not a director.

Your content doesn’t have to be the quality of a short film or even what we are conditioned to think of as “good” video content. Instead of focusing on producing a scripted spot with an overarching theme and b-roll and interviews about your business, try simply turning the camera on and capturing real moments. You can always edit them if they need to be trimmed, but do your best to chronicle the inner workings and beliefs of your business through real-life moments. People are much more likely to watch and engage with videos of real people showing them something that is actually happening than a stiff, corporate brand video that gives an overview of a business's mission statement.

Let your guard down. Be vulnerable.

Don’t be afraid to show your personality. We always say this, but it’s true: people buy from people. You can post some generic stuff and get away with it for a while, but eventually, people aren’t going to relate to you because your brand is impersonal. Tell your followers who you are — yes, even you, the intern who controls the company Twitter account. Show your employees working on a project, talk about how you’re stumped on a problem, interview the secretary. Companies are so terrified to show who they really are that they are missing out on people who would genuinely care to know.

I get it. It’s a scary thing to produce content and put it out there for all to see, especially if we feel like we’re rushed or that our audience is going to judge us for our less-than-stellar Facebook post or video.

But here’s the brutal truth: no one cares.

Sure, there are a handful of regulars who are fans of yours and want to stay engaged, but the vast majority aren’t paying that much attention to how good your content is. They’ll notice if it’s absolute garbage, sure, but my point is this: there is a maximum amount of time you should spend on content relative to how much people care about it.

There is a maximum amount of time you should spend on content relative to how much people care about it.

What is your time spent-to-content payoff ratio? Have you found a magic number of hours per day/week/month it takes to document and share your brand with your audience online?

If you’re interested to learn more or would like to connect with us to discuss where you stand in your marketing efforts, shoot us an email at hello@toucanadvertising.co, leave a comment on social or tweet at us @toucanads.

Toucan is a New Orleans advertising agency.

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