Marketing experts keep saying that you need to follow trends on social media in order to grow.
But following trends leads to disaster: total burnout and brand confusion.
The way to win is to lead your market with content from a place of depth and clarity which leads to community and engagement. In this hot take, Chris Decker, CEO and co-founder of Salescast, will show you how to break out from the flock and finally lead from a position of strength in your content.
[Transcript] Following Content Trends Is A Recipe for Disaster
We are joined by Chris Decker, CEO and co-founder of Salescast. Chris is a friend, salt of the earth, just a good guy all around, and has really interesting views on all things marketing content that I think you’ll enjoy. so without further ado, Chris, please, take it away.
All right, how’s everybody doing? Good morning if you’re here in the United States, whether you’re on the West Coast or the East Coast. And if you’re joining from somewhere around the world, perhaps good evening; thank you for tuning in to Hot Takes Live. This is one of my favorite events.
Today I’m going to talk about how following content trends is a recipe for disaster.
A little bit about myself. I’m a family man, I’m an aspiring pastor, I’m a surfer here in Southern California, where they have the best waves, and I have a family vlog, so you can find that on YouTube.
I’ve got to interrupt for one second; the best waves are in Portugal, just for the record.
The hundred-footers out there. All right, so I’m going to talk a little bit about the origin. Here at Salescast, I’ve had the privilege of helping to launch several hundred podcasts and social media content channels for everybody, from just getting started to mega mega influencers in the space, and I started to notice the same problem over and over again.
Losing focus and following the wrong trends tends to lead to disaster in the following ways: it’s really easy to become obsessed with what your competitors are doing, and this leads to what I call the comparison trap. It’s almost like being frozen because you’re unsure of what to do because you’re looking all around you instead of looking at what is inside.
The second thing is trends don’t last forever. There’s definitely a half-life to those; they eventually fall away. If you’re too early or too late, it can actually backfire.
The third is when you’re measuring the wrong things, you might get a huge uptick, if you’re catching on to the right trend. But it’s not going to last over time, and so if you’re measuring that uptick and you’re assuming that’s going to be the way it is forever, it doesn’t really work that way.
So I’d like to encourage you to measure something different because whatever gets measured actually increases. So are you going to increase something that’s temporary, or are you going to increase something that has longevity to it? Trust me, follow me on that logic.
In short, I want to encourage everybody here, and I know I only have a short amount of time, is to pave your own path. What does this mean?
By focusing on the road ahead, you can navigate the turns and the peaks, and the valleys with ease. Here’s a compelling visual to keep in your mind. I’d like you to think of NASCAR, of driving really fast, and if you get hit, or your car starts spinning out of control, it’s very easy to then look at the wall and to look at the danger. But it actually requires looking toward where you want to go to actually avoid that danger.
It’s really interesting; you can be in the middle of the desert, people have gotten a flat tire or spun out of control, or something happens; they hit an oil selector, literally in the middle of the desert. And somehow, they hit the only telephone pole for several hundred yards. Why is this? Because we tend to stay focused on the things we want to avoid.
I would like you, instead of focusing on the things you want to avoid, in this case, your social content, you want to avoid people not liking it, and you want to avoid wasting time and wasting money; yes, that’s true. But I want you to focus on what you want, what your outcome is here. So in order to do that, we have to come up with a compelling ‘what’ and a compelling ‘why.’
Let’s think of what your objective is and why you’re going to do that because that’s going to be a huge powerful guiding force. That’s going to drive you with momentum; it’s going to pull your content forward versus avoiding that failure.
We want to embrace the power of story. It’s the ultimate competitive advantage; we’re all addicted to story; it’s how our minds work. It’s how we think; it’s how we’ve been conditioned with Disney movies since we were children.
Stories are what drives the world; it’s what drives business; it’s what keeps us engaged in hitting next. And eventually, we’re on Netflix, and they have to remind us, they have to literally ask us, “Are you sure you’re still watching?” That’s the power of story.
