Teddy Craig in Social Marketing Solutions, Marketing, Creative and Media Professionals Community Manager • The Lane Agency Oct 16, 2016 · 2 min read · +700

Creating and promoting content? Why you need to learn from the worst.

Creating and promoting content? Why you need to learn from the worst.Over my years as a stand-up comedian, then a writer of TV/Radio comedy and now as a social media and content professional, I’ve managed a few recurring phrases.

“They’re not funny!”

That’s what I’d howl, while watching someone crop up on a panel show who I considered to be comedically inferior to myself when I was a stand-up comedian.

“That’s not as good as things I’ve written!”

That was my response to any TV or Radio comedy I didn’t approve of.

“But this campaign is rubbish!”

That’s what I’d find myself babbling while looking at anything I felt I could outdo in the world of social media and content.

I’ve wasted a lot of years on that mentality.

Moaning, instead of learning.

Recently though, I’ve realised just how much knowledge there is to be gained from bad end products (if we’re to filter out the 90% of times I was just moaning, leaving the 10% of times I probably had a point).

How so?

The simple truth is that if someone or something is doing better than their resources (be they financial or talent based) should seem to allow… then they must be doing something right.

They’re making more effort than you.

They’re building better relationships than you.

They’re being cleverer with how they package and present things than you.

Because I was a purist (which, as with ‘perfectionist’, is how people being arsey like to describe themselves to avoid acknowledging that they’re being arsey), I always felt that I just had to produce the best piece of creative work, sit back and wait for it and me to attract all that it deserved.


Over the years, I’ve worked on or around projects that I felt weren’t creatively up to scratch.

The thing is, to even get to the point of existing, they had to do certain things:

· They had to fill an existing demand or create a new demand to fill. They weren’t created on spec’ to fill a demand that didn’t exist outside of my head.

· They had to achieve buy-in from those commissioning it. Buy-in that comes from having or being able to build a relationship. Which doesn’t have to involve, as I used to believe, “being an arse-licker”.

· They had to have amplification e.g. via a TV channel or via paid support on a channel such as social media. Paid social media promotion not being, as I used to think, “cheating”.

So if a terrible sitcom comes onto my screen, or a terrible YouTube video appears on my Facebook feed, or a comedian I’d leap into a river to avoid listening to crops up on Mock The Week — they’ve done something well.

The end product?


Getting it to the stage where I could notice it?


Before I realised that I just used to ignore anything I didn’t consider to be up to scratch.

I’d see low quality but heavily-promoted sitcoms on TV and just roll my eyes.

I’d see low quality but SEO-optimised articles generating a ton of traffic and think that the people who created it couldn’t teach me anything.

I’d see low quality performers earn crazy money and think theirs was an example to be shunned.

The thing is, all of the moments I’m describing were just that.


Flashes in the pan.

Because the end product was bad.

What they did to reach that moment though?




So if I’m confident that I’m working on a quality product…

…or that I’m producing a quality product…

…or even that I am a quality product…

…and I promote that with methods I’ve seen create such an impact for bad products?


For the end product?

Learn from the best.

For everything up to that point?

Learn from the worst.

Miriam Rogado Luesma Oct 17, 2016 · #3

Thanks for sharing! :)

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Susan Rooks Oct 16, 2016 · #2

Well said, @Teddy Craig! I agree that when viewing things that are in the world of our specialty, it can be tough to sit through what's not done well. You really gave me a few things to think about, and for that I thank you!

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Jae Prowse Oct 16, 2016 · #1

Great article, Teddy. You're not the only one to have sat in judgement of the 'poor' work of others - I know I have! It's a human trait, but learning something from the good and bad is it what helps us hopefully improve, as humans and marketers. Thanks for posting this. Top read!

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