I am beginning to loathe the term “content.” I have no memories of being dropped on my head as a baby while someone shouted “Content!” so I am chalking my disdain up to an occupational hazard. I do in fact spend an inordinate amount of time in the inner echelons of industries that provide “content.” It could be that I bump into the word so often that familiarity has bred contempt. Or maybe it is something more.
I’m not a content hater. We have a history – we go way back to the days of coloring books where I added content to my pretty pictures. And yes, I also use the word on this very site to describe a subset of my offerings. But content is not quite cutting it for me.
Too many people focus on the buzzword and lose sight that content is all about communicating with other people. Content does not adequately describe the enormous opportunity we have to talk, connect, activate, inspire and crowd source in words, pictures and videos.
The current term makes it all seem so mechanical and devoid of passion and interaction. We have systems and tools to help us “feed the content machine.” We can forget that the content beast is actually a body of hearts and minds that have the capacity to think, feel and most importantly talk back.
Don’t get me wrong. Having a strategy is important, as is measurement. However let’s infuse our purposeful, intentional conversations with a bit of humanity.
Have you ever had a great teacher that made you excited about learning the subject matter? Or have you ever listened to a speaker that had you leaning forward in your seat? You may have been entertained but more importantly you were engaged. Imagine if we approached content with the same passion for imparting ideas, teaching and inspiring discussion? And yes, even entertain – make them laugh, cry or feel something deeply. What if the intent was to get people to lean forward in interest?
In other words what if we focused on people with the same fervor we seek thought leadership, visibility and optimization? How much more successful would we be if went all in allowing our passion for what we do to shine through?
You want to be a real thought leader or content rock star? Give a darn about what you do and who you serve! Get passionate about teaching, inspiring, and pulling back the curtain to bring people into your world. Let how well you are reaching people be the measurement that drives what you do.
I realize that to some this will sound like hippie peace and love talk but make no mistake I am in business to win for me and my clients. But we can’t win if we’re chasing numbers alone. All of us in some way are in the people business. People buy what we produce and without them we are just hanging out talking amongst ourselves.
I will not abandon my use of the word content (not yet anyway) but I will continue to remind myself of the “why” behind all the words. Will you join me?
Karen Swim says
Makasha thanks for raising this point. In business we have become so conditioned to focus on our goals that it can be a challenge to convince the “results oriented” that a focus on engagement will actually produce better results.
Makasha Dorsey says
I just spoke with a client about this. So many times my clients want me to write what they want to hear instead of what engages clients and potential clients. Measurement is important but if you are not actively engaging your market there will be nothing to measure.