Content or dis-content? That is the Question

Business Health-Check

I thought we might start today’s post with a routine business health-check.

Your marketing content, your copy, call it what you will…how’s it going? I mean, how does it say your business is going? Have you taken its pulse recently? Because if you can’t detect a pulse in what your content is saying about your business, the chances are the heart of the enterprise has seized up. You may not even have realised it.

The Ghost of Dead Content Accuses

And here were you all along thinking it was cash-flow that was the issue. Well, yes, it probably is, but that’s because there’s no blood-flow. Blood-flow equals cash-flow. You know, where’s there’s life there’s movement. Basic science that. So what’s this got to do with content? Content is the life-blood of perception, and perception is – if we read your content right – that you’re dead. All right. Comatose.

Let me ask you a really simple question:

Where Does Your Business Live?

Actually, when you stop to think about it, it’s quite a complex little question.

Your business resides in you – in your training, your skills and experience. In other words, your business has personality and history. It lives at an address. Multiple addresses, in fact. There’s a geographic site, which could be anything from a desk in the bedroom to an office in a tower, a shopfront or the cab of your ute. It’s wherever you connect with the work you do.

But it’s also the connection realised when a set of digits triggers a noise response from a mobile device, bringing you into someone else’s orbit. Your business lives in a website, in marketing collateral, in a business card, an email service, a video clip or a directory listing.

Now think how many of these ‘places of residence’ are almost totally dependent on scripted CONTENT to present you to a world of prospects.

And whether this business potential actually converts into relationship; whether it’s transacted into sales or partnership, is almost totally dependent on how others respond to the message presented:

• Is it clear?
• Is it engaging?
• Is it purpose-optimised?

Smart Young Business With Hot Prospects Seeking Engagement

In short, does your content anticipate your prospects ? Does it do this so well that, once they’ve ‘met’ your business through its written messaging, they feel like they know you, can trust you, are clear on what you do and impressed by how well you do it? If not, there’s no engagement. And you know what that means – NO MARRIAGE.

You and I both know very well what ‘lip-service’ is. We know that when you pay it, all you end up purchasing is a one-night-stand. One after another – an endless succession of ‘hellos’ and ‘goodbyes’; a grubby little sequence of low-end transactions that never amounts to relationship, or satisfaction, or anything even vaguely resembling a sustainable enterprise. In business as in love, it’s the same deal.

For goodness’ sake, whatever you do, don’t make your business marketing content strategy an exercise in lip-service. Or if you do, be prepared to be branded a whore.

Full Frontal Content Nudity With A Bollywood Twist

I’ve seen some shockers. Classic example of lip-service exposed (Relax; there’s no nudity on this blog). Get this one. This comes from a website that actually sells content-writing services. I know I’m going to be labelled a racist for saying so, but I suspect its true country of origin is probably a land where they eat hot, spicy food while trouncing us in cricket:

“XYZ Online has the small team of extremely fertile and completely experimental content writers… we are almost capable of conducting research and creating effective content for any topic under the sky… our services are totally priceless, in fact, so you are not having to spend a fortune from getting your web content refreshed to be a young maiden in flower when it was actually your mother-in-law.”

“Priceless” – you said it, brother. And if you think this has been doctored…no comment…. except that the extent is much much less than you might suspect.

And it’s not just the big-ticket content items you have to worry about. As a business, how many emails do you send a day? Not necessarily of the 2-3 line, standard response variety, but important emails broadcast to your whole data-base; emails aimed at promoting a new service, or enticing a prospect to engage with you. Are these not the voice of your brand? Can you really afford to impress a prospect with messed up, meaningless tripe like the email I received from a new Online Community Magazine trying to generate advertising revenue:

“The May issue was well received, seeming as though we were selling dust!”

I know I haven’t supplied the context, but even in the context I was thinking: Are these guys serious? Do they honestly believe I’m going to invest in a magazine that struggles to communicate itself? I work hard for every dollar I own. Get real, losers. If you think I’m going to invest in a bunch of jumped-up backyard operators, forget it.

Now, I know that not everyone can afford the ongoing services of a really good copywriter. I understand that. But if you want traction in your market, you simply don’t have a choice.

Budget Regard on a bird-food diet

So, save up your pennies and knock-off those critical Marketing Content projects one at a time; spread the financial burden out over 12 months. Fine. Just don’t develop the BACKBURNER syndrome that afflicts so many SMEs.

Content is vital to your business. And, NO, unless you happen to have a particular set of skills, and genuine insight into how to effect communication, you shouldn’t kid yourself that you can do it yourself. I know the results. I see them every day. They don’t necessarily see the problems. But that’s how it is when you’re blind; you just don’t see.

Your content writer knows all the places your business lives. In fact, he’s the one who makes all these touch-points shine. He converts the cardboard of a business-card into skin on skin and face to face – creating the opportunity for you to do what you do best. He transforms the coded images and text of a brochure or a website into a voice that speaks and moves and engages with your prospects. He creates life out of lifeless matter and builds your business to success across all the dimensions of its existence.

Where does your business live? It lives at every address where you engage your client in a conversation that expresses their need for you; their love for you; a love that proposes marriage. And that’s just what your business needs, because if you’re in a good marriage, you’re bound to be content.


About the Author: Francis Fox
francis fox

The theme and history of Francis’ varied professional life is communicative excellence. His 30 years in Languages, Theatre, Education, Business and Marketing Communications have been driven by one aim: to direct how people feel, think and act in response to the message delivered. The single, simple goal of great copy is to create sales. Taking a business proposition to its target market and presenting it as the compelling choice – this is what Francis excels in. Consistently.

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