On today’s episode host Britney Gardner delves into the concept of “random acts of content,” also known as “spray and pray posting.” She shares personal stories from her time as a photographer and discusses how this approach can actually be harmful to your business. Using insights from industry experts, Britney emphasizes the importance of intentional content creation and its role in guiding the audience on a journey. With practical tips and a clear call to action, this episode explores how to avoid falling into the cycle of reactive, ineffective content strategies and instead, to create content that truly resonates and brings meaningful results. If you want to step away from the random and into the intentional, then stay tuned for this insightful episode.
Effective Content isn’t accidental. Content ROI is not an accident.
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Highlights in this episode:
- 00:00 Transition from film to digital photography insights for content creation.
- 06:14 Position as the best of one thing.
- 08:19 Create intentional, impactful content for your audience.
- 13:32 Effective content leads to audience commitment and client acquisition.
- 14:25 Clients will return if content is intentional.
Ah, Random Acts of Content – or as it’s commonly known, Spray and Pray Posting. I’ve spent a fair amount of time discussing the absolute and utter perils of this approach–and this article won’t be a flip on that. In fact, the first pillar of the Uncommon Content framework emphasizes mapping out your content, which stands in stark contrast to Spray and Pray Posting.
What is “Spray and Pray” Posting To Content?
But let’s rewind a bit; the term “spray and pray” comes from my days as a photographer.
A little industry insight: when I began my career as a wedding photographer, the transition from film to digital was well underway. Though I started my own business exclusively using digital photography, I had previously worked with film photographers. To navigate this new world, I joined the Digital Wedding Forum – a message board created by those eager to embrace digital technology.
At that time, digital photos didn’t always match the quality of their film counterparts. Photographers had to learn, for example, how to capture highlights and shadows differently. And some didn’t want to relearn their hard-won techniques.
Amidst this sea of change, there were digital naysayers. Instead of learning something new, they accused the newer digital photographer enthusiasts of “spraying” a bunch of images (something that would be very costly with film) and hoping, or “praying” one or two ended up being good.
I see a similar pattern today with AI: some people are resistant to change, while others fear its potential power and impact on their jobs.
Thus, spray and pray content creation is posting whatever, whenever, and hoping something works. This concept is what I’m addressing with the Spray and Pray Posting phenomenon.
How is Content Creation Today Similar To Spray and Pray Photography?
Spray-and-pray content posting, or as some call it, random acts of content, can seem like a viable strategy. You throw a bunch of content out there – an Instagram post here, a LinkedIn update there – hoping that something will stick and potentially go viral.
But let’s face it: relying on viral content to make your business is a shaky strategy at best. (Don’t worry, we’ll save that rant for another day.)
Random Acts of Content Hurt Your Business
Today, we’re focusing on why random acts of content not only fail to build your business, but may actually harm it. Contrary to popular belief, something isn’t always better than nothing. In fact, just showing up without a mapped-out content plan might be worse than not showing up at all. Controversial? Maybe. But it’s crucial to understand this perspective.
I’m here to say something is not better than nothing. Random acts of content, also known as just get something up, something’s better than nothing–it’s bad.
Random acts of content can hurt your business – but don’t just take my word for it. Let’s turn to some expert opinions, starting with Louis Grenier (of the fantastic daily newsletter Stand the F Out). He argues that old-fashioned business advice has misled us into thinking we need to constantly proclaim our uniqueness and superiority. This approach can come across as insincere and salesy.
Instead, many of us retreat to our comfort zones and play it safe by discussing “givens” – those aspects of our businesses that no one can dispute. As Grenier puts it: “any B2B, SaaS, copywriter, graphic designer, fashion photographer or positioning consultant offers.” The problem with playing it safe is that it doesn’t differentiate you from your competition.
These “givens” are what most people retreat to when they’re committing random acts of content. It’s homogenized content. It’s boring. And it will not win you clients.
The Solution is Actual Strategy
So what’s the solution? It’s time to step out of the shadows and develop a strategic content plan that showcases your expertise and sets you apart from the crowd. Remember: sustainable success is built in the shadows.
Let’s face it, we all want to believe that our offerings are top-notch, right? But none of us truly want to boast, “I am the best. You won’t find a competitor. I’m the only option.” We know that doesn’t sound good, and people can see through that nonsense.
Instead of finding our unique way to position ourselves as the best in a specific area (check out a previous podcast episode with Terrica Strozier for more on this), we often default to mundane, mediocre, and frankly, fill-in-the-blank marketing. And guess what? That doesn’t work either.
The Difference Between Feeling Productive and BEING Productive
So when you throw that marketing spaghetti on the wall, you might feel like you’re doing something productive. You’ve checked off your marketing task for the day, and your business will succeed – no need to cry in the corner, right? But let me tell you now: that little dopamine hit you get by posting something and feeling like you’ve done something good for your business is actually hurting you.
