Introducing Content That Works: A series of hand-crafted posts about how businesses should use content that isn’t crap


This post is the first of a series focused on content.

As it is the beginning, 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 highlighting your computer screen with a yellow pen, here is 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 or reviewing or syndicating content, 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 banks, airlines and politicians.

The specific kind of content I create is the kind of content used by businesses to communicate with customers. Therefore, I spend lots of time exploring the content that companies who are not my clients create or commission that is intended to do just that: communicate with customers.

Over time, I’ve discovered a sad fact: A lot of that kind of content is crap. So, I decided to write this series of posts about business content with the hope that maybe some — just a little, even — of that content would stop being so crappy.

To be honest, my first idea was to collect examples of that crappy content and 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 my blog to show up when someone searches for “crappy business content.”

So, I am calling these posts “Content that works.”

The first post in the series will appear tomorrow (Thursday, March 4). The name of that post will be: “The two kinds of online content that matter most to business customers.”

I know you’re already thinking, “Wow, I wonder what they are? I can’t wait until tomorrow to find out.”

I can’t either.

Rule #2: Great content is something you look forward to.

*Some people who read this blog may be responsible for the success of the content their company uses when attempting to communicate with customers. Guess what? You can hire me (and, more importantly, legitimate content analysts and strategy people at Hammock) to run a whole battery of tests and analysis on the effectiveness of the content that appears on your websites, publications and other customer media (including the type of customer content that nearly always fails: those hard-to-understand instructions that come with products). While I’m at it, it has also come to my attention that many, if not most, of the people who read this blog don’t know I do consulting, speaking and, on occasion, even some specialized training for hard-to-convince executive-types related to the wonders of content that actually works. They also don’t know my phone number is: 615-690-3456.