The last time I was an employee in what I loosely refer to as the corporate world, I was seemingly surrounded by young, fresh faces. Of course, my first instinct was to resent the hell out of each and every one of them. They had their whole careers ahead of them, yet untainted by inappropriate alliances, disappointing bonuses, and insecure angry bosses.
Instead, I dutifully took my young colleagues under my wing and attempted to guide them on a productive path to career development. I even shared with them some of my own missteps and the wisdom I had gained from almost 20 years working with different types of people. A few of my young cohorts accepted the value in my offerings, and the others, well…where are they now?
What I got in return was some important insight to the next generation. (No, I don’t seem old enough to refer to them that way, but there is a definite generational divide.) I learned what it was like to grow up in the age of social media, for instance, and a much earlier and more public sexual awareness. Most of what I gleaned from the Millennials reinforced my relief at not having to repeat my formative years.
The New World
And, of course, I picked up a few new habits. One of my young colleagues used to sit in the conference room with her laptop and watch daytime television. She confided in me one day that as an only child of a single mother, she used television to dispel loneliness. When we were the only two in the office, I joined her for an hour of The Wendy Williams Show.
I had never seen Wendy Williams before that and had no idea who she was. Recently, flipping through the channels during a midday break in my home office, I came across Wendy Williams. Out of nostalgia for those old quiet office days and my bond with that young associate, I watched for a few minutes. The experience was just as shocking and mind-numbing as I remembered.
One habit I actually adopted from my young colleagues was to Google. It was right around the time that Google was becoming a verb. Invariably, I would walk into the office and ask a question. “Does anybody know…” Sometimes it was about our state government or the media. Other times it was an operational question about software functions. And, I must admit, occasionally my question was more trend or fashion related.
When the random banter died down and I was faced with many blank stares, someone usually volunteered to google it. This is how I learned that an answer to every question is available in Google. I often think about those days now when I watch television and use Google to instantly satisfy my idle curiosity about the age of a particular actor or the net worth of some media expert.
Isn’t it a wonderful world where every topic you can think of is written about and cataloged on the internet? With enough searching, and sometimes not much effort really, you can find all the information you need.
Where does it all come from?
Many years ago, before content marketing was even a thing, I wrote for a fledgling company dedicated to providing writers opportunities to earn a living wage. Before that, most writers were either contracted to a publisher or they performed some other task to earn a living during the day so they could work on their great novel at night.
At the time, I had a day job and took on this writing work to earn extra money. At the end of the year, my earnings were enough to pay the property and school taxes. If you live in New York, you understand what an accomplishment that was.
Each week I would choose my writing topics from a long list that seemed perpetually picked over. Some of the topics were highly technical and far outside my scope of understanding. I was paid something like $10 per article, so I had to take topics the did not require much research time.
On Saturday morning, I would sit down with my topics and resources I found on the internet earlier in the week. Even then, I had a writing process and it was very efficient. By dinner time there were usually 10 articles drafted and submitted for payment. As I recall, they sent me a paper check twice a month.
We wrote for one of the first content driven websites that became popular. There was a formula for this content. They were all “how to” topics that must include a list of steps and be extremely actionable. I wrote everything from how to turn left safely to how to recycle leftovers. It amazed me to learn I knew how to do so many things.
That job gave me some insight into the information available on the internet. Although I had to submit at least one website as a source for each article, no one ever seemed to check the validity of my information. How was anyone to know that my article was correct? What if that was not really the way to turn left safely?
Publishing your content online for anyone to google is even easier now than it was back when I was part of the “How to…” movement. The rules have not tightened. If anything we are more lax about what we accept as fact. And content marketing has exponentially increased the amount of information being put out there.
You might think that content marketing is a waste of time since there is already so much information on the internet. But the standards being loose actually works in your favor. There is still plenty of room for good content. You don’t have to be a professional writer to recognize that fact.
That is how you can stand out from your competition. It used to be that just creating more content got attention for your company. Now, the threshold is a bit higher. Good content — informative, helpful, engaging, entertaining, well-written — is what attracts customers and improves sales.
“Good content — informative, helpful, engaging, entertaining, well-written — is what attracts customers and improves sales.”
You need content marketing, but the emphasis should be on the content. For help developing good content to support your SEO goals, look into a content writing service. Save time and money and convert your website visitors to customers.