3 Things Zynga Poker Can Teach You about Content Marketing

zynga pokerI’ve been playing a lot of Zynga Poker lately. Full disclosure: It’s to practice for the next poker night when I’m up against my father-in-law.

And like many things, I’ve been subconsciously relating it to marketing. What a freak, I know. See, poker has a lot to do with representing something in exactly the right way, just like in marketing. You’re not always in control of what’s given to you, also like marketing. Particularly with Zynga Poker, some players have an annoying tendency to go all-in on every hand, or to bet thousands of dollars on crappy pocket cards, like a 3-8 offsuit. That’s kind of like blog spam.

In other words, I’ve come to notice that managing a content marketing strategy is a little like managing a poker hand. The timeless words of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” can help me emphasize this point.

Know When to Hold ‘Em

As blog owners know, not every idea for a blog post is going to fly – kind of like how not every poker hand you’re dealt is worth betting on. Some bloggers keep a running list of ideas, choosing their favorites to tackle each week (or however often they post). The idea is to post only when you have a great idea. If you go ahead and post on every single idea you have, your blog is going to be pretty unfocused, and probably boring. Your readership will dwindle, just like your stack of chips. I’d guess only one in 10 of the ideas I come up with ever makes it into the blogosphere. The ones that don’t make it are just not interesting enough, not relevant to anything, or just not useful. Like a 3-8 offsuit. Fold that bad boy.

Know When to Fold ‘Em

Sometimes a great idea even starts to sound less great the more you write. Maybe the research doesn’t back you up, you realize someone else already wrote it, or it just ends up being lame. Sort of like when you’re knee-deep into a hand and things start getting too hairy, which happens often with the delusional egomaniacs of Zynga Poker. In those cases you just have to bite the bullet and bail out. It’s better to quit now than to keep going, post something mediocre and lose chips.

Know When to Go Big

OK, that’s not a Kenny Rogers lyric. But when you’ve got yourself a really good post, it might be worth it to “go big” – share it on social networks outside of your own, such as Reddit, Stumble, and any forums you belong to, or email it to your friends. This can get it noticed by more people who are interested in the same things you are, possibly resulting in more sharing, more discussion, and more followers. Sort of like upping the stakes heavily on a really good hand. The reason you don’t want to do this with every post is the same reason you don’t want to do it in poker: If you keep doing it, your audience can become disenchanted with your loud mouth. “There goes Peter, making a big fuss again – meh.” This isn’t to say don’t make noise when you’ve got something interesting to say. You just have to be judicious about it.

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