The Problem with ‘Content’

I’ve been troubled recently with some of the podcasts and blogs I follow.

My problem isn’t with what they are saying, or the advice they are giving, or the guests. It’s the way they refer to their product: as ‘content.’

Do you produce a blog, a podcast, a newsletter, or write books? Are you trying to add value to my life, or to yours?

If you’re trying to add value to your life, please, continue to refer to your product as ‘content.’ Fill up your pages so you can get advertising dollars, talk for hours so you can build your brand, and spew out e-books so you can turn people on to your higher priced ‘content.’

But if you’re trying to share wisdom with me, please, don’t ever let me find out that you’re:

  • hiring a guy to write articles so ‘content’ appears more frequently on your site
  • writing 10,000 words a day or a book in a matter of weeks/months
  • changing words and phrases of previous work so that you can repackage it as new ‘content’

I see the word used in your interviews and in your ads, and it makes me cringe. I get that you’re trying to make a business out of the words you produce and the advice you sell. But please, at least try to believe, for yourself, that you are adding value.

It makes me feel scammed.

Note: I’m going to take a sabbatical from trying to read “free e-books.” It’s becoming cliche to go to a website, enter my email in a popup form, and download a free pdf. I’m not even upset about the practice – by all means, if you have something important to share, do it. But I don’t have time to read your unedited chicken scratch – from now on I’ll read books that were vetted by publishers and edited by pros.


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