February 5th, 2019

Let’s be honest. We’re all guilty of churning out content. We spew it out for websites, chuck it at social media profiles, or stick it into whatever else we have the compulsion to ‘enhance’.

And why? Because we believe content will keep us at the forefront of potential customers’ minds. It will generate new audiences for our services and ultimately help with the search rankings. Apparently. 

We live in a world driven by an insatiable desire for content. Nobody’s content with the amount of content they’re producing. We’re told Google wants your content and so we produce content. Content, content, content. I’ve written the word so much in these three paragraphs that it’s stopped looking like a real word at all and is just a horrible meaningless mash of letters. Which ironically is exactly what a lot of content turns out to be.

Don’t get me wrong. Some content is great. I read a lovely piece a client sent out this morning (they do it very well), I also signed up for a talk, and I’m on verge of spending a few more pennies because I was captivated by strong content.

Yes, there is some wonderful content out there. Really wonderful. But you know what I’m going to say next, right? You got it. There’s some truly phenomenal rubbish out there too.

Just as the digital camera made us all photographers, the ease of publishing content has made us all writers. Or at least made us all think we’re writers. Which is a very different thing.

But hey, I’m no writer. Every email I send has to be treble-checked before it goes out. Even then I’ll spot something after the point of no return that makes me bury my head under my shabby mouse mat. Which is why if I want something written well, I get a professional involved.

But this isn’t a piece about planning your content well, or advocating employing professions to do the job for you. You’re intelligent enough to know you should.

No, what this is about is just stopping for a minute and taking a good hard look at what you’re doing.
Will the world benefit from your article? Great, crack on.

Or do you just want to get something off your chest? Fire away, but please rant responsibly. Don’t moan about your love life on Linkedin (you know who you are), and don’t tweet about your hangover, then announce later ‘yay!!!!!!! it’s beer o’clock!!!! time for a pint or ten #gettinghammered’. Save that nonsense for texts, or your personal Facebook account if you must. But don’t try to pass it off as ‘engaging content for building your brand’. It’s just babble. Boring babble.

In a world where we’re all time-poor, we need to remember that technology isn’t going to give us that utopian vision of shorter working weeks for the same money. And it definitely doesn’t help by wasting hours crafting rubbish about why Game of Thrones has spooky parallels to your own studio’s office politics. Doing that just makes me want to chop your head off with my Valyrian steel.

Instead, take a deep breath and enjoy some of your own time. Take a client out for lunch, grab a beer down the pub with work colleagues at the end of a hard day, and if you must, jump on that treadmill. (Actually, don’t jump on it. I’ve made that mistake before, and it’s not pretty.)

The point is that while we may think that one more article is going to make all the difference, probability says it won’t. So if it’s not mind-blowingly good, don’t bother.

The world doesn’t need another article about ‘What I’ve learnt from my first business failure’, ‘What makes a great Linkedin title’ and ‘What my favourite films taught me’. Really we don’t, so please stop.

Just get out a bit more and talk to people. Actually talk. You’ll benefit, and so will your business.