This is a true recent experience. First dates can be awkward. In essence, you are meeting someone for the first time and you are unsure if there will be compatibility, chemistry, or laughter. You want to make sure you come off as real and be a gentleman no matter what, because even if it does not work out, you don’t want to damage your personal brand. In warming up to someone, you would like things to go well. Don’t burn the bread and make sure that your bed is made if that someone is coming over for dinner.

When companies are engaged in content marketing, they want to try and create content for their customers and prospects that they want, need, and love. Content should not be overly sales oriented; it should be created somewhat selflessly with the emphasis on making the customer the hero.

Act One

So the wine has been poured, there are pots cooking on the stove, and the asparagus is roasting in the oven. We are hanging out in the kitchen talking and laughing, so I feel like it is a good time to get a little closer to my lovely date. I feel like I am smoothly moving gracefully towards her but instead proceed to knock her wine off the counter onto her and the floor. I feel like a muttonhead, this is the first blow to the ole’ personal brand.

Not a quitter, I think to myself that this is a recoverable offense. I apologize and she is sweet about it. Out of the 350-degree oven comes the asparagus. Again, trying to follow proper gentleman protocol, I hand her a spear of the asparagus to taste. She takes it, bites into it, and sears the roof of her mouth. It was too hot. I did not think about the fact that it needed to cool, I just handed the damn thing over and shredded her mouth like you do eating a bowl of Cap’n Crunch.

Once again I apologize and think to myself my brand is all but gone at this point. I feel like Janet Jackson at a halftime show. I apologize again and she is a good, no make that a great, sport about it.

Your company has many pieces of content that will be created and distributed through different channels. Some content is better than others.

You need to track, monitor, and measure your content. Some of the content will not resonate with your target audience. You have to be willing to stop creating the content that is not working and amplify and create new content based on the content that does work. You can still save relationships with prospects that your content may not have resonated with initially.

Act Two

Aside from the wine spill and the burnt mouth, we are having a good time and retire to the couch to watch a movie. My 35-pound cocker spaniel decides to join us on the couch. My date likes dogs and he is normally very sweet so this seems like a good thing. He proceeds to climb over me and on to one of her legs. To my dismay, he begins humping her.

Yes, that is right—the dog is humping my date’s leg.

I am sure there is no recovery from this as she probably thinks I taught him that trick. I gently remove him from her and ask her if I can pay for counseling as a result of the assault from my dog. We both wind up laughing hard about it, because it is one of those things you just can’t plan for, and it was obviously not premeditated.

Like dating, content marketing is a process. It is foolish to assume you will get leads or sales immediately. Companies need to develop a strategy, stick to it, and be willing to change it, but you must commit to the program. Ego needs to be left behind.

There may be certain content programs that, much to your surprise, do not work. You have to be willing to kill things on the fly and begin again. If you make some bad moves with your content marketing you can still recover and engage your target audience with newer, more relevant content and turn them into leads.

Fortunately for me, I was able to bounce back from my first date fiasco and we will see each other again.