5 painful mistakes I’ve seen writers, marketers, and business owners make … and how you can avoid them
We all make mistakes — but it sucks a lot less to learn from someone else’s.
In this 18-minute episode, I talk about five painful mistakes that I’ve made (some of them more than once), and how you can steer clear of them.
- Pouring endless time into a project that has no market
- The endless pivot
- Wimpy Boundary Syndrome
- Getting expensive advice too soon in your business
- Content puke
Listen to Copyblogger FM: Content Marketing, Copywriting, Freelance Writing, and Social Media Marketing below ...
A Series of Unfortunate Content EventsSonia Simone
The Show Notes
- If you’re ready to see for yourself why more than 201,344 website owners trust StudioPress — the industry standard for premium WordPress themes and plugins — swing by StudioPress.com for all the details.
- We’ve written lots about the Minimum Viable Product idea on Copyblogger — here’s one: Launching Your First Digital Product? Focus on These 5 Activities
- Some thoughts on the whole boundary-setting thing: Why “Positive Business” Doesn’t Mean Making Yourself a Chump
- My friend Susan the brilliant dog trainer (who told me to quit puking on my customers)
- I’m always happy to see your questions or thoughts on Twitter @soniasimone — or right here in the comments 🙂
(Disclaimer: Lots of hyphens will follow.) Really good stuff! I was craving for this take on “content puke.” I often encounter opinions that think only “leave-no-stone-unturned-in-one-epic-piece” content is valuable! It’s good to hear that I am not alone in questioning this. Also, this is good news for a resource-limited editorial calendar; a little restraint can help make the workload a bit more realistic.
One thing I was hoping was in here (maybe this is just too idiosyncratic to apply to everyone though) is talk about when content veers too quickly into “salesy” territory, and this on content outlets that are more or less “one channel fits all.” For instance, a blog that consistently foregoes vendor-neutral content to be sure that they push their product for 2/3 of their 800-or-so word posts. This, of course, comes from the mindset that the value add is the showing the reader “the light.” For example, audio software that post about solving a common mixing problem, only to shed light on the problem in the beginning of the post and then continue on about how to solve the problem using their product.
Maybe that’s just a pet peeve of mine though.
Sonia Simone says
I think that “it has to be epic or don’t bother” became a bit of a superstition among those of us who write about content. There’s value in creating something massive (and massively useful) every once in awhile, but most of the time, it’s probably more helpful to create pieces that are more bite-sized.
As for the “too salesy, too soon” thing — it’s an interesting question. It’s probably the result of putting the cart before the horse — the pitch is delivered before the audience has gained anything of value from the content. Good addition!
My only caveat is that a lot of the kinds of folks who read and listen to CB (educated, literate, thoughtful, ethical) tend to go too far the other direction — they rarely or never deliver a more direct sales message because it feels “pushy,” so they’re creating a ton of good stuff but they don’t see business results.
You’ve got to find the Goldilocks point, and it’s very much a matter of intuition and experience. Rules of thumb will only take you so far.