Content Marketing
5 Ways for Content Marketers to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

5 Ways for Content Marketers to Avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

July 15, 2019
4 min read

Are you a magpie when it comes to marketing? Do you excitedly collect every new software tool and try out every new SEO hack as soon as you hear about it? If so, you may be suffering from “shiny object syndrome”.

If you’re constantly chasing new ideas and being distracted by the latest strategy, you’ll find yourself hopping around from one method to another and never really focusing on your core content marketing strategy.

This scattered approach, unsurprisingly, doesn’t lead to the best results. So how can you avoid being distracted by all those shiny objects?

Quick Takeaways:

  • Shiny object syndrome can distract you from your goals and dilute your marketing strategy.
  • When deciding which strategies to follow, make your choices logically based on facts and figures – don’t just follow the crowd.
  • Having a clearly defined strategy is the key to avoiding distractions.

1. Keep a List of New Ideas

One of the reasons why digital marketers are so prone to shiny object syndrome is that the industry is so fast paced. We’re always trying to look out for what’s coming next.

Online trends come and go and the next Google algorithm update is just around the corner. So a static strategy that ignores every new technique and doesn’t take advantage of the latest tools and software isn’t going to stay successful for very long.

There’s no problem integrating new techniques and ideas into your existing strategy. The problem comes when you never stick with one method long enough to really see it through.

One way to avoid this problem is by keeping a list of every interesting strategy and promising tool that you come across. By adding it to your list, you’ll lose the fear of forgetting about it. This leaves you free to concentrate on your current methods.

When you do want to try out some new ideas, you can work your way methodically through the list. That way, you can make sure you fully explore each tool or technique before discarding it and moving onto the next.

2. Work in Time Blocks

Choose just one or two main ideas to focus on over a set period of time. You can try a few various blocks of time to see what works for you. But many people find that 12 weeks is enough time to thoroughly test out an idea or strategy without getting bored and being distracted by the next best thing.

The idea of this 12-week time block was recently popularized in the book, The 12 Week Year. It introduces the premise that we should set goals to focus on every 12 weeks. This is a major difference from simply following the New Year schedule.

Setting goals and focusing on just one or two ideas during these blocks of time means you have enough time to thoroughly investigate and test out each idea. You can judge the success of each idea at the end of the time block by how well you achieved your goals.

3. Choose Strategies That Make the Biggest Impact

When there’s so much vying for your attention, its essential to focus on the things that are really going to make a difference to your content marketing success.

Let’s say the next big trend is animated infographics. They may look impressive and be fun to play around with. But will they actually have any real impact on your business goals?

When deciding which strategies to adopt you need to think logically based on research and evidence, and not be led by your emotions. Those animated infographics might sound like an amazing technique. Yet if they’re not actually increasing traffic or conversions, they’re probably a waste of time.

Don’t follow the latest trends just because everyone else is doing it. Research carefully and analyze the data you have available so that you can make an accurate judgment about which strategies to bet on.

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4. Don’t Abandon What’s Working Now

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” as the saying goes. If your current marketing strategies and techniques are working well and producing results, think twice about whether you need to change anything.

Let’s put this in context with a scenario involving social media promotion. This is a great example because social media networks go in and out of favor rapidly and what’s flavor of the month now might be obsolete next year.

Say you’re currently promoting your content mainly on Facebook and it’s working well for you. You’re getting lots of likes, shares, and engagement, and your following is growing all the time.

Now lets say a new social network launches and becomes all the rage. Let’s call it SmashChat. Everyone’s suddenly raving about how you need a SmashChat strategy and Facebook is dead. But is it?

Are you still getting engagement? Are you still getting traffic? Try not to be caught up in the current zeitgeist and think about what will best serve the needs of you and your audience.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with dipping your toes in the water and seeing what all the fuss is about. But don’t put all your time and resources into an untested medium. Approach with caution and see what sort of results you get.

5. Have Clarity and Focus in Your Content Marketing Strategy

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One major trigger of falling into the temptation of shiny new object syndrome is not being exactly sure of what you’re doing or why you’re doing it.

If you don’t have a clear plan, and you’re not really sure if what you’re doing now is working or not, it’s no wonder that you’ll latch onto the next big thing that promises amazing results.

The only way to deal with this problem is by developing a clear content marketing strategy with measurable goals. That way, you can know without any doubt if you’re succeeding.

Setting clear goals gives you something to focus on and work towards. If you fall a long way short of meeting your goals, then you can feel free to try out the next thing on your list. You’ll always remain secure in knowing that you put in 100% effort — no matter what you do.

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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