Here’s something you never hear. I asked my 12 year old son what he was doing this past Saturday afternoon. “Playing a math game from school.” Huh? By the next day, my 16 year old daughter was also playing. I asked her if it was challenging at all. She said, “I guess I needed to get back to the basics.”
In all business and life, there are basics and fundamentals. It’s what we all learn and then proceed to forget or abandon. We worry about the big stuff or the “new” and the tricky. But we lose sight of the absolute level one work that earns us a chance to succeed. There are basics all around us.
Last night, Jac and I went to see the new Tom Hardy movie, Venom. It’s yet another superhero movie with a slight twist: Venom is a murderous alien parasite and at best can be labeled an anti-hero. The movie topped the box office for its opening weekend, earning $80 million (double the next best movie) and setting a record for October releases. But critics didn’t like the movie. It’s sitting at a 30% on Rotten Tomatoes right now, for instance.
Robots already vacuum the floors in lots of people’s homes. They mow lawns. They deliver things in some cities. It looks weird and futuristic until it somehow looks normal and commonplace. We rarely see the “future” when it’s already here.
We Make the Future Invisible Because We Want Solid Ground
I’ve spent a lot of my career on the other side of the hill from where most people are doing business. When people were just getting comfortable with fax orders, I was seeing that this web thing might be more important. When people built their first websites, I saw that tools like Twitter would be a powerful opportunity to reach out and connect with people in a better way. It’s not at ALL that I’m smarter. It’s that I’m willing (maybe even primed) to see how to slot “what’s next” into “what we do right now.” In some ways, that’s because I’m willing to throw away what I have right now in any aspect of my business.
As I plow through the writing for my tenth book, Be Where They Are. Go Where They’re Going, what I’m most concerned with doing is helping you best understand what customers want these days when it comes to content marketing and customer experience overall. Companies must evolve and adapt from the past few years of lobbing content into various channels and hoping to reach prospective customers. Instead, they have to develop material and touchpoints that show the customer that you’re ready to serve a customer at their point of need.
Part of this involves changing how you build out content marketing.
I’m not sure you’ve noticed, but the rules about subject lines on blog posts have changed. You now have approximately the subject line plus the first two lines of your post to earn someone’s full attention. If that’s true, now what?
Subject Lines as Drivers of Eyeballs
It’s not that the subject line has to do ALL of the work, but at this point, the subject line is where someone decides whether or not to click and drill down into your article. The subject line has to give enough information for someone to actually choose to read further.
We are all creators now. All publishers. And companies are collaborators. Okay, and sometimes, we’re fans of other people’s creations, too. But even then, there’s a change afoot. We see ourselves on the same level. We’re all the star. But you? You’re the star.
Publishing is a Privilege
This post is a bit meta for me. I walked out of the movie theater feeling so exhilarated after seeing a movie (doesn’t matter which one). I thought to myself, “Wow. If I want, at this very moment, I could go write a blog post (this one), shoot a video for my YouTube channel, or record a podcast episode. I have a voice and I can use it.
It’s amazing how many opportunities we get as buyers to feel dumb. Imagine you need a new laptop and maybe it’s been a while since you last purchased one. What would you look for? You’d probably glance at things like processor speed and storage capacity and hope you got what you needed. But a company could make you feel smarter if they said, “This is a great laptop for most people’s business needs.” Or “If you’re doing any video editing or want to play games, this would be the best laptop for you.”
Make Me Feel Smart
It’s not any one technology that helps us feel smart. An airport with lots of great signage can help us feel smart because we can navigate ourselves through the process. When you order food at a restaurant, if the menu describes any uncommon words, you’ll feel better about knowing what you’re thinking of getting. An air conditioning and heating expert can sell the right sized unit and services for a company by walking the prospective facilities management team through the sizing and provisioning process in a simple calculation spreadsheet.
We Really Have to Crash the Whole Platform
Whether we’re talking about kids in school or grown ups in the workplace, it feels like the majority of what people are learning comes from old and outdated premises.
I’m in the business of helping companies use tech to drive better customer interactions. I help companies earn more customers. The most common way people employ me is to help them build content marketing projects, expand their existing ones, or in general, turn their marketing, sales, and communications efforts into something more effective.
Well guess what?
The following post is sponsored by Staples. The words are all mine. They paid for me to give away an hour of consulting to a small business owner looking to grow their business.
John Grossman runs the Holyoke Hummus Company out in western Massachusetts. He started out with a food truck promoting fresh tasty falafel sandwiches that were healthy but felt decadent. John’s had a lot of success in other businesses, but food can be tricky. When timing struck that he could acquire restaurant space and open a brick and mortar business to complement the truck, he had to take the opportunity.