[See also: Table of Contents for this series.]
Over the coming months, I will be writing a series of posts that focus on the role of “content” in how companies and customers connect with one-another. (Of course, when I say “companies,” I also mean associations and governments and churches and schools and candidates. And when I say “customers,” I also mean members and alumni and supporters, etc.) But first, I thought I’d provide an introduction.
At first, I thought I’d start with a complex and indiscernible examination of the nature and meaning of content, maybe something titled “What is content?” complete with footnotes citing Freud and McLuhan. I decided against that, however, as I can think of no content more boring.
If you’re taking notes or high-lighting your computer screen with a yellow pen, Rule #1: Boring content is not good content.
I’d prefer for these posts be engaging and witty. That’s because engaging and witty content is good. Engaging, witty and short content is even better. Engaging, witty, short and packed with expensive Google keywords like “asbestos exposure” is the highest valued content of all (not counting Dan Brown books and movies starring blue aliens).
For the past 30 years, I’ve been a professional content person. Come to think of it, that’s all I’ve ever done. When I’m not creating or working with other creators of content here at Hammock or reviewing or syndicating content our network of freelancers or producers create, I’m pondering how content works to make people buy things and, better yet, stay loyal to brands and institutions important to them. I’m such a content geek, I even study how people use content to express their contempt for large companies and institutions they may not like.
Of course, the specific kind of content we create is the kind of content used by businesses to communicate with customers. Therefore, I spend lots of time exploring, and trying to learn from, the content created or commissioned by others that is intended to do those things we’d like to always do better for our clients.
Over time, I’ve discovered a sad fact: A lot of that kind of content is crap. I’m sorry to use such a word, but it’s nicer than the others I contemplated. So, I decided to write this series of posts about business content with hopes that maybe some — just a little, even — of that content I get from companies (who aren’t, of course, our clients) will stop being so crappy.
To be honest, my first idea was to collect examples of that crappy content and to mock it. But the last thing I want to do is spend my time talking about crappy business content. More importantly, I don’t want hammock.com to show up when someone searches for “crappy business content.”
I am calling these posts “Content that works.”
Rule #2: Whenever you have a blog called “Content that works,” you should include on it essays about what that name means.
Next post in the series: The two kinds of online content that matter most to business users
(Note: A version of this post also appears on RexBlog.com.)