Marinating In The Mediocre

It started out innocently enough.

Quite pretty, actually.

Lovely little messages, dripping down. Falling lightly in our collective lap.

Then things changed

The wind shifted and the messages increased. Now filling the sky, turning everything in their way into a messy soup.

Each message now propelled horizontally like a bullet stream.

Making everything indistinguishable, indecipherable

Then the steam and fog that billowed up from who knows where.

So thick now that we cannot see a single thing clearly.

So heavy now we cannot breathe.

Our eyes are sealed shut

We are all being thrust into an flood of raw messages mistakenly known as content marketing.

This is a misguided strategy. It’s based on messages that tell us what to believe rather than engage us in experiences that enable us.

Messages full of formulas for someone else’s success.

Messages of great volume but little value

Messages full of raw facts and raw figures and big raw data.

Messages with no insight.

The problem with this new world of information is there’s way too much of it.

And we’re all pumping it out faster than a ruptured sewer pipe.

As a result, we’re drowning people in indiscriminate raw content like so much raw sewage.

We don’t need no more stinkin’ information

What we do need is a little insight and a lot more focus on engaging people.

Without them, people will never get to the brilliant content you’ve developed.

We need to take responsibility

We have a choice. We can vulgarize our communications. We can brutalize it. Or we can help lift it to a higher plane.

That means not just accepting, but embracing five facts of life for making a difference in this world. Whether you like it or not.

1. Be a publisher of empathy, not a marketer

If you have a content marketing program you are a publisher. And you have a responsibility to publish content that is not only helpful but also engaging.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, only 9 percent of organizations using content marketing believe their programs are very effective.

eMarketer says, “Devoting the energy to creating and executing original, valuable content will be the precursor of any success on the content marketing front.”

Apparently, the self-centered, fact, and data-driven marketing approach is failing in that regard.

But if you shift your focus from you to what you can do and what you have done for others, you’ll transform things.

You’ll find empathy.

And empathy changes facts and data into help and experiences and stories. Each one immeasurably more powerful than a marketing message strategy.

2. Be a curator, not a conduit

Have you ever retweeted anything? Or emailed an article to a colleague? Or clicked a like button on Facebook? Or, heaven forbid, tweckled a speaker at a conference? If you have, you are a curator.

In fact, we are all constantly making decisions about what is good and what is bad. What we like and what we hate. What is worth our time and what is a waste.

The minute we share those judgments, we do one of two things. We either add to the information overload that is choking the planet or we shine a little beam of insight.

The question is how do you know which one you are doing?

3. Find your tribe, not an audience

Unfortunately, one person’s insight is another person’s yawn. It all depends on your point of view. And that’s why tribes are so important.

As Anais Nin, the Talmud, Shirley MacLaine, Dr. Stephen Covey, Immanuel Kant, and others have said,

We do not see the world as the world is. We see the world as we are.

People in a tribe share a point of view. And that point of view defines the tribe’s identity.

So a tribe is not an audience.

A tribe has less to do with demographics or even psychographics. Rather tribes are about a shared worldview. A view of how things work or should work. A view of what’s important and what’s not. A common view of what is valuable.

Do you truly understand your tribe’s worldview? Have you lived it with them?

Only then, can you begin to create content that gives insight instead of distraction. Value instead of clutter. Help instead of hype.

4. Tell your unique story, not the usual blah, blah, blah

Real stories (narratives that is) are the currency of tribes. As human beings we are hardwired to make meaning from our stories. Stories define the tribe around its cause.

Stories are also the currency of this new connected world. Because, as human beings, we are also hardwired to sharing stories.

It’s not until you have developed something remarkable that you can tell a story that’s worth sharing.

And that story should be based on the experiences you’ve created to help the tribe.

5. Make things that help instead of just talk

Living with a tribe suggests that you do more than send out messages.

It means providing shared experiences that help members of the tribe do what they need to do better. Or faster. Or more easily. Or more pleasurably.

When you have empathy for your tribe something special happens. You shift from spewing out messages to providing experiences that help people.

We can be heroes

We can transform our organizations.

We can transform people.

All we have to do is stop thinking in terms of the incremental. Incremental messages. Incremental improvements. Incremental awareness.

Stop trying to appeal to everyone.

The way out of mediocrity

Find your tribe.

Be what only you can be for them.

Focus on them.

Provide unique value to them.

And do it through amazing experiences. And wonderful, involving stories.

Now’s the time

You can start transforming your world by stop thinking of content as messages.

Think of content as physical ways of creating experiences that serve the needs of your tribe. Things like technologies, platforms, and communities.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s your take?