Content vs. Content

We all think of content these days as material we make available to others via social media, websites, and other delivery channels. It’s evolved into its own discipline of delivering the right information to the right people at the right time to cause some desired action.

Another meaning of content is the one that describes a sense of satisfaction, as in a state of contentment, which is how I imagine many marketers feel when they push out information through various distribution channels hoping to engage prospective customers, influencers, and employees.

I was recently talking with a friend, Andy Jacobson, who also happens to be a thoughtful and engaging writer, when the subject came up of people who like to write versus people who are forced to write. Andy likes to write and that’s obvious to me when I read his work. Another person in our business who comes to mind, when I think of people who like to write is Arik Hanson, who I make a point of reading regularly.

So, Andy and I started discussing the difference, as a reader, that you can distinguish between a writer that’s genuinely engaged in what he or she is doing versus the voice of someone who has to write about something because it’s a job. You can tell the difference between someone that’s truly engaged versus someone that’s just going through the motions.

Some content writers I’ve worked with over the years complained that the subject matter they were writing about wasn’t inspiring enough for them to be engaged and engaging. Therein lies the difference between a real writer and someone that was writing because they had to. A real writer can make anything interesting, and I didn’t have to think long when a copywriter who once worked here came to mind. Lyle Wedemeyer could take a mundane subject like planting corn and make you laugh or cry depending on how he chose to treat it.

Writing a solid piece about the new trend in craft cocktails for 2020 is good, but making me laugh or cry about planting corn is true greatness.

I wonder how many marketers are simply content, happy to check the boxes every day that their Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts all had something posted. On the other hand, how genuinely engaging and thoughtful was the content? Are you settling for good enough, or are you going for greatness?

I think you’re better off having a writer that likes to write content less frequently than forcing someone to pump it out because they have to.

We can tell the difference.