Creating content? When is it time to pivot (or quit?)

creating content

By Mark Schaefer

I recently had a conversation with pioneering blogger Chris Brogan and he mentioned that he had ended his latest podcast series and had begun a new one. “I just thought it was time to create something new,” he said.

This seems like such a simple idea, and yet it set my wheels spinning. Creating content means building equity in an audience and a body of work. What would make you decide to walk away from that?

My promise to you on this blog is that it will always be relevant, interesting, timely, and entertaining. It will be worth your time and I will never let you down. But what if the ideas no longer come to me? What if it becomes a chore? When is it time to end this thing … or any content project on the web?

The art and science of stopping

I’ve been consistently creating content for eight years. I’ve blogged at least twice a week, every week, since 2009. I’ve written six marketing books in that timeframe. Tom Webster and I have published more than 100 episodes of The Marketing Companion podcast over four years. I’ve consistently posted on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn (and less consistently on YouTube and Snapchat) … and I’ve never considered the thought of quitting.

It’s a delicate subject but an important one. What are the signs that you’re getting stale, that your audience is dis-interested, or that it’s simply time to start something new?

Tom and I had never debated this before. We started The Marketing Companion in 2013 without ever having a discussion about our long-term goals, and our purpose … let alone the end the game. We did it to learn about podcasting and have a little fun along the way (and we do).

But the show has become a “thing” now. We have sponsors. We have thousands of people all around the world who listen to every show. But one day we will have to pull the trigger and stop. What does that look like?

So this new episode of the podcast is dedicated to “stopping.” Tom and I have a frank discussion about our expectations and endings. We reveal for the first time a period last year when the show was in crisis and what we did about it.  We’re NOT stopping, but I think you’ll enjoy this very unusual show on endings …

If you can’t access the episode above, click on this link to listen to Episode 101

Other ways to enjoy our podcast

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Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here:

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Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Kimberly

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  • Guys, you know your podcast is great, don’t you? I’ve followed some personal advice from Mark to keep a log of all the positive signals that show that my business is progressing. I’ve done a mild pivot so that I can focus more on copywriting and editing. Thanks again for all your insights ??

  • Hi guys, that sniff right after the Coke comment was classic! I wanted to mention, though it might very well be to your knowledge…If comments on the podcast are difficult to come by. I wonder what putting the podcast onto Soundcloud could do. The thing about doing it there is that it allows users to place their cursor right over the point at which you mention something they have a desire to chime in on. I think there are a few instances where I would like to say something on a podcast: “That’s great.” // “Couldn’t have said it better.” With using Diqus for comments, I have to do what I am doing right now – spend time referencing the point at which you were speaking about the line I am now making a comment on. Seems people are WAY too lazy to go through the effort of recapping where and what it is that you said that was so pivotal… so, unfortunately, they shy away from making comments. I think maybe that is why the format of Facebook updates works and Facebook live — because people can comment exactly at the time something was said in real-time. It’s interesting to think about. Thanks for an interesting podcast. You two are adorable! And reaching for Cosmo for advice was such a clever way to lead into how you two were going to dissect your relationship. Love it! Thanks!

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