And there are the right trends to follow and the wrong trends to follow. Don’t get me wrong. You don’t want to be living under a rock, there are cool things going on in the market that you want to check out, and you want to be a part of. You don’t want to necessarily only be paving that.
I also want to talk about sparking new content innovation. Just like we innovate our products at our companies, I want to innovate the way that we communicate; I want to innovate our content and apply those same things like MVP, iteration, the all those things that we apply to our product that our users use. I want you to think in the same way about your content.
So what does this mean in practice? Well, I want to focus specifically here on content innovation because this is going to have the most impact in the least amount of time.
I want to encourage you to think in the following way.
New voices. Now, something’s interesting if you’re feeling stuck and you’re not sure what to post; you’re not sure what your company’s message and direction can be, what can be really fascinating is to start to get new voices, different people, different industries, different job titles, different departments.
Start to ask them questions, that lead me to new questions, but I’m going to stay focused on new voices, get new people around you. Consider hiring a coach, find a consultant, go down the hall to a completely different department in your organization, ask somebody in a completely different industry, and start to gather new voices, start to hear different things.
By having those new voices, it’s going to stir something inside of you. It’s going to help you think differently, and by thinking differently is when we can really start to pave our own path.
Number two is to ask new questions. The answers we receive and the answers we put out are typically because of the questions we ask. For example, if we stay really focused on “How do we grow this year? How do we generate 10,000 leads?” how, how, how, how, how. We’re going to stay stuck. ‘How’ is a trap. ‘How’ is dangerous. Get out of ‘how’ as soon as possible.
Trade your ‘how’ for ‘who’ trait and ‘who’ also go back to the ‘what’ and the ‘why.’ If you can get really clear about your objective, what are the things that are going to get us to those ten thousand leads? So our objective is to get to those ten thousand leads; why do we need to get to those ten thousand leads? Well, because we need to expand our impact in our company, we need a bigger user base so that we can iterate faster, whatever that ‘why’ is, get really clear on it.
And then the third, back to new voices, is ‘who.’ Who is the best person to help us with this? That could be the total game changer, so I’d encourage you, if you’re asking the ‘how’ question too often, it’s likely you’re very stuck and kind of frustrated; just ditch ‘how’ altogether. Start asking different questions. You’ll get way better answers, and you will not have any trouble with content innovation from here on out.
Ask better questions of your content, ask your audience questions, and always be asking questions. Asking questions is also one of the pinnacles of the core podcasting model. If anybody is familiar with a typical guest interview podcast, it’s all about the questions.
Even today, Hot Takes Live. It originally started with a question, “Hey, what is something that you find yourself repeating over and over again that you know is true in your industry?” and that sparked this entire talk, that sparked this entire movement of the Hot Takes Live. So new questions can totally change everything.
New perspectives. I don’t know if any of you have ever experienced this, but if you’re in the office and you’re starting to feel stuck, and you go on a walk. You go on a walk in nature, or you go do something different that you haven’t done for a while.
For me, it could be going out into the ocean; it could be taking a walk near where I live; it could be literally going to a different office for the day, just renting a WeWork office for the day and getting a new perspective; going to watch a movie that I normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to do. Going to see the new Avatar movie just in the middle of the day, getting a new perspective, changing, and getting around things that are going to get my mind thinking in different ways.
New passions. Passion is one way that we can definitely expand ourselves the fastest. So have you ever wanted to do something since you were a kid, and you just haven’t really been allowing yourself to do that? Have you ever wanted to try something new in your company and you really haven’t done that, or are you kind of tired of some of the things that you’re doing in your job? So those would be the problems.
But then, is there something that really excites you, that really motivates you, that you love about these things? So you can try and experiment and find some of those new passions and start to dive into them. People will pick up on passion all day long.
And then the final is new experiments. You don’t have to commit to anything long-term; you can try something for a quarter, give yourself one week, give yourself one day, and try posting once a day for one month. You can do these things within an experiment pattern. Learn from them, and only if it works, should you decide to pour rocket fuel on it and continue that on in your organization.
