Honey Badger Don’t Care (What You Want to Market)

Content marketing is all the rage, but it’s also confusing.Sharing Content

When talking with plenty businesses (or their marketing teams), what I hear most is “so, this content marketing thing is great, but my CEO demands leads, and sales!” And sure. If you’re not creating content that leads to a potential business transaction, then it’s not content marketing. It’s writing. But how does one create content that’s worth sharing?

People Share Entertainment

Look at the picture that starts off this post. It’s kinda small so I’ll show it to you again:


(Can’t see an image? Come Here)

The top post is me sharing my content, an interview with Seth Godin for my radio show. It got six whole shares. Below it is a funny video. That got 243 shares in the first few hours. Look at this one from a couple of days ago:

Mega Sharing

I shared something a lot of people like (music stuff) and someone doing something interesting (guitar playing in one take) and that’s what gets shared.

People Share Emotions

There’s no end of “cute dog” and “cute cat” photos on the net. There’s also “grumpy cat” :

Grumpy Cat

People love to share emotions: excitement, fear, happiness, sadness, outrage, anger. Those spread really easily. Jealousy – that’s a great one. I was once told by a very smart man that the three emotions that rule the event business are fear, greed, and disruption. He’s not wrong. Any event that lingers as a strong and powerful event is built on those emotions. TED, in case you’re about to argue with me, is built on disruption, plus greed (greed to be in the room with those brilliant minds).

The question becomes: does your content have an emotion? Oh hint: “joy” is rarely the emotion people share.

People Share Helpful Material (but not as much)

My most helpful posts are rarely shared. Know what is? The posts that are huge lists, or that are too long to finish in one sitting, or the ones that compile a lot of data in one place for you. And here’s where this piece takes a bit of a turn in the road.

Sharing Is Important, But It’s Not Everything

There’s a two stage mindset to getting content marketing right. You have to create material that someone wants to share (part A) and that material has to find its way to your buyer (part B), who then buys something (okay Part C).

The trick is this: The people who share (A) are not often the people who buy (B), so it’s like figuring out B2B marketing in a way. How do I get Calvin Lee interested in my piece so he shares it with his tribe? How do I convince Mary Ulrich that something is useful to her? That’s the A game.

The B game is getting that content to be both interesting for Calvin and Mary but also something that DJ wants to buy. How do I write something or create a video or make a podcast that draws in your attention, entertains you, gives you an emotion, convinces you to share so that someone else will buy, and then make it so good that the someone who should buy will actually take an appropriate next action?

Does that sound easy to you?

We’ll talk about this more in the coming days.

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  • http://remarkablogger.com Michael Martine

    Your most important social media tool may just well be a good sense of humor. :)

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Can you imagine? Maybe so!

    • http://twitter.com/benjaminmcdon Benjamin McDonald

      I would add tantalization.

    • http://twitter.com/FrancesRusman Frances

      I totally a agree :)

    • http://twitter.com/MattLBrennan Copywriter Matt

      Totally agreed. Your social presence isn’t about you, but if your platform can’t see your personality, then you’re just flat out boring.

  • http://twitter.com/Really_Useful RUTD

    I just shared this. I like sharing your posts, they make me look like someone on the inside track.

    I agree that the value of connecting with the influencer is often underestimated.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Not even the influencer, but the person who spreads ideas well.

      • http://twitter.com/FrancesRusman Frances

        Malcolm Gladwell’s calls them Connectors, Mavens and Salesmen in his book The Tipping Point

  • http://bluwebdesigns.com/ Jac Auguste, Jr.

    Thanks Chris.

    You see, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell people! You just had a better way of putting it :).

    It always seems that adding humor to your posts makes them more interesting and readable. Additionally, you can get away with saying certain things that would totally suck or sound offensive if you were dry and boring.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      And yet, humor’s just one emotion that people share. What others will you use?

      • http://bluwebdesigns.com/ Jac Auguste, Jr.

        It’s all about the reader, customer..: You can use anything from fear to joy, anger, love and anything in between.

        Your message, product, service… should inspire you to use the most appropriate emotion; and like you mentioned, you are not restricted to only one.

        Howerver, I prefer to touch on those positive emotions rather than the negative ones, such as fear and anxiety. In my opinion, the message is more powerful when it brings out something that brightens up the readers moment.

        • http://twitter.com/aandoni5 Arjona Andoni

          It’s true and fear doesn’t work so much anyway. I remember in one of my classes during college we looked at studies about the most effective PSAs and those that inspired sympathy or an emotional connection were more successful than those that tried to inspire fear.

  • http://cashwithatrueconscience.com/rbblog Ryan Biddulph

    Making people feel something…yes, this is content marketing.

    Thanks Chris!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Seems to be the formula. : )

  • Mary Mavis

    Can’t wait for the coming days! You revealed the secret we know, but resist or forget–while we are enamored by our brilliance!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Here’s hoping I can help more. : )

  • https://plus.google.com/105076725141939280120/about Stephan Hovnanian

    This resonates with me big-time. I feel like I put together some very helpful information for people, yet it hardly gets any traction. Then again, I’m still building my platform.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      It took me 8 years to get my first 100 readers.

