The Importance of a Content Marketing Playground

by Andrew Hanelly |

Trying a trick play for the first time in the Super Bowl is a risk most coaches—at least those who value their jobs—would never take. The stakes are too high. The world is watching. And a mistake could mean everything they’ve built comes crashing down in a few humiliating seconds.

The world of content marketing is no different, except the field in this case is your organization’s or client’s website. The risk, it seems, is just as high. So we cling to our best practices, we make our decisions based on research, and we quote statistics and case studies to justify our every move.

But that doesn’t leave a whole lot of room for creativity or innovation. Where can we see if our content marketing Hail Mary’s would actually work?

Welcome to the Playground

content marketing playground
Try it on the playground before you try it in the game. (Photo via AbieSundion on Flickr)

Step off the field for a second, and jump into the playground. A content marketing playground provides a stage where no one is watching, nothing is being measured, and nothing bad will happen if you mess up.

There’s no worrying about revenue models, CTRs, goal conversion, usability, browser compatibility—or anything really, at all.

It’s a place to break all the rules and dodge all responsibility. But aside from that, there are benefits that will make you a better marketer when the game really is on the line.

Where are the Playgrounds?

Content marketing playgrounds are all over the Internet.

It could be a Twitter feed you set up on a whim, just for the hell of it.

It could be a blog you create, totally unrelated to your niche.

It could be a YouTube project you create, just to see what happens.

It can be a concept-site you create, just to see what it takes to go viral.

The bottom line is that a content marketing playground is an experimental setting where you can try anything you’d like, and no one has to know. What happens on your content marketing playground, stays on your content marketing playground. Unless it’s a lesson you can bring to the table in your real-life job.

What can the Playground do for you?

A content marketing playground will give you:

  • A blank canvas for marketing creativity and innovation, with no judgment or repercussions.
  • A testing ground for experimentation that looks best practices in the face and laughs.
  • A greater understanding of the web, coding, and social media – no matter what level in your organization you are.
  • More respect for the painstaking issues developers deal with on a daily basis.
  • A better understanding of how difficult it really is to build a social media following, regardless of the niche.
  • Credibility and expertise beyond the task at hand, with more experience to bring to the table when the brand is on the line.
  • A great appreciation for trial and error, and more opportunities to test theories and ideas with no repercussion.

So go start a random blog about something completely out of left field. See what happens when you get your hands dirty. And don’t feel bad if you don’t make any money off of it. At minimum, your payment will come in the form of knowing what not to do. And this time, you’ll know from experience.

Besides, playgrounds are fun.

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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+.