The 7 Worst “Drivers” of Content Marketing Strategy – How to Lessen Their Impact

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Vince Bitel

VP of Creative Services

Everything that I know about content contributors, I learned in rush hour traffic

7 worst content contributors - rush hourAfter decades of sitting in traffic, people watching for hours at a time, I’ve come to understand how different drivers’ personalities correlate to how different people affect the content creation process. As many good drivers as there are out there, there are often just as many, if not more, bad drivers. On the road, more often than I should openly admit, I shake my fist and yell impolite vulgarities as if the words could miraculously pass through my windshield, propel forward, then ring loudly through the speakers of the car that cut me off. But alas, that type of behavior is frowned upon during the content creation process…

As frustrating as it can be, we as marketers must find better ways to take action in order to make sure some of the more questionable “drivers” (i.e. content contributors) don’t run our content marketing strategy off the road.

I assure you, I spend most of the time in the driver’s seat contemplating content creation and not acting like a maniac. Over time, I’ve learned to use frustration as the motivation to make content creation more successful.

Channel your frustration into action

As content marketers, you are in a position where you must collaborate with different contributors, business owners, and colleagues to shape ideas and strategy into intelligent, cohesive content.

Like drivers on the road, many content contributors don’t understand how to behave as an integral component within a big, complex mechanism of parts moving forward. Most are focused solely on their own, individual journey. Some even think that if they were the only contributor on the road, they would get to their destination faster and more would be gained. But most organizations do not succeed on the merits of an individual, but instead on the success of all contributors working together.

All marketing managers suffer the different personas of content contributors, and it helps to understand how to replace any frustration you have with them with positive actions to ensure your content marketing influences your audience.

The 7 worst “drivers” in your content marketing strategy and the actions to take to lessen their impact

1. The darting lane changer

This driver constantly moves in and out of lanes with little room for error, as if a steering wheel is a PlayStation controller and the reset button can be pushed if something goes terribly wrong. This impulsiveness always leads to a string of contradictory changes in content that are a serious challenge to reconcile. Help this driver outline the messaging and strategy up front so there’s a pre-determined lane to move forward in.

2. The overly cautious driver who stays several car lengths behind

Unaccustomed drivers who find themselves in a rush hour traffic for the first time can push you back further and further as a constant stream of other drivers move into the wide open space in front them. A contributor with significant information to share but with little experience may be hesitant to provide timely input. Boost confidence by fostering an environment in which it’s ok to make mistakes, since you have the ability to correct the content before reaching your milestones.

3. The distracted driver

distracted content contributor
Distracted driver image via Shutterstock

Texting, phone calls, reading document printouts and applying makeup leads to dangerous drifting into other lanes of moving traffic that will alarm other drivers and cause a ripple effect of brake lights. Lack of focus in a contributor will lead to ill-considered input that will your waste efforts. Conduct meetings with strict agendas that are designed to get you the answers you need to move forward.

4. The driver with the crumpled front end and steaming radiator

Often the distracted driver becomes the accident-prone. Alarms sound and lanes are closed. People who are not positive contributors because they are not paying attention can put an abrupt halt to content creation. They turn on a fire hose of negative feedback, and usually little of it is valid because it’s uninformed. Be prepared for unconstructive feedback and be poised to express in very clear business terms why you are going in the direction you are.

5. The speed demon

Some drivers think top speed is the only effective way to get to a destination quickly. But frenzied speed always leads to mistakes, re-dos and countless edit rounds. When you’re dealing with someone who can’t sit still long enough to collect thoughts and strategize, you need to wrestle control of the schedule and manage milestones that unmistakably define when they are responsible for fully completed tasks.

6. The oblivious Mr. Magoo

oblivious content conributorSome drivers just have very, very little self-awareness. They don’t consider how their actions affect everyone around them, so being part of the larger goal isn’t natural to them. Instinctively, you want to just go around contributors like this because you think their input can’t possibly be worthwhile. But that assumption will lessen the quality of your content, and it won’t do you any political favors. Instead, be proactive and get to know the Magoos in your organization. Once you understand the basis of their oblivion, you’ll know how to get the input you need.

7. The self-crowned “King of the Left Lane”

Often seen behind the wheel of a very expensive automobile and going slower than traffic normally flows in the leftmost lane, this driver has no intention of moving over to let others pass. Executives with busy schedules at your organization can slow content input or review cycles down to a crawl unless you establish clear rules ahead of time with them, and allow for extra effort on your part to make their involvement as quick and convenient for them as possible so they don’t hold up you up. You should always be very clear about what feedback is required, when it is required, and the tangible business benefit of meeting the deadline.

Use actions learned to get quality content completed faster

The rush hour traffic you face daily in your content creation efforts isn’t going away. We can all agree speed-to-market is an important component in developing content, so you need to learn to manage the drivers of your content to get to your destination as quickly as is reasonable without forsaking quality. Every minute you waste in traffic is a minute that could be lost releasing great content and generating leads and opportunities for your organization.

If you’d like to share any of your own driver personas with me, please leave a comment here or connect with me on LinkedIn.

content, content collaboration, content contributors, content creation, content marketing, content marketing drivers, content strategy

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