  • http://www.taniadakka.com Tania Dakka

    HEADDESK Thank you for the headache first thing this morning. :p And no, it sounds like a recipe for the most difficult dish my mother-in-law makes that will take me years to get right.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Sounds about right to me.

  • http://ClimbingEveryMountain.com Mary E. Ulrich

    Wow Chris, thanks for the mention. I agree with Michael that your sense of humor brings readers back time and again. You also share so many personal stories, you are a real human who readers can consider teacher, mentor, friend giving us valuable information and advice.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      We agree!

  • http://www.bernixiong.com/ Berni Xiong (shUNG)

    I always laugh about how my social media connections share and comment most on my photos about dogs and food… who cares about inspirational content? So I know exactly what you’re talking about here! ;P

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan


  • http://www.tessahardiman.com/ Tessa

    I think about how to do this a lot…when you find the exact formula, let me know! But I think you just kind of have to figure out what works for your audience and repeat it.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      There’ll never be an exact formula, but I’ll give you more ingredients for the recipe.

  • http://www.brunobabic.com/ Bruno Babic

    It all comes down to the importance of writing something that you’re truly passionate about and also believe in. Because I guess that way it’s going to be easy for you to find those who wanna share as well as to convince the so called influencers to share your content with their subscribers and partners.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Passion certainly helps, but it’s communicating your passion that’s the trick of it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/scottwayres Scott Ayres

    Yeah it’s always disheartening when you spend days on a solid blog post, get the right graphics, type up an amazing piece and post it … And nothing happens.. No one shares it, a few comment and that’s it. But you post a picture of a dude wearing a unicorn outfit and it goes viral..

    But there is value in posting whimisical and silly things as it keeps you connected with your audience and helps people remember you are human, and not just some droid posting blogs.. Good points.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      One gets you the other, I’m starting to find out. But that’s for another time.

  • tomRmalcolm

    Hi Chris,
    If the people who are already in your tribe, are not sharing the most important stuff, I think does not necessarily mean they are not wowed by it. They may be doing the “look-around-and-slide-it-in-my-pocket-while-no-one-is-looking” thing, because they do see it as very valuable. The silly stuff that is shared is fun and people like to share and be validated as having a good sense of humor. I think people may tend to hold their important business “cards” close to their chest, by instinct.

    So I would say keep on generating the worth while stuff AND the silly stuff.
    Because I also think that those who share the silly stuff are ALSO your buyers. Unless there’s data contradicting that.


    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Very great point of view, Tom. “I’ll horde this secret” might be the mindset, you say?

      • tomRmalcolm

        Yes, mostly. Though, I think some don’t frame it in such literal terms. They instinctively, just “keep it”.

      • tomRmalcolm

        Yes, mostly. Though, I think some don’t frame it in such literal terms. They instinctively, just “keep it”.

  • http://about.me/josephmanna Joseph Manna

    Great explanation, Chris. This dilemma is a problem faced by many marketers, where their target audience isn’t their target buyer and vice-versa. I’m getting more into podcasts myself – and while I might not share them, I will consume them.

    There’s a cost / reward to creating compelling cotent. For instance, recording a podcast with Seth Godin probably took a lot of emails, scheduling and time in producing it. The reward is that you reach your target buyer at the expense of not having it promoted across social channels.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      You’re right about costs. I’ll have to cover that in some way, Joe.

  • bcoelho2000

    We’re “strange” beings… For instance, I’ve been following Seth’s blog for some years now. YET, I’ve never bought ONE of his books in spite of LOVING using his ideas to build my platform! Most of those posts I didn’t even share or like or RT!

    However, now with The Icarus Deception something changed or the timing is right… I don’t know for sure. What I do know is that I need that book :)

    I guess I want it because Seth can explain better than I can the revolution that we’re living in… and how can I make more than just a difference – a meaningful difference!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Like with all things, we buy what is useful.

  • http://troolsocial.com Elaine Lindsay

    Good content with photos and a bit of a chuckle .. sounds like a plan.. It seems that this is a good recipe for all marketing.. no?

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      At least for digital marketing. Harder to translate offline. : )

      • http://troolsocial.com Elaine Lindsay

        Bazinga!! TROOL-Y more viable in the digital realm! 8-)

  • http://twitter.com/JonMikelBailey Jon-Mikel Bailey

    The guy at your party telling you about his job… is boring. The guy peeing in the potted plant is a douche. The guy telling you a great joke as if you’re the only person in the room, is a blast! But maybe the person listening to the joke is the real winner.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      Great way to line it up. : )

  • Debbie Elicksen

    Great tips, Chris. And who doesn’t love that honey badger? He’s such a bad ass. :)

  • Stella

    Good Afternoon all.

  • http://www.sideraworks.com/ Matt Ridings – Techguerilla

    Information doesn’t flow through a social network the way most people think it does. Building a volume platform can mean targeting people who will never buy your product/service (perhaps through sharing of grumpy cat let’s say)…but who are connected to people who will, sometimes a few degrees removed. This is also where most ROI evaluations fail.

