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Content for Contents Sake?

Does everything need a strategy and a purpose?

I’m not so sure. 🤔

The past couple of days I’ve been thinking about this more and more. It’s as a result of seeing a post from a marketing influencer who lamented about companies who don’t have a strategy behind their content. And about how important it is for everyone to map content to their business objectives.

The reason it got me thinking is that we, by and large, don’t!

Truth is, we don’t really have “business objectives” to map to! Cue major eye rolling with unadulterated cynicism!

Ok fine. I guess we do have some business objectives.

Hiring is an objective.

Delivering value and educating our customers is an objective.

Building an objectively fucking kick-ass bit of software is an objective.

Trying to write interesting blog posts is an objective.

But how do you map content to that?

Should you even try? 🤷‍♂️

I’m plagued by insecurity when I think about this in light of our customer education content. Mostly because there’s no clear way to track it. And even if we did have a way, what would be the point?

We’re gonna make stuff regardless of how well it does or doesn’t do. Because for us it’s not about financial ROI.

Purpose for Purpose Sake

In every growth-driven business—which is to say almost every business—goals are intrinsically tied to growth.

All of them. Without exception.

Even in parts of the company you might think immune. 😭

Areas like Customer Support, the office manager, or even HR. They’re all beholden to revenue in one way or another.

Sure, it might not be direct. But eventually it’ll come back to the ever flowing green river of cash.

Somewhere along the line it’ll all tie back to growth whether you like it or not. The amount of value you’re delivering to the company. Value tied exclusively to revenue.

Your monetary worth to a growth-driven organisation. 😬

And it’s kinda gross.

It’s not just now it bugs me. It’s always irritated me a little. I think it’s because the idea of treating people like a number is pretty disgusting. Weight up that person’s financial worth in relation to how much they grow the business.

When did people become little more than numbers on a spreadsheet?

Mostly though, it’s because most companies know it’s sucky behaviour and in turn they try to hide it with obscure goals and targets.

😒

I expect everyone’s had a job where their work is tied to some arbitrary metric. Time limits on service calls. The number of interviews you gotta get through in a week. How many boxes you can move from point a to point b in an hour. Some randomly generated feedback score that nobody really pays attention to.

In light of this, when I read about content aligning to business objectives it’s hard not to be a little grossed out. How much money can be generated by this single blog post or video? 🤮

I’ll concede that creating content to align to some business goal might feel more beneficial. Having a way of saying “here’s how much of a difference this post made” no doubt comes with a certain level of satisfaction.

But really isn’t that just a lie? Isn’t growth in itself an illusory and self-serving purpose?

Growth leading to more growth. Exponentially. Without any real need beyond mantras like “If you stop growing, you die”.

Growth for growth’s sake.

What a load of shit! 💩

Isn’t Just Doing Enough, Enough?

When you remove the traditional notion of growth beyond the point of profitability from a company’s reason for existing, the demands of revenue generation become all-but pointless.

Go ahead. Try it! 😄

You’re profitable ✅

But you want more? 🤔 Why?

*Because then we can hire more, and grow more, and hire more! * Sure… but still, why!

Something I’ve come to learn since joining the HelpDocs team is that you don’t need to focus on growth beyond profitability in order to be successful.

Of course if that’s what you’re into. By all means, fill yer boots and crack on.

Maybe that’s the real issue. That the general idea of every company requiring a strategy is just that. A generalisation.

The only true generalisation is that no generalisation applies every time. 🤷‍♂️

Not all companies need some long, drawn out strategy. Some might. Others don’t. 😄

We sit firmly in the “have no plan and just make stuff we find interesting” camp. And it’s incredibly liberating.

So What’s the Point of Anything?

For me the most interesting thing about this whole thought process is realising the need to grow isn’t a strict requirement once you hit profitability.

Nobody needs to grow beyond the point of sustenance. It’s ok to be content with where you are. 🙃

The trouble with talking about removing growth as a goal and “just doing stuff” is that it opens us up to questions like “what’s the point in doing anything?”

It’s valid. Kinda. Although it’s a very short race to the bottom of that one. Invariably it’ll end with contrived pseudo-philosophies about how everything is pointless so why do we even bother.

Isn’t it though? And yet, we bother! 😆

Creating the thing is the point. The whole point.

The goal of a blog post is to write something I’d read and ship it.

The goal of a live session or workshop is to educate users on the tools available to them.

A strategy seems like an extravagance. And a self-serving one at that.

After all, once you have a strategy don’t you then optimise it?

Don’t you have to track things?

Come up with your own arbitrary meaningful KPIs and OKRs. And then veil those under the guise of customer-centricity—Because you wouldn’t want people to think you’re just in it for the money would you?

Of course I’m saying this with my tongue planted firmly in my cheek. But there’s a string of truth to it. Companies pretending to want to bring value when really they just want a strategic return on their investment.

It’s one thing wanting to deliver value to our customers. Of course that’s the top of our agenda.

But having a defined “strategy” or trying to align our content to fit our “business goals” just doesn’t fit with, well, our business goals I guess 🤷‍♂️

Content for Contents Sake?
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