As I've been overcome with a cold over the past few days, I've been keeping my sniffles and sneezing company with hiccups of Discovery Channel's Mythbusters. Testing, legends, and explosions, just happen to get me thinking. So, all those hours learning about the plausibility of urban myths doesn't completely go to waste, here are five content marketing lessons that I pulled from the hit series:
- If something doesn't work, figure out why it doesn't work - In Boomerang Bullet, Grant, Tory and Jessie test the myth of whether a tree can be used as a catapult to hurl someone over a castle wall. Upon initial testing, Buster more fell out of the tree rather than catapulting any significant distance. The easy thing to do would have been to call the myth 'busted,' but the team instead did some small scale testing to see if, under the right circumstances, a human could actually be flunt from a tree. The same can be applied to content marketing. It would be easy to conclude that webinars don't work in generating leads if the one webinar you hosted only had three attendees. However, the smarter thing to do is to figure out why the webinar didn't work, instead of pulling the plug on webinars all together.
- Listen to Your Fans/Customers - Many of the myths that the Mythbusters have tested have come from the viewers. There's even been whole episodes surrounding viewer-submited myths. Your very own readers and customers may have good ideas as well, so make them the hero of your content from time to time. Make sure to listen to them and to implement the best, ranging from business blog ideas to improvements in your products and services.
- It's Okay to Be Wrong - Even the Mythbusters have been wrong at times, and what makes them great is that they're willing to admit it, and to do those tests again. Such as the case in Mythssion Control, where certain myths were retested at the viewer's requests. If you recieve a few bad reviews, or if someone doesn't like or disagrees with what you said in a blog post or white paper, don't simply ignore the comment or delete it. Use those negatives to your advantage! Improve upon your argument, respond to them professionally, and even admit that you were wrong.
- Not Everything You Do Will be a Home Run - Not every video or article or podcast is going to go viral. In fact, there might be a few pieces of content in your library that just don't do as well as the others. It doesn't mean that you're a horrible content marketer. It just happens, and it happened to the Mythbusters in Break Step Bridge, when they tried to the rhythm of soldiers marching together can cause a bridge to collapse. Obviously, they couldn't use a real bridge and real soldiers, but the experiment put together to test the myth was silly at best.
- Question Ideas and Ways of Thinking - That's essentially the core of Mythbusters: putting those idioms and those things everyone believes to the test. Is yawning really contagious? (Yes) Does the color red make bulls angry? (No) When you get cold feet, do your feet actually get cold? (Plausible). Answering those kinds of questions makes the show great, and questioning the big ideas in your industry and some of the most popular perspectives is what can make your content remarkable as well.
Now, don't just tell others about these lessons. In true Mythbusters fashion, put them to the test!