    It’s a multi-faceted process with a lot of touchpoints and trying to apply direct marketing metrics to a relationship marketing result is misguided at best. Also, contextualizing shares/views/etc. and their related conversions is important otherwise we could all just put porn on our sites and watch our page views skyrocket…while going broke.

    So yeah, I’d take a 10% conversion of 100 people sharing my stuff over a 1% conversion of 500 people sharing any day of the week. But would you have gotten the 100 shares without the other interesting…but unrelated…sharing of stuff that helped build the audience in the first place? There’s the rub :)

    Oh Honey Badger cares, he cares a lot. But he’s also a sly fox.

  • http://www.DataScopic.net/ Oz

    Fear, Greed and Disruption (FG&D).
    Over the past 48 hours I’ve reached saturation with that type of content, and I’m wondering if other people are in a similar place.

    As you point out, there’s no end to cat photos. They’re neither scary, greed inspiring or disruptive. (Well, I hate cats and am having success in blocking them on my FB timeline. Minimizing the disruption.)

    I read so much stuff that feeds into FG&D and I finally realize

    - the deodorant I use is good enough,
    - the new SEO analytics someone it teaching, I’m never going to implement,
    - I’m going to keep drinking coffee and bourbon in spite of the newest study,
    - the 50-page PDF on The Perfect Website, I’m never going to read.

    I’m not hard-headed, I’m just exhausted by all the FG&D-based content. It’s inspired me to look at the spin in my own blogposts, and use this to guide future blogposts.

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      You might be tired of FG&D, but it will always be the primary motivator of selling most items. Sad, but true.

      • http://www.DataScopic.net/ Oz

        Initially, I agreed, and then I thought about it.

        We made telemarketing a criminal offense. We don’t see as many pop-up ads as we used to. There’s this constant cat-&-mouse game around television and consumers trying to avoid commercials.

        Articles about “banner blindness” warn that people are being trained not to see banner ads on web pages.

        As more & more people slap up blogs, and market their stuff on Facebook, there’s going to be a backlash. Part of the backlash is more people taking their activity into private groups and forums where they can make rules against spamming and selling.

        Finally: when I sold tickets to my nonprofit’s fundraiser, there was no FG&D. There was a plea to help women who were trying to turn their lives around.

        And when people buy tickets to see Django Unchained, there’s no FG&D.

  • http://twitter.com/SusanGiurleo Susan Giurleo

    OK, good summary of what gets shared. The bigger question is why do we want it shared? How does sharing grumpy cat meet my goals? I have a new twist on this and it’s this: I share fun stuff because it’s fun. I share my content to appeal to the exact client I want to attract. It gets shared less, yes. It also has brought in 10 new clients over the past 7 days. Our time is so limited, so spending it trying to reach a large group of people to feel emotion is really a waste of time (unless you are trying to build a reputation as an entertainer of some sort, I suppose). Don’t try to pull emotions just cause you can. Because you can. But why? What purpose does it serve?

    • https://plus.google.com/105076725141939280120/about Stephan Hovnanian

      awesome point Susan!

    • http://chrisbrogan.com/ Chris Brogan

      If that’s working, then keep doing it. Congrats! You’ve mastered it.

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  • https://plus.google.com/108478071979063962649/ Michael Cunningham

    Good insights, Chris. Glad I didn’t read this before bed or anything because my mind is zooming right now.

  • http://twitter.com/YourCityOffice Your City Office

    If you ever feel the need learn humility, just remember that your most effective marketing campaigns will never have quite as much power as a cat being followed around by a cameraphone.

    • http://www.facebook.com/stedic Steve Dickey-Gallant

      No truer words have been written, I laughed pretty hard when I read this in Morgan Freeman’s voice.

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  • BAllison

    I think you raise many good points! I personally get really annoyed when businesses post a bunch of irrelevant info that clutters my news feed. If I actually like or follow a business it is because I want information about the business, not goofy pictures of animals. My friends post enough of those.

  • http://twitter.com/MattLBrennan Copywriter Matt

    I think it just comes down to personality. You’ve got to have some. If all you’ve got is the same six industry tips that have appeared on every other site, people just aren’t going to be that interested. But if you’ve got some unique insights with copy that’s original, you’ve got something. Make us laugh, make us cry, but for heaven’s sakes help us get through what you’ve written!

  • http://www.facebook.com/markanthonylinton Mark Anthony Linton II

    Very stimulating content. I am intrigued by the thought process, and eager to read more.

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  • Jennifer Sovik

    Hey Chris. This article definitely helps break the theory down to make it easier to understand. I do have a question though. I have been reading a lot about what to put in content and what not to put in content. One of the main things I kept seeing is don’t post things that are not in context of your business or business plan. I think for the majority of the time this makes sense but posting a funny picture to start someones day might help build a relationship with the reader. Do you think all content needs to be in context or is a random post sometimes ok?

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