The moaning, rotting undead have been taking over literature, television, and movies these days. And if you’re a TV-watching lover, you’ve probably have heard about The Walking Dead and know its finale is fast approaching.
I’ve been a long time fan of the show and even stuck with it during the slow-moving Season 2, back at Hershel’s farm. To get ready for the end of Season 3, I wanted to share what I learned from The Walking Dead that will help with the roadblocks you may face in the process of implementing your content marketing strategy.
Traditional marketing has left consumers zomified; they groan when they see another pop-up and ignore ads on web pages, growing tired of old tactics. With content marketing, you can bust out the defibrillation paddles and bring back some life into your audience and the online marketing world.
Just like the characters on The Walking Dead, every good content marketer needs online street smarts and an arsenal of weapons to overcome the obstacles you face every day.
If you haven’t seen The Walking Dead or the entire season, here’s fair warning of SPOILERS.
Obstacle: Zombie bites AKA Time’s ticking by too fast
At the start of the season, Rick and his group take over the prison, which sets the stage for the entire season. During the process of clearing out their new haven, a zombie takes a nasty, lethal bite from Hershel's leg.
In the real world, an equivalent issue is time management and looming deadlines.
Weapon of Choice/Remedy: Axe AKA Editorial Calendar
To save Hershel’s life, Rick uses an axe to cut Hershel’s leg off before he died of blood loss.
Life isn’t as dramatic, but to set you on the right path, keep an editorial calendar to make sure you publish articles on time and plan ahead for important and timely topics or events. For example, I planned well in advance to write this post to publish in time for The Walking Dead finale.
Obstacle: Mental Insanity AKA Social Shut-in
Did you ever wonder whatever happened to Morgan Jones? Back in Season 1, he and his son were the first non-walkers Rick had come across. Rick gave them a walkie-talkie so they could keep in touch, but along the way there was just radio silence.
Now, in Season 3, we find out Morgan is still alive! He’s a lonely, broken, and deranged man. His wife had turned into a walker in Season 1, and in season 3, we learn he loss his son.
Meanwhile, as a content marketer, you’re trying to get noticed and grow an audience.
Remedy: Be Social
Rick was unable to help Morgan, but if we can learn anything from this, it’s: Get social! You’re creating and publishing great content, but you don’t live inside a bubble or you haven’t barricaded yourself in an abandoned house from walkers, have you?
Choose social networking platforms that best fit and work for your brand, then start sharing what you’re all about.
Obstacle: Learning from mistakes AKA Keeping track of your success & understanding failures
Living in the zombie apocalypse, there are a number of threats: walkers, starvation, dehydration, disease, ill-intentioned people, etc. It’s a learning experience, but the worse is bound to happen from time to time.
Some of the questions you are probably wondering are: Is my audience growing? Am I reaching the right audience? What kind of content is working? Not working?
Remedy: Keeping a journal AKA Measure your metrics
While everyone is fighting for survival, Milton, Woodbury’s very own analyst and nerd, records history in hopes of sharing it with future generations. Throughout the show, he even conducts tests to try to find a cure.
Use Google analytics to keep track of your efforts. This will help you discover how many people you're reaching, what kind of content is working or not, and help you determine what to write about in the future.
Obstacles: Intimidation from the competition
The world may be overrun by walkers, biters, zombies...whatever you want to call them, but if we can learn anything from The Walking Dead is that people can be the worst kind of monsters. On top of that list would be The Governor. He’s dangerous and ruthless, willing to do anything to get what he wants. For a brief moment, Rick was trying to use the Governor’s tactics to achieve peace for himself and his group, almost giving up Michonne.
You know your competition and you worry you may not compare, feeling a little intimidated by how much content they’re publishing and how many followers they have.
Remedy: Be your authentic self
During last week’s episode, Rick couldn’t go through with handing Michonne over to the Governor, realizing it went against his morals. He couldn’t be as cold-hearted and deceptive, even confessing his initial intentions to the group because it wouldn’t be fair to them if he wasn’t honest and open with himself and to them.
Remember to have faith in yourself and your brand, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a reliable thought leader. As well, your audience will appreciate your authenticity and flock to you for your expertise time and time again.
Obstacles: Overwhelmed with duties and responsibilities
Rick, being the leader of the group, feels the weight on his shoulders to make the hard choices. Being pressured from the Governor to give him Michonne, he almost forgets to listen to his conscience.
You may be feeling the same pressure, trying to create original content, keeping to deadlines, and achieving success.
Remedy: Call in for back-up
Towards the end of the last week’s episode, Rick gives a powerful speech, explaining to his group that it was wrong of him to hide anything from them and that they must work as a team because it makes them the caring, close-knit group that they are.
In your line a work, you may not be able to create original content every day, but you can curate! Also, get your co-workers involved in the writing process. Have them lend their voices to build your brand’s persona.
Use these tactics to strengthen your marketing strategies and you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful content marketer.
Don’t forget to tune in this Sunday for The Walking Dead finale! Here’s hoping it isn’t too heart wrenching.
Leave a comment below about how you fight your online marketing demons.