In the hype around content marketing, hailed as the ‘new’ way to market our wares, we’re overdoing it with the adjectives. So says Jay Baer in his video, We’re destroying our important words.
I couldn’t agree more… and if someone tells me once more that they are passionate about their business, I won’t be responsible for my actions. But if they tell me that they care about their customers, well then I’m interested. I want to find out more. (Marianne and I struggled with finding the right words for our About us page. How exactly do you get across just how much you care without the use of superlatives? It’s not easy, granted. But we all to have to find a way. We must ditch the hyperbole!)
Essential? Is it really?
When I chose the title for our first book, way back in 2002, I’m embarrassed to tell you that I didn’t give it as much thought as I should have. (I didn’t know it was going to live for 12 years and four editions!).
I was running my busy design agency and up to my eyes in work and clients and pressure. One of my employees said, “So what do you want to call this new guide then?” I thought about it for a few minutes and replied, “Well, I want it be useful, I want it to stay on the desk, I want it to be essential reading. What about The Essential Business Guide?” We discussed it, quite liked it, felt that it described what we wanted the book to be about… and then got back to our day jobs. Decision made. (You can see why I blush as I’m writing this. Shouldn’t we have done market testing? Shouldn’t we have asked focus groups? Possibly. But it turned out OK in the end, as you’ll see.)
Since that day, many reviewers have taken that title almost as a challenge. You can spot the glint in their eye and see them thinking, “Essential, eh? We’ll soon see about that!”
Be careful what you promise
But the other thing that happened was that we all knew we had to live up to the title. So, if something boring or lacklustre crept into the pages, we had to be ruthless and get rid of it. When we first gave it to people to read and review, we said, “If it’s not essential, tell us, we’ll edit it out”. So, together, we worked hard to make this new book live up to its rather grand title.
I have, at times, wished we’d simply called it The Business Guide, but if we had, you might have been reading a much more boring book. You have its title to thank. It made us pull our content socks up.
Listen to Jay and his thoughts about The Ultimate Guide to Content Marketing: