Customers Don’t Want Your Content

Key to content marketing: help customers become smarter.

While lots of people (including me) call it “content marketing,” I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they want content. Contentment, yes, but content?

People want knowledge, insight, expertise, wisdom, to laugh, to be entertained.

People want to know how to move a Google doc into a Google Drive folder or help in deciding which among 20 different paper shredders should they buy or where’s the closest place they can order breakfast food for supper.

People want to learn new things, lose weight, be better at bocce, or know what bocce is or have someone explain to them  how no-one they know likes Donald Trump but he leads in the polls.

florida-whiteboardGive people such knowledge and you won’t need to pay for expensive infographics. (The late Tim Russert didn’t need high-tech graphics to make people smarter.)

So here’s how to become great at using content to increase revenues, create long-term customer relationships and many other things you’d rather tell the boss about that how many pieces of content you’ve posted:

Stop thinking about this thing where companies use content in their marketing as “content” or “marketing.” Focus  rather on developing as many ways as possible that enable you to help your customers become smarter.

They’ll love you and you’ll become marketer of the year.


(Sidenote: Whenever I write something like this, I feel the need to credit Doc Searls. He makes me smarter all the time.)

Why I Like Slack

What is Slack and why do I like it?

A few days ago, Dave Winer asked the question to those who follow him on Twitter and Facebook, “Why do people like Slack?” Because Dave rarely asks questions for which I have an answer (I know nothing about “nodes”), I thought I’d jump on this one, as Hammock Inc. has been using Slack since last year.

So I started to answer with a comment on Facebook, but within a sentence I knew this would grow into a post.

First, some context

Read more “Why I Like Slack”

Focus on Content Marketing Mission, Not Methods

Successful marketing is about serving customers. Focus on that first, and you’ll discover a successful strategy for developing and using great content that will fulfill your brand promise and your organization’s mission.

I’m honored when people call Hammock Inc. one of the agencies that pioneered content marketing. (This month marks our 23rd anniversary.) However, I’ve always felt the term “content marketing” can be confusing when it’s applied to everything from blogging and social media to animated kitten GIFs. Unfortunately, when a term is used to label anything, it can start to mean very little.

(Continue Reading on Hammock.com…)

How Apple Masters “The Prestige”

The current Hammock Idea Email is about what you can learn about Apple’s new product launch magic by ignoring the products Apple unveils on Tuesday and focusing, rather, on how they handle the “third act” of any trick, “The Prestige”:

Next Tuesday, Apple will hold one of its famous new product unveilings. If you want to learn why Apple is the master of such unveilings, here’s our advice: Ignore the products they launch. Concentrate instead on watching Apple’s mastery of “The Prestige.”

Continue reading (…)

Sidenote related to obscure blogging thing: After drafting the Idea Email (the emails are collaborative and written by several people, but this one started with my draft), I Google’d to see if there was anyone I should credit with using the film, “The Prestige,” in describing Apple’s unveiling practices. When I saw that my longtime blogging friend M.G. Siegler used the film in September, 2012, I added that credit to the draft (although he concluded “the turn” is what Apple masters, not the prestige). Later in fact-checking, we discovered that on RexBlog, I had used the film The Prestige in an Apple-related post even earlier (in June, 2009) than M.G.’s (or ParisLemon’s) post. After reading and writing thousands of posts, it all cooks down to cajun gumbo that, if lucky, is both familiar but that still has a little surprise kick to it (a metaphor I’m sure hundreds of bloggers have used).

Social Objects, GE & Bonnie Raitt

4_3_2014The 12 readers of this blog will recognize some themes in the essay about social objects appearing in the current Hammock Idea-Email.  Also, thanks to my friend Hugh MacLeod for giving us permission to use his illustration to accompany it. More importantly, thanks to Hugh for introducing me to the idea of social objects several years ago.

Quote:

Social objects come in a wide variety of forms, from cartoons to blog posts to 4-photo tweets. They are the hard currency of the internet, the beginning of a social exchange that creates and fosters conversations that lead to long-term, people-to-people relationships among those who go by such labels as buyers and sellers, shoppers and merchants, creators and collectors.

(Sidenote: Each issue of the Idea-Email contains one 300-400 word essay on an idea we believe will be helpful to a senior marketing executive. You can see an archive of past issues and subscribe to it here.)