October 30, 2013: A couple of years ago (during the height of his superhero obsession), my stepson went as Spider-Man for Halloween. This wasn’t just any costume: It was a red and blue polyester jumpsuit complete with a matching mask and muscle chest.
Of course, he had to try it on the minute it arrived in the mail, three weeks before Halloween. Once it was on, it stayed on. Spider-Man accompanied us to the grocery store, out to brunch, to get the car repaired, you name it. It wasn’t just the costume that my stepson seemed to enjoy; it was the way it made him feel to have it on. Spiderman wasn’t a shy five year-old boy who preferred books to baseball; he was a confident, somewhat spastic superhero who introduced himself to new kids at the playground by running toward them like a bat out of hell.
As content marketers, maybe we can learn something from the idea of dressing up for Halloween. In other words, what is it about putting on a costume that makes us feel fearless and free to express ourselves however we would like? How can we apply this same principle to produce better, more valuable content for our customers?
Here are a few ways B2B content marketers can remove the mask this Halloween and learn how to become more confident with their writing:
- Be bold: Creating successful content isn’t about playing it safe; in fact, controversial content can stir up a debate that readers feel strongly about (strongly enough to leave their opinion in a blog’s comments section and/or share the piece via social media). For B2B marketers, this doesn’t mean targeting hot-button issues such as religion or politics in order to elicit a reaction from readers. Instead, try tackling a few topics that are being talked about in blogs or forums or on social media that you feel might strike a chord with readers (e.g., KISSmetrics’ blog about how email marketing crushes social media marketing for B2B). Just make sure your arguments are well structured and supported with fact and references.
- Get (and stay) organized: What good is a single piece of B2B content if it doesn’t align with overall SEO and social media strategy? To keep the content team in synch with other departments and avoid operating in silos, it’s important to meet regularly and discuss ongoing and upcoming initiatives. At KoMarketing Associates, our SEO, content, and social media teams meet every Monday morning to map out the week ahead for each of our clients. Doing so allows us to collaborate on weekly assignments, share resources, and touch base about the previous week’s work, ultimately resulting in a streamlined process for all teams involved.
- Take risks: Content Marketing Institute’s Joe Pulizzi quotes Mario Andretti in a recent blog post: “If you don’t feel a little uncomfortable, you’re just not going fast enough.” Effective content writing (or any writing, for that matter) involves taking risks, whether that means you’re challenging the status quo with your subject matter or introducing a new way of doing things to your colleagues or even to your clients. Last week, during our bi-weekly KoMarketing team training session, we used Google Hangouts to conduct the meeting and iron out any kinks with the technology so that we’d be able to know how, when, and why to eventually integrate Hangouts into ongoing initiatives held on behalf of our clients.
- Take off the mask (or, rather, quit hiding behind it): It’s easy to tell yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, but it’s quite another to actually do it. There are many reasons why your content marketing efforts can fail but chief among them is that the fear of failure can be paralyzing. After all, it’s tough to dust yourself off when you fall and get yourself back out there. But, like anything else, effective content marketing writing requires you to put in the time—and the work—to make your efforts a success.
As my stepson learned when his Spider-Man costume (literally) came unraveled and we were forced to throw it out, no one can remain a superhero forever. But that doesn’t mean that your confidence has to fall by the wayside when you take off the mask. This Halloween, with or without costume, try to remember that it pays to be brave with your content marketing efforts. As Copyblogger notes, “being bold and occasionally wrong wins you a lot more attention than being boring and always right.”