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The simple art of content marketing

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The company CEO sighed and looked up at the blank white ceiling. I half expected to see a metal ceiling fan there, ponderously pushing air around, whup, whup, whup… but there was none.

“I don’t know about content marketing, or even marketing in general,” he says at last, speaking slowly and twisting his lips to show me he was at least uncertain, possibly doubtful and, at best, like a horse looking over a fence.

“What’s always worked for us is referrals, through our contacts.”

I slumped back in my chair, feeling like a line from Farewell, My Lovely: “I needed a drink, I needed a lot of life insurance, I needed a vacation, I needed a home in the country. What I had was a coat, a hat and a gun pen.

Thing was, the man had a valid objection, and it was going to be a tough one to get by.

I thought about her.

You know.

The dame in The Big Sleep.

How “she lowered her lashes until they almost cuddled her cheeks and slowly raised them again, like a theatre curtain. I was to get to know that trick. That was supposed to make me roll over on my back with all four paws in the air,” and I wondered if it would work for me…

Probably not.

Thing is, I’m a man and he’s a man; the type of men more comfortable with dames, on that level at least…

This was going to be harder than I thought.

I could ask him some tough questions, like: “Is that what your figures say?”

But I knew he didn't have the answers.

So instead, I try a figure of speech. “But you want more, don’t you – like macaroni needs cheese?

“What if it doesn’t work? This content business?” he asks. “What if we get down the track and its all for nothing?”

“Nothing’s for nothing,” I say. “But if you don’t try, how will you ever know?”

He thought about it.

“And this content marketing business, it’s more about the customer than us, is it? Not sure it's a good idea, spending money to talk about others.”

He hated to admit I could be even half right. So he frowned and tapped his desk.

“How will they know about us, if we only talk about them?”

“You talk too damn much and too damn much of it is about you,” I reply.

“Its too new, I don’t know…”

I say: “Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.”

Or is that Chandler again?

“Sounds crazy,” he says.

“Crazy as two waltzing mice…

“Now that, I’d like to see,” he says.

“You and me both,” I say.

“So we have a deal?”

“We have a deal. Look at the papers in the morning and you'll be able to figure out why.”

After a while the Russian girl called me a taxi. When I left, the party across the street was doing all that a party could do.

Andrew Healey - Jun 26, 2014

Great post, Colin. I should get you to come to some of my meetings. :-)

Colin Kennedy - Jun 26, 2014

Thanks Andrew, for a moment I thought you meant therapy :-) -- but yes, the perennial challenge for all of us...