It's 8 AM on a Monday morning. I just dropped two kids off at school and one at daycare. The entire trip is about an hour of driving with constant chatter - sometimes laughing and giggling, sometimes whining or crying, usually just a lot of questions and bickering.
After my parental duties are finished for the morning I check out by listening to the 70's station on satellite radio and Player's Baby Come Back is streaming through the speakers. What a great classic song as I let out a sigh of relief.
I look at the car to my left. A mid-sized family sedan with two parents in the front seat and looks of stupefied exhaustion. Then I look in the back seat and there's a baby, maybe about six months old (when they find their voice). His face is red with anger and he looks as if he's been screaming for hours.
Back to the front seat. Empty, lost, fatigued, bloodshot eyes.
Then it dawns on me. Those parents are everyone else. Everyone is just like them. In a world where content is king and the screamers become louder and seem to clone themselves, we are all fatigued and lost. Yeah, I got all this from a screaming baby.
It's no wonder that neighborhoods and communities are choosing to stay home and inside more than ever where there's less noise, less screaming. It's no wonder more and more people are abandoning big tv and, instead, buying into choice with services like Netflix, Vudu, Hulu, and Apple TV. And it's no wonder people are jumping away from newspapers and magazines, only to subscribe to niche providers of greater interest. These choices all result in less noise.
The world is loud. And the noise level is still growing. If you're a marketer or content writer I have one request - don't be a screamer.
Instead, be a teacher. Be a storyteller. Be a philosopher. Be something. Just don't be a screamer. Nobody wants to hear what you have to say until you tone it down and provide something meaningful.
I ignore screamers (as much as possible) and relish in knowledgeable, engaging, and sometimes entertaining content, whether it be a video, a blog post or a white paper. If it's good, I'll share it with a few friends or coworkers. If it's fantastic, I'll be a fanatical advocate and tell everyone I know. And that's exactly what you should do - write or produce copy that is worthy of being shared by someone. Yes, I said "some ONE".
Seth Godin recently wrote a short post about how to write content that goes viral by writing for just one person. I like that approach. Screamers tend to be more vague and more general as they get louder hoping to catch the attention of the broader audience. But if you were writing to just one person, you'd focus less on catching everyone's attention and more on truly engaging that one, single individual.
Whatever you do, just don't be a screamer.