This morning I was eating breakfast at my new “regular” cafe in the city. It has great decor, super quick service, friendly staff and really good food. The one downside is that it gets a little crowded and a bit noisy at times, but that’s a sign that it’s good, IMHO.
When I arrived today and my usual tables were all taken (it was like they didn’t even know who I was or something), I ended up sitting in a slightly different spot at a table next to a couple of ladies whose lanyards said they worked for one of my utility providers.
Just veering off for a second… Lanyards.
Don’t they look like branded leashes?
You see people wearing them with their door pass attached, usually containing their mugshot and name.
And all lanyards now have a safety release so that if they get caught in something the safety breaks away and the person wearing it doesn’t get strangled.
Clearly, death by strangulation from a lanyard has happened and that’s why they now have to have these additional safety features.
Anyway, I sat at the table next to these two women, put in my AirPods and settled in to eavesdrop on their conversation if it was interesting.
It was better than I’d hoped, not quite as interesting as “Linda is a dominatrix“, but still pretty interesting.
These women worked in the marketing department for this utility company and one (we’ll call her Boss Lady) was clearly in charge of “content marketing”.
Boss Lady prattled on endlessly about meetings that needed to be booked, processes that needed to be designed, companies that needed to be brought in to consult to them about their content strategy and a never-ending stream of buzzwords like trust, metrics and thought leadership.
For a woman who talked about thought leadership a lot, Boss Lady never said a single innovative thing, in fact, she said nothing of consequence at all. It was a lot of words talking about more talking and how to organise that talking.
The other lady she was having coffee with, we’ll call her Smart Lady, I think she got it.
When Smart Lady was able to get a word in edgewise, she made reference to the fact that their biggest problem wasn’t systems, strategy or even quality of content.
Smart Lady identified the biggest problem as, (her words here) “Organisational lethargy.”
I felt like reaching over and hugging her but in this day and age, that would probably result in me being stoned in the town square for sexually harassing her.
Smart Lady was paid lip service by Boss Lady with affirmative grunts and effusive nodding, but every time Smart Lady had a good idea, Boss Lady talked about bringing in these external consultants to discuss the idea and help them build a framework for their decision making before they “got too far down the track.”
I almost lost the will to live just listening to Boss Lady drop jargon and then surround it with management nonsense.
I kid you not, Boss Lady mentioned Problogger (she clearly didn’t know Darren Rowse’s name) and Gary Vaynerchuk at one point of the conversation as people the content team needed to get across.
Smart Lady tried to point out that the form of content that those people speak to isn’t really conducive to a large publicly listed utility, but Boss Lady was talking about “the vibe” and their enthusiasm for creating content that “spoke to their thought leadership.”
If I had reached over and smothered Smart Lady, I think I could have beat the manslaughter charge on the grounds that it was a form of euthanasia – she was going to die a slow, agonizing intellectual death and I mercifully ended it for her.
As I sipped my strong, but exceptionally well-made latte, I realized for the 475th time that when it comes to content marketing, even people who think they know a lot about it, probably couldn’t fill a thimble with what they actually know.
And that bodes well for you!
You know WAAAAAAY more than most people – I’d say that just following these emails and reading the stuff that I write about content marketing would mean that you’re in the top 1% of people around about the topic.
That sounds like I’m big-noting myself, “Hey, look at me, I talk about content marketing and everyone who reads my email or blog learn by osmosis,” but that’s not what I’m trying to say.
Although, that’s all true. LOL.
The reality is, if you’re paying attention to smart people on the topic who see content marketing as a practical thing with a purpose and clearly defined objectives, you’re a member of an elite crowd.
The secret is, you need to put that into action.
If you know all of this stuff and you do nothing with it, you’re just a better read version of Boss Lady. You know the source material better, but your application is equally as bad as her’s.
My challenge to you is to take the things that you know and start putting them into practice immediately.
It doesn’t have to be some huge production, just start small. Start by doing just one thing every day using these skills with a specific outcome in mind.
Stop underestimating yourself and make a start!