Since the premiere of Breaking Bad 5 years, 8 months and 9 days ago, Walter White has made some pretty terrible decisions.
He’s lied, murdered, ruined countless lives, and, not sure if you knew this, but he’s cooked a whole lot of meth.
But despite how often we scream at the television or tweet in anger after an episode, Walt is completely out of our control. Especially now, on this, the day of the final episode of Breaking Bad.
So in honor of Walt and the terrible habits he picked up while building his empire, I invite you to focus on something we can control: our own bad habits. And since this is a blog dedicated to content marketing, here are 6 habits we marketers need to break…badly.
Bad Habit 1: Thinking quantity first, quality second
Obviously, Walt and Jesse cared about quantity. But what really set them apart was quality. Theirs was the best product on the market, and their popularity (and the bags/barrels full of money) grew because of it. The lesson here is obvious. If marketers continue to focus exclusively on quantity, we’ll create noise instead of results. Don’t be part of the content deluge. Take the time to create high-quality content so good, your audience can’t get enough of it.
Bad Habit 2: Creating the same old content
Not only was Walt’s product the best, but it had a defining and unique characteristic. It was blue. The point here? Break out of creating the same old stuff everyone else is producing. If you can make your content stand out, your buyers will associate you with that particular “brand” of content, and will seek it out over that of your competitors.
Bad Habit 3: Publishing, and not distributing
Do you think Walt could have built his empire without broad distribution? I mean, his product is in Europe now. Same principles apply in content marketing (well, minus the whole illegal, violent thing). The creation of quality content is the first step, but it won’t do anything for your organization unless you share it across multiple channels such as Twitter, LinkedIn, SlideShare, email, paid promotions, etc. And if that content is relevant to your audience, they’ll share it with their networks, too, expanding your reach.
Bad Habit 4: Updating your editorial calendar…never
To create the perfect product for their customers, Walt and Jesse had to have the timing of each step perfectly planned, to the second. The second may not matter in this case, but mapping out the timing of marketing campaigns (including each task in the workflow) is one of the most important habits a marketer can learn. If you never update your editorial calendar with accurate due dates and deadlines, you won’t be able to create repeatable processes. Why? You won’t know how long it takes for a certain task or content asset to be completed, or for a campaign to be executed from start to finish. How long should an eBook take to produce from start to finish? How much time does your legal team need for approval? If you’re not sure, you’re probably seeing major discrepancies between the “plan” and your actual execution.
Bad Habit 5: Blindly creating content without an audience in mind
Do your buyers actually enjoy your content? Content isn’t quite as addictive as methamphetamine (gross understatement), so if you’re going to keep people interested, you need to make sure content is entertaining, useful, and relevant to your target audience. This comes from building out your personas and the stages of the buyer’s journey, then creating content that addresses the specific interests and concerns of each of those buyers at each of those stages.
Bad Habit 6: Ignoring sales
There are some pretty shaky relationships in Breaking Bad, from marital to business partnerships. Well, sales and marketing know something about that. Even though they’re notoriously at odds (there’s even a funny video or two about it), sales and marketing need one another to succeed. And, marketers, sales can be one of your greatest resources for content ideas that will deliver results. They’re talking to late-stage prospects every day, and understand why certain deals are won or lost. Listen to their content needs, and tap them for the questions buyers consistently ask them. This will get you even closer to creating content that your buyers truly want to consume during their journey.
Come Monday, once our tears have dried and we’ve made peace (or not) with the conclusion to this incredible series, hopefully this will help you transition from Breaking Bad to breaking bad content marketing habits.