As a content marketer, I’m always looking for more effective and efficient ways to communicate. I love the way communication is evolving online (with the exception of, say, YouTube comments).
Think about it: A hundred years ago, it was much harder to convey a mood in text.
And that’s about it.
Emoticons opened up the possibilities a bit, with “slight smile :),” “big smile :D,” and “guy wearing sunglasses sticking his tongue out 8P.” Emojis added even more nuance.
Now, though, we have the ability to embed images and GIFs in our blog posts, emails, and messages. We can convey extremely specific moods, thoughts, and insights with a single image. Like, for example, the feeling when you’re wearing socks and step in something wet:
These images are emotional shorthand: They connect on a primal level without having to filter through words.
As every marketer knows, there are some work-related feelings that words just can’t quite describe. Every day in this challenging and rewarding profession has its ups and downs—and diagonals, too. Here are a few very specific moods I’ve encountered, and perhaps you have too, on this wild ride.
Whether you’re pitching a new idea to an internal group of brand stakeholders or you’re agency side like me, the assumption that “SEO content” can’t possibly be “good content” has been made by internal and external contacts.
These poor souls were scarred by the shallow, redundant “SEO content” of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Of course, we artfully explain that SEO today means making stuff that actual human beings want to read. Our keyword research is in the service of making great content.
For example, let’s say you pitch an interactive eBook with a computer-generated voice to tie together audio recordings of influencers. That means coming up with a process to record influencers, finding a computer voice that fits just right, the design team learning new tools… but once it’s done, it’s worth the initial panic.
Enterprise-level companies have a lot of stakeholders, which means a lot of scrutiny on every piece of content—from blog post to tweet. And you know what? It totally makes sense. At the end of the day, they just want to protect the brand and ensure that messaging is on point. But, for any marketer fielding editing requests, it’s so deeply satisfying when the back-and-forth comes full-circle.
You have to believe in what you’re doing as a content writer. There’s a minimum level of self-confidence required to keep from just staring at a blank screen, paralyzed in terror. I tend to operate right at that minimum level.
But I’ll admit it—it’s easy to get defensive when someone suggests changes, and it’s hard to admit that they’re right. Everyone needs reminding every now and then that we’re all on the same team, and it’s not about winning.
At the best of times, 40% of a conference call is saying, “Who joined?” and “Can you see my screen NOW?” and “I think you’re still on mute.” At the worst, there’s that one person who is dialing in from a convertible doing 85 miles an hour past a series of marching bands. Everyone can hear it. No one can talk. The culprit doesn’t realize it’s them. Ugh.
The client can’t open their Zoom link. A bad phone connection has you missing every other word. You can’t get your slideshow to show up on the screenshare. Your cool video demo that worked great for the internal presentation is playing backwards with no audio. And all you can do is keep smiling and fill the time until it gets fixed.
Even if your colleagues are brilliant, accomplished marketers, eventually someone’s going to wage war on your olfactory senses. And they’ll do it at least once a week.
You may never catch the culprit, and eventually the pursuit will simply drive you mad. So, best to just keep some Vick’s VapoRub handy to rub under your nostrils. It works for sanitation workers!
Marketers are such a generous bunch! I’ve learned so much from the thought leaders in the industry (and in my office). It’s amazing to have one of them share something they learned from me. It makes me even more determined to keep learning, and to share what I know.
It’s equal parts delightful and scandalizing to watch someone take aim at the sacred cows in our profession. Especially when they’re absolutely, 100% right. Think Jay Acunzo sounding off on best practices, or Doug Kessler’s profane and hilarious rant about swearing in marketing (which is too spicy to link here, but it’s on his blog).
Not only are these hot takes hilarious, they’re a crucial part of pushing the industry forward.
After influencer interviews, outlining, content creation, design, internal and/or client edits, it’s finally time to show the world what you’ve been working on. For a few minutes, all is well. You take a moment, pat yourself on the back, and imagine relaxing in the shade with a frosty beverage.
Working in marketing is an emotional roller coaster. It can be fun; it can be scary; it can even make you sick to your stomach. But working with brilliant colleagues, learning from amazing peers, and helping fascinating clients makes it worth the ride. That much is constant, regardless of how the mood swings.
For more alliterative content marketing advice, check out 5 B2B Content Marketing Lessons from The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
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