RR. 11 | Rewind with Larry Kim and Rethink Your Content Strategy for Your Unicorns

Picture of Larry Kim For the Rethink Podcast who talks about Rethinking Your Content Strategy

In this Rethink Rewind episode, we return to our conversation with Larry Kim, CEO of Mobile Monkey, who suggests we rethink our content strategy and focus on our unicorns.

Here is an excerpt from our original interview transcript. It has been edited for length. To get the full measure, listen to the original podcast.

What Do You Do Once You Recognize You Have a Content Unicorn? 

NATHAN: Once you identify that outlier and you see the kind of content that the audience is engaging with, do you then just keep on doing that type of content and just make that your content strategy?

LARRY: We’re talking about strategy here. We’ve got this metric, what do we do with it? Well, you’ve got to optimize for it. There are two things you need to do in your strategy. The first thing is you need to spend less time with the donkeys. Because your time is finite. You only have certain amount of hours in the day and certain amount of resources to allocate towards content creation.

The big mistake people are making is that in the past, content marketers would get a lot of value just for showing up. Meaning, if you could just blog three times a week, or run Google AdWords, or Facebook five posts a day, or something like this, there was a certain value in just being present.

Now, what I’m saying is these new algorithms are kicking in, and you no longer get points for showing up. These posts get no shares, no links, no reads. It’s only the outliers that do. It’s basically you’re getting bigger winners and fewer of them. It’s like the difference between playing scratch tickets and Powerball. Fewer winners, but bigger jackpots.

Ignore Your Losers

LARRY: What I’m saying is, you really need to stop wasting your time pushing donkeys. Donkeys are the opposite of unicorns. Unicorns are these great mythical things – your top 1 percent, your outliers. And the donkeys are basically everything else.

The mistake people make is they’ll keep pushing on the donkeys because they can’t overcome their own biases. They think that, ‘Oh well, this campaign didn’t do well on an email blast, but let’s do another email blast.’ Well, my point is just to say that if it didn’t do well in the first 5,000 emails, it’s not going to do any better in the next 10,000 emails.

What you really should do is just drop it and stop wasting time and energy on these things that are going nowhere, because it’s not going to change. The organic rankings aren’t going to improve. It’s not going to do any better if you share it again on Facebook, if it’s still a donkey. So just take a different shot.

Focus on Your Winners

The other mistake people make in terms of strategy when it comes to Moneyball is that when they do have a winner, they don’t milk it for all it’s worth. It would be like if we’re playing poker, and if I dealt you a very unusually strong hand ― like a full house or four aces ― are you going to play that hand in such a way just to grab the blinds and go to the next hand? That’s what a content calendar does. A content calendar says: We’ve got to just blog post every day, and there’s no flexibility because we scheduled the next month. But what I’m saying is, this one unicorn post, the one outlier, will generate 50 times, 100 times more value than all the other posts combined.

Baby Unicorns Content Strategy

Content marketers are just too eager to jump back on the content marketing treadmill to produce the next thing on the calendar rather than milking the hand that they should play for all it’s worth when it’s valuable. I call this ‘making unicorn babies.’ So, if you have a unicorn, what are you going to do with it? Are you just going to play it once and then move on to the next donkey? No. What you need to do is go all in on it and make unicorn babies. You’ve got this one outlier piece of content. You should spend all of your quarter’s budget on promoting that one piece in paid social. You should cancel all the webinars that you have planned for the month and just do this one topic.

It’s a little bit like how CNN goes all in whenever there’s like a plane crash that’s a mystery. They clear the decks. They don’t care what else was on the calendar. And they just go all in on that one really engaging topic. And you might think that this is like, ‘Well, duh, that makes sense.’ But that’s not how people actually do things. I’ll give you an example with paid social, Facebook advertising. A company will say, ‘Oh, I’ve got 10 posts a month, and I’ve got $1,000 to spend on social advertising. Let’s equally divide the budget $100 per post.’ That’s what 99 percent of these companies are doing.

What you really should be doing is just spend nothing. I guess this is kind of like having the budget stay on rollover, if you will, and spending nothing on any post. And when you finally find that post that’s like, you know, the outlier, you should then go all in. You should spend the entire year’s budget on that one post. That’s what you should be doing, but that’s not what content marketers are doing today.