Now why did I focus on these five things for so long, the majority of my talk? It’s because if you decide to do these things and start engaging in these five practices of content innovation and you start to share that out with people in the written word, in video, in images, through audio and podcasting, and you have a regular content engine for doing that; it’s going to be fresh, it’s going to be exciting.
There aren’t many trends involved with these things, this is a discovery and identity process, and then your competitors will be looking at you and saying, “What the heck are you, what are they doing? This is incredible!” They’re going to start to try and follow you. This is how you set trends; this is how you become a trendsetter; this is how you create your own destiny here in content.
I don’t want you to just be a follower of others. like, that’s great, you can be a follower, but I want you to be a leader in content. I want others to see you as someone who’s creating something unique and bringing value to the world because you are unique. Your company is unique; your organization is unique. There are so many things about you that make that special, and I want more of those things to come out and be represented in your voice.
So I’d like to quote our Head of Content Strategy, Edward Purmalis; he’s absolutely brilliant; he says this, “Have a strong WHY and distribute that ‘why’ through compelling content everywhere your customer may reside. Experiment frequently and enjoy the process.”
If that’s all you take away from this session, would be, instead of looking at what everyone else is doing, just turn off your feed for a little bit, decide right now why you’re doing what you’re doing, distribute that, figure out a way to communicate that in a way that you enjoy, that sparks passion, that allows you to get new voices, that allows you to ask a new question, that that allows you to bring your customers in your audience into the journey, and get that everywhere.
Right now, I’ll just give you a 10-second hint. Short-form content is the discoverability engine of the internet. Gen Z is skipping Google entirely, and Tik Tok is the new search engine. So that short-form content, if you can master short-form video, one minute or less, and start getting that everywhere, is absolutely one of the best things that you can do today.
Get that everywhere, get that everywhere your customers may reside, where they live, what is their watering hole, and where they are going to listen to a conversation. You see, it’s not an attention problem today; it’s a message problem. And so if your message just looks like everybody else’s message, it’s going to get ignored, but if you’re focusing on those five content innovations, new voices, new questions, new perspectives, new passions, new experiments, your content will always be fresh and exciting.
This is for people that are dead serious about content creation; this is for people that want to experiment with this and have an execution partner on their side. If you are super serious about this, we will facilitate your first content recording session.
If you’re anywhere near Southern California, you can come into the studio, and I’ll record an interview with you. That’ll serve as your first episode; we’ll put together an entire free content package for you; you can go launch with that, run your own experiment, you do that. If you like that we can put together a customized plan for you and have you cooking with your own content engine every single month.
We would love to work with you and would love to share this opportunity with the Hot Takes Live community. This is for those that are serious. Please, if you want to do this, I’m telling you we can record virtually; you can come to the studio we’ll put together that launch package for you; it’s my service to the world, this is what God made me to do, and I’m so excited to share that with you.
I know I’m a minute over, so I’m going to end this now I believe we have some time for Q&A.
Hot Takes Live
Catch the replay of Hot Takes Live, where 30 of the top SaaS leaders across Marketing, Sales, and RevOps revealed some of their most unpopular opinions about their niche.
These leaders shared what lessons they learned and how they disrupted their industry by going against the grain (and achieved better results in the process).
Chris, we are actually at time, so, unfortunately, Q&A will have to be one-to-one. If people want to reach out to you, Chris, want to have a conversation, how do they do that?
The best way is to go back to this slide here at salescast.co, you can actually book a call directly with me on the site. If you want to just talk about content, if you want to get some thoughts or ideas, or if you want to do this free content strategy, whatever it is, just go right there salescast.co. Thank you so much, everyone, for the opportunity today.
Just to wrap it up, folks. Again I can’t speak highly enough about Chris. Salescast is a partner of Breadcrumbs; they have been instrumental in a bunch of the things that we’ve been doing. Definitely take Chris up on this offer if you are serious about content. Chris, thank you so much. This is only possible because of speakers like you.