Starving for Content

A few weeks ago, I was contacted by a television producer who was looking for interesting information about dreams. Having done some dream work, and still engaged in research, I offered some information and some resources. The producer, to my amazement, said, “Thanks so much for giving me content, not marketing.”

That made me stop and think about how we market ourselves. Often when I contact a company for information, I am turned over to sales. The sales representative immediately tries to create a need for me that their product or service can fill.

cheap, starchy filler

cheap, starchy filler

This week I’m looking into using solar energy in my house. I live in the Sonoran desert, where the sun shines 322 days a year. I want to find out information on using solar energy to replace electricity and to heat my pool. I guarantee you that I will be swamped with sales pressure before I am given enough information to make an informed decision. I’m dreading the process because I’m sure that instead of facts, I’ll be given slanted information designed to make me into a consumer. Right now I don’t want to be a consumer, I want to be a researcher. I’ll become a consumer when I have enough information to make me an informed consumer. But it won’t be easy. I’ll have to listen to the information provided and then untangle the marketing message from the facts. I won’t have enough knowledge of solar power to do this. The sales person will get impatient with me because I am not behaving like a consumer. He (the person scheduled to visit is a man) may well make me feel like I have an intellectual agenda, which is a bad thing. I should not ask so many questions and buy, like a good consumer.

I don’t want to buy yet. I want facts. I want information. I’ll sort it through myself. We are a nation of consumers, we sell stuff to each other. And I’m getting a little tired of it. I’d like to be a nation of content first, then a nation who considers the facts and makes a decision. If we’d done that a bit earlier, we would not have a mortgage crisis.

So right now, I’m looking for content, not marketing. I don’t want to be pounced on like a chicken on a June bug just because I’m raising my hand and looking like a consumer. I think we are a nation starving for content, and being fed marketing. It’s cheap starchy filler. We need some protein-rich content in our lives. Facts without spin. information without bias. I’ll bet I’m not the only one who is starving for content.

–Quinn McDonald is a writer who owns QuinnCreative, a content-providing site for life- and creativity coaching, and business communication seminars. (c) 2008 All right reserved.