Content Marketing Lessons from Warren Buffett

by Andrew Hanelly |
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Warren Buffett would have made an excellent blogger.

Unfortunately, he’s too busy finding places to stack his piles of money to give it a shot but he really could have been something special.

He’s been through highs and lows in the stock market, and has always managed to come out on top. Along the way he’s learned a lot of valuable lessons, and a much of it can be applied to content marketing.

Some of his best insight:

“Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.”

warren buffett content marketing lessons
Image: thewalkingirony

Success is not built overnight, it takes time. Every piece of content we create helps to further us toward our goals, but no single piece of content will do the trick by itself. The key is to make a reasonable plan you can commit to, because:

“Our favorite holding period is forever.”

Content marketing is a marathon, not a sprint. Spend a lot of time carefully thinking about your approach because you’re going to be sticking to it for a while. Make it feasible within the confines of your resources (so you don’t burn out) and stick to it. But:

“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.”

Be prepared to adapt your approach if you’re not getting traction. Get to know your analytics program for quantitative feedback and monitor social media for qualitative feedback. Pick a few key metrics and pay close attention to them. Learn from your mistakes and move on. But don’t get stuck in analysis paralysis because:

“If past history was all there was to the game, the richest people would be librarians.”

Don’t be afraid to experiment and innovate. Some of the best ideas happen accidentally, so keep your mind open, tinker with things and abandon best practices sometimes. It’s good to be informed, but it’s better to be in the field. Get to work and good things will happen.

“Most people get interested in stocks when everyone else is. The time to get interested is when no one else is. You can’t buy what is popular and do well.”

Following the herd will ensure that you’re always just one of many. If everyone tells you the best time to send email is Tuesday at 11AM, guess what? There will be a lot of email going out at 11AM on Tuesday. Send yours out another time.

It’s true that you should fish where the fish are, but that’s also where all the other fishermen are. Don’t be afraid to look for new ponds.

“There seems to be some perverse human characteristic that likes to make easy things difficult.”

Don’t over complicate things for yourself. Adopt a simple strategy (like posting one time per business day) and stick to it. (Or, as Jason Falls says, “share good sh*t”.)

Warren Buffet doesn’t let distractions deter him from his goals and he’s about as straightforward as they come (for evidence, look no further than his website, pictured below).

warren-buffet-website
Simple, right?

He has built his empire by sticking to his guns, doing his homework, and being in it for the long haul.

If we follow in his footsteps we just might build ours.

Hat tip to Joe Pulizzi for the idea for this post: 3 Things Content Marketers Can Learn from Howard Stern


About the Author

Andrew Hanelly

Andrew is SVP, Strategy for McMurry/TMG and for one semester in college, was a sociology major. He writes at Brain on Digital, as @hanelly on Twitter and here on Google+.