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That Peloton Ad – Mistake or Failure? Plus, How to Keep Audience Attention [The Weekly Wrap]

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And that’s a wrap of the week ending Dec. 13, 2019

This week I’m thinking about the mistake or failure in light of the viral-for-the-wrong-reason Peloton ad. I offer a fresh take on a news piece that explains how The Wall Street Journal uses audience data to keep subscribers coming back. I talk with Jay Acunzo about creativity, show design, and holding audience attention. And I share a post that outlines the five common mistakes you might be making with your content marketing strategy.

Listen to the Weekly Wrap

Our theme this week is failure – let’s design some. Let’s wrap it up.

One deep thought: Fear and failure shouldn’t mix (2:30)

We’re taught early to fear making mistakes. Sometimes the association of mistakes and fear is warranted. (Don’t stick a knife in a plugged-in toaster.) Sometimes the connection is less warranted. (Don’t take a chance on that person/school/career.) A problem arises when you fear all failure – afraid to take risks, to be creative, or to be wrong.

A problem arises when you fear ALL failure – afraid to take risks, be creative, or be wrong, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #WeeklyWrap Click To Tweet

In the spirit of letting failure be our teacher, I explore the controversy around Peloton’s recent creative misfire – and what we should (and shouldn’t) learn from it.

A fresh take: Challenge assumptions about subscribers (10:33)

Earlier this year, Nieman Lab published this interesting look at a media company’s content strategy. The article, Habit Formation: How The Wall Street Journal Turned User-Level Data into a Strategy to Keep Subscribers Coming Back, explores the quest to identify user actions that turn a new subscriber into a loyal one.

They started with the hypothesis they’ve held for some time – if a member downloads the mobile app or signs up for an email newsletter, they’re more likely to remain a subscriber. Members of the company’s data analytics, optimization, and membership teams set out to confirm that assertion.

They found out they were mistaken. Dozens of actions beyond app downloading and subscribing to the newsletter contribute to the likelihood a subscriber will stay, and they fall into clear buckets of actions. I offer my take on what content marketers can learn from this for their content strategies.

.@WSJ’s analysis revealed its subscriber loyalty assumptions were wrong, says @Robert_Rose via @cmicontent. #TheWeeklyWrap Read more Click To Tweet

This week’s person making a difference in content: Jay Acunzo (16:18)

My guest this week is Jay Acunzo, a true thought leader in content. Jay tours the globe delivering keynote speeches and is author of the book Break the Wheel. He’s hosted and produced over a dozen original series about creativity at work, built with brand partners. He’s the founder of Marketing Showrunners, a media company for creative marketers, with subscribers from Red Bull, Adobe, Salesforce, Shopify, the BBC, Mailchimp, and more.

Jay got his start as a sports journalist and previously worked in tech for Google, HubSpot, and the venture capital firm NextView. His thinking has been cited in courses at Harvard Business School and by writers at The New York Times, The Washington Post, Fast Company, Fortune, Entrepreneur, and more. Salesforce called him “a creativity savant,” while American City Business Journals named him as one of Boston’s 50 On Fire.

Jay and I had a great chat about creativity, show design, and why he’s happiest when he’s making stuff “born of anger.”

Jay perfectly summarized one mistake content marketers make today:

People are treating content like it’s about grabbing attention. But no amount of grabbing attention actually matters unless people actually stay – unless we accept that we have a new mandate, which is to hold attention … Get them to the end. Because if they’ve spent minutes or hours with you, everything else is easy.

Listen in on the rest of our conversation, then get more from Jay:

One content marketing idea you can use (32:06)

The post on the CMI site I’d love for you to take another look at is right in line with this week’s theme. The 5 Common Mistakes Every Content Marketer Should Know by Julia McCoy will help you understand why results from the content you create may be mediocre – or worse. To save time analyzing your content fails, start by examining these five frequent stumbling points.

Love for this week’s sponsor: ContentTECH Summit

Join me this summer at ContentTECH Summit 2020, where we’re lining up in-depth workshops, keynote talks, and practical presentations to help you become a more effective, more strategic content marketer. You’ll get insights to help you provide a richer experience for your customers and build a more profitable, stronger business.

I hope to see you and your team August 10-12 in San Diego.

Check out the agenda today.

The wrap-up

Tune in next week when I won’t fail to explain my many thoughts. I’ll share a news item so error-free it won’t make you … sic. And I’ll share one content marketing post that won’t bug you but will help you fix your marketing. Remember, if you change your password to incorrect, the computer will always tell you what it is.

And it’s all delivered in a little less time than it takes for your spouse to buy you a Peloton bike.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute