How Content Marketing is Like Having a Baby
1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit? introduces the title character in a Maroon Cartoon original short, Somethin’s Cookin’. Roger is brought in to care for Baby Herman while mom’s away, and spends the next three minutes and thirty-nine seconds chasing the little guy around the kitchen as Baby Herman actively tries to play with knives, crawl across the stove, and climb the refrigerator.
Roger’s constant battering, and Baby Herman’s sheer determination to put himself in harm’s way, doesn’t just play to classic slap-stick comedy, it’s a pretty reasonable representation of the first year with a new baby. It’s challenging, exhausting, demands all your time, patience, and attention—and can also be incredibly rewarding.
That sounds a lot like what we do around here.
Content marketing and child rearing certainly work with different stakes, but they both have someone else looking to you for guidance, and can redefine your life. So let’s throw the diapers and the teething rings in there with the eBooks and Twitter feeds and see just what parenting can teach us about content marketing.
Easy on the Social Media
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement. New developments and milestones can certainly be shared and even bragged about, but don’t go crazy on Facebook with 25 unique posts every day. Your audience loves to see what you’re doing, whether that’s preparing for Content Marketing World or trying avocado for the first time, but after a certain point enough is enough.
There’s no better way to burn out your friends, family, and colleagues than shamelessly promoting your own shtick over and over and over and over. Social media is the poster child for restraint.
Consistency is Key
Content marketing thought leaders and parenting experts agree, the key to quality content, and kick-ass kids, is some sort of structure and predictability. Whether that’s a set bed time, regular blog posts, clear boundaries, or an expected voice, children and audiences both thrive on consistency. Consistency brings security to the relationship—it creates a schedule and cycle that both sides rely on as they grow together, allows outsiders to step in without disrupting the process, and pays off exponentially in the future.
But consistency doesn’t come easy. Whether it’s teaching the little one that the cat’s tail is not a chew toy, or convincing yourself to produce three blogs a week, consistency takes discipline, planning, and communication to execute properly.
Everyone has an Opinion
Social media strategies, feeding schedules, branding—there are thousands, if not millions, of resources available to new parents marketers. Do this, don’t do this, if you do this, you’ll scar your child forever, don’t do this and your brand is a goner. The internet allows unlimited access to new ideas and an open forum for spreading opinions (often with little recourse). That means anyone looking for a stream of relevant content will likely find themselves drinking from a firehose of ideas.Experts, thought leaders, influencers, and grandparents can all have great advice, but all the insight in the world might not be right for you. Learn which sources to trust, and treat the others like you would when Uncle Dan insists a little Mountain Dew in the bottle won’t hurt anything.
You Cannot Leave it Alone
Once you start, there’s no turning back. Leave your brand for even a second and the next thing you know she’ll be pulling dust bunnies from under the couch and shoving them straight in her gullet. You have to keep a watchful eye on what she’s doing at all times—is she progressing, are your strategies working, has she figured out how to open the cabinets yet? This takes vigilance and flexibility. In the past, your CTAs were converting and your baby was lucky to roll over. But today, your language is outdated and the baby is trying to crawl down the stairs. Change as it’s needed, and buy a baby gate.
It’s Messy, but It’s Worth It
You will end up covered in pea puree and bodily fluids; you will stay up all night trying to nail down the right introduction; you will feel up to your eyeballs in stress. You will think you’re losing your mind and nothing’s landing like it should and there must be something wrong with you, because those other folks make it look so damn easy.
You’re doing everything right; it just takes time and a decent nap to bring everything back into focus. But when it finally clicks, and she starts moving around on her own, when you see the final numbers roll in—that’s when all that effort pays off.