Preconceived notions are dangerous in marketing campaigns. Believing that everyone will care about your content, that everyone can be reached in a similar way, and that you can simply copy successful campaigns are tempting cop-outs for any marketer. The social media culture and the misunderstanding that every status is important and widely read feed such notions and inflame the issue. With any campaign (personal branding included), certain truths need to be understood before the research begins.

3-Content-Truths-You-Need-To-Know-In-2014Truth #1: No one cares what you have to say

Every minute, over 347 new blog posts get published, 571 new websites are created, and 100,000 tweets are shared. The data deluge has reached flood stage, sparking conversations of “how to make things viral” and “how to make your content stand out.” A marketer should never believe that anyone will inherently care about the brand they are trying to promote. Be real in your mindset and use the realization as a starting point.

Solution: When creating content, create value. Research your target by assessing the audience, the content that already exists and the ideas, memes and needs that already exist. Once you know your audience, use the brand as a solution to solve the problem. Find the qualities of the brand that answer their direct questions and promote the value of the solution. In doing this, the content will take care of itself, and the conversations of “how to create viral content” will, thankfully, fall away.

Truth #2: There is no silver bullet

If social media has proven anything, it’s that the human psyche is multi-dimensional. While that may be an obvious statement for some, marketers have always had issues remembering it. Take any run-of-the-mill ad campaign and look at the fundamental message: It remains the same for everyone. Although there have been wonderful strides to combat this false pretense, it still exists — and still needs to be destroyed. It is impossible to reach everyone through a single (or two) medium or message.

Solution: Expel the notion that individuals are the same. As a result of your research, create content that uses the brand to solve the problem, embrace the preferred medium (Facebook, blog, twitter) of the target audience, and ENGAGE. This does not mean throw ads at them, but rather find a method by which you can personally interact with the person. Social has given a platform by which individuals can share everything on their minds. Use the data, find the audience, and interact with them in a way that translates the value of the brand.

Truth #3: You want the next big thing, not the last big thing

It’s easy to look at a successful campaign and try to replicate it. Marketers have had this habit for over half a century. The problem is that mimicking a successful campaign can dilute (and in some cases subvert) the research findings that help create a successful strategy, all in favor of what is perceived as a “sure thing.” It is falsely believed that a campaign that works once will work every time, in every circumstance, for every one (see the point above). When it doesn’t, the vicious cycle of marketing articles asking “what works and what doesn’t” begins anew.

Solution: Take the successful parts from the past campaigns and move forward, always being ready and willing to discard any practice that doesn’t agree with the audience research. Never be idle in your strategy and always look for new methods of engagement. The deluge of data mentioned before requires marketers to always be listening, reading, and engaging. In order to be unique, we must know the pulse of the brand’s industry.

Having the right mindset at the onset of every campaign is one of the most important steps in making it a success. For 2014, creating unique content that provides value, meets the individuals where they are and uses successful techniques can be the difference between viral content and forgotten content.