You’ve probably heard that it’s a content jungle out there, but did you know that you now have more content competitors than there are insects in the Amazon rainforest? (Probably).
There are 80 million business pages on Facebook and 95 million posts on Instagram every day, as well as 6 million ‘content creators’ on YouTube - so it’s no wonder many marketers feel their content is getting lost/slowly perishing alone.
But, don’t give up! It is possible to survive and thrive in this hostile wilderness. At Marketing Week Live we took advice from real survivalists and applied it to your biggest content challenges:
Question everything and master your environment
“Why did my fire die down yesterday? Where do I see the most animal tracks and why?” asks survivalist Megan Hine. “Your aim is to become the master of your environment in all aspects.” Do you understand why some pieces of content get more engagement than others? Why the competition is getting more traction than you are? Understand what’s out there and how it’s currently working, then use this to identify opportunities to learn from others (follow the animal tracks to the waterhole) and beat them (snare one for supper).
Walk around raging rivers
Fortune doesn’t always favour the bold. Says Jacob Hunter from Primal Survivor: “If you ever come across an obstacle like a big ravine, spend the extra few hours to hike carefully around it instead of ending up with broken bones.” In other words, if you know your website is crap, you have no budget to boost content on Facebook and no decent images beyond the same stock as everyone else, you’re going to have to work around these obstacles – not try and power through them as though they aren’t really there.
Remember it takes quite a long time to die
“It takes a healthy person quite a long time to die of starvation,” says SAS survivor John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman. The same can be said of a healthy brand or product: producing no content for a while or not posting on any social media channels is not going to kill you instantly. Take some time to think, and identify challenges and opportunities, rather than trying to eat everything in sight.
Don’t exhaust yourself (and your audience)
According to Megan Hine: “You will be no help to anyone if you burn yourself out early on.” In the content world, this means you should stop trying to post content several times a day for the sake of it. Focus on staying strong with less frequent content that’s well planned, well targeted and well executed. As Megan says: “Make decisions based on your strengths and what you are capable of.” Be real, people!
Find your own duct tape
Bear Grylls loves duct tape. “A bit of duct tape stuck onto the lip of a metal mug will protect you from a burnt mouth; it’s also very handy if a hippo attack leaves you with a punctured lung. It’s versatile… The stuff is worth its weight in frustrated tears.” What’s your duct tape? What versatile piece of content or topic can you keep returning to, reusing and repurposing without fail? Usually it answers a major customer pain point. Find your duct tape and keep it handy at all times.
Hunting is ridiculously difficult
“If you’re near a habituated area, don’t get too obsessed with snares; hunting is a ridiculously finnicky business,” says Megan Hine, who reckons waiting to get rescued by people nearby is often the best option. For us marketing people, this means thinking about the audience you already have before you spend too much energy trying to acquire new ones. And as Megan adds: “If you are in danger of starving, then the most important survival tip is to tailor your snares to an individual species’ behaviour.” Enough said.
Don’t look behind you!
“If you have taken a wrong turn and gone off track… no amount of worry, blame or arguing will be able to undo the error; put it down to experience and move on,” says SAS trainer Bob Podesta. The battle to survive, he says, is won “in the arena of the mind’”. Of course, you need to learn from mistakes, but wasting time bemoaning structures and silos, or flawed campaign ideas or products won’t help. As Bob says: “Improvise, adapt, overcome.”
In low oxygen situations – or when you’re running out of steam with your client/product/company/campaign – your appetite goes completely, according to ‘Survive the Tribe’ star Hazen Audel. “You literally have to force feed yourself,” says the man with ‘the intestinal fortitude of a warthog’. Force yourself to stomach the circumstances and continue to care about the content… Or why not see if we can help?