Sometimes nothing is better than just something; that “something” must be intentional. Perhaps it’s better to be silent for a day than to post something mediocre.
Posting “something” isn’t better than posting nothing at all.
As Louis puts it, the problem with this approach is that it doesn’t answer the crucial question: Why hire you? That’s kind of the aim of the game.
So what’s the remedy? Ditching your traditional USP in favor of a unique point of view. It looks a bit like this: Take a stand against something. State why you think it’s wrong. Position yourself as the alternative. (Sound familiar? That’s what I’m doing with this episode!)
Louis continues: This tactic works best if it’s generic best practice, a common belief, old-fashioned advice, or an industry convention you feel needs to be challenged – just like I’m doing here in this article. Alright, enough of Louis for now.
Time To Focus On Creating Intentional Content
Impactful content stands as the first pillar of the Uncommon Content framework for good reason. It’s not there just to grab attention in a crowded room; it’s designed to take your audience on an intentional journey. (And yes, that journey may lose some people along the way, but that’s by design.)
Your content acts as a filter, allowing the best match for your services in while gently repelling others to find someone better suited for them.
This intentional journey requires strategy and thought. Content return on investment (ROI) doesn’t happen by accident; it demands building from one piece to another and using your foundation as a springboard for ideas. The goal is to create a solid working experience with your audience.
Now, let’s discuss a piece of content I found from Mina Mesbahi on LinkedIn. Even though it’s five months old, it still resonates with me. She states that every time she speaks with a prospect, their challenges boil down to one thing: no content strategy. This lack of strategy results in a vicious content cycle that includes unclear plans, random acts of content, reactive mode, spending resources on wrong activities, internal misalignment, lackluster results, and feeling overwhelmed. This all circles back to… lack of clarity and unclear planning.
The Three M’s: Make, Measure, Multiply
Here’s the thing – effective content isn’t accidental. Content ROI doesn’t just happen. As I’ve said before, random acts of content don’t take into account the three M’s: make, measure, and multiply.
First, you create content – sometimes as a test or an experiment – even with the best strategy in place. Then you measure: did that test succeed? The final step involves multiplying the successful content and learning from those that didn’t quite hit the mark.
So remember, overcoming that vicious content cycle is possible with intentionality and strategy – and that’s how you’ll achieve sustainable success in the shadows of your work.
It’s like applying the scientific method to your content creation. First, you gather evidence, pose a hypothesis, conduct an experiment, and then analyze the results. Were you right or wrong? Did the content work or not? So, make, measure, and multiply. When it works, amplify your efforts by repurposing it, building upon it, or including it in your audience-growing journey. If it doesn’t work, simply let it go. It’s out there on the internet, and someone might still resonate with it.
Marketing Is An Experiment
Remember, marketing is an experiment and requires testing. The “make, measure, and multiply” approach emphasizes intentionality in your content creation process. You’re not just throwing spaghetti at the wall or engaging in random acts of content. You need to measure those results to know what’s working and break free from the vicious content cycle – the content hamster wheel or treadmill.
One might wonder if they ever reach a point where they can just schedule old content. The answer is maybe. It depends on your niche. There will always be timely news or events you might want to respond to or fresh ideas that spark new content. Of course, you can repost old content if it still holds value and has produced great results in the past. However, there will always be a need for something new here and there – that’s where making, measuring, and multiplying comes in.
Listen, Comprehend, Apply
Content ROI isn’t an accident. Random acts of content don’t take into account the 3Ms (make, measure, multiply) nor do they encourage the audience to listen, comprehend, and apply the information presented.
Good content that resonates should still follow this model: listen, comprehend, apply – ensuring maximum impact for your audience.
When someone absorbs, you know, your content, they truly grasp it. They understand it. Perhaps a specific story is needed to make it resonate and stick with them. Timing is crucial, but for them to apply your content, they must commit to it.
It’s not enough for your content to merely resonate – it has to encourage your audience to commit. They must pledge to continue their journey, possibly with you or perhaps with someone else. That’s the power of content as a filter.
Intentional Content Leads to Clients
Creating intentional content means mapping out the journey that leads your audience toward becoming clients. Does this imply that everyone who follows you for a year or two will become a client? Absolutely not! There will be people who can read between the lines of your fantastic content and piece things together independently – some successfully, others not so much.
Among those who don’t excel on their own, some will return to you, expressing that they feel close to success but need help connecting the dots. These individuals will become your clients, all because you crafted a well-thought-out content journey and decided to put an end to random acts of content.
Do you need help creating a content marketing plan that allows you to shine?
We offer complimentary one-on-one consults to help determine if a done-with-you or done-for-you approach is best for you and your business right now.
Music by Michael De La Torre. Thanks, Mikey!