Every day we flood the Internet with an enormous amount of data from article postings to tweets and photos.
Most of the content we dump onto the digital highway is Internet litter; we cannot see this litter because the Internet and the data we produce is invisible.
We’ve become obsessed with stuffing the digital white space with useless words and images, as corporate brands and marketers generated content every minute of each day.
How many times have you experienced information overload?
We fear white space; it feels uncomfortable to have less information instead of more. Producing generic meaningless content is easy; working to simplify your company’s message takes time.
Peter Coughter said it best “beauty is the purgation of superfluous. Quality content occurs when everything that is superfluous is removed.”
Cutting through digital chatter requires strategic thought and the patience to take time to curate the words.
Our brains need empty white space to allow us time to think, a quiet moment to process our thoughts and solve problems.
We’ve become a society who believes more is better, creating simple effective content that speaks directly to the individual; feels out of place. Elegance is moving past purgation of superfluous words to creating content that matters and has long term value.
Beauty is achieved by telling the reader a good story that explains your purpose and why you seek their attention.
Humans remember stories; we base the majority of our buying decisions on feelings and emotions.
Rudolph Schindler was a great architectural designer and understood the importance of purging content. “We are what our environment makes us and if our environment is such as to produce excellent health, beauty, joy, and comfort, it will reflect immediately in our lives.”
We are creating our digital lives and environment. From the view of my Facebook page it is filled with mindless ads for products that I never use or would ever consider purchasing.
We click, share, and like without thinking, we repeat the same the information over and over to the point no one listens anymore.
Read, Share, or Delete?
Ask yourself; is your company stuffing customers’ email accounts with junk mail or flooding them with an endless sea of useless content? What would you personally do with the content? Would you share the information or delete it?
What is the purpose of the content? What is the message you are seeking to send to your customers? Can you define the message in two or three sentences?
Pretend you are talking to the customer – what would you say? Could the content be edited down and still maintain the story’s message?
Think about the content that you read in your personal time. What do you like to read and what stories do you feel compelled to share?
When in Doubt, Purge, and Edit Instead of Adding More.
Does your content include a hard sales pitch that could potentially turn away customers? How much time do you spend purging and editing?
Place yourself in the individual’s shoes. Think about when and where they will be reading this information and will it help solve their problem.
Curate the information and focus on what matters to your audience. Have you engaged with your customers in person or online? What are they telling you and are you listening?
Purging information and crafting a simplistic message takes time and discipline. SEO marketers have brain washed us into believing we need to add as many words as possible to our digital content. Yet, when we add useless words, we create information overload for the individuals we are seeking to reach.
Will Your Content Stand the Test of Time?
Everything changes and everything stays the same. Our products and services evolve over time, yet how we communicate with other humans remains the same. We connect through authentic stories.
Think about the content you create, if it was an art piece would it be placed in a museum? Would the story and message still resonate six months or five years from now?
Digital technology is just a tool we use to communicate and send information. What we create must have value, if not we are ust tossing more digital litter onto the Internet highway.
John Peterson says
Man, I wish the content marketers who created the junk mail filling my mailbox read this, or those who try to fill my inbox, or Facebook feed, etc… There is no shortage of content. It’s content that is useful that we’re short of. Thanks for writing the article.
Thanks for the feedback John. I agree, there is a shortage of good content and an oversupply of junk mail.
Richard Anastasi says
This post recalls “Rule 13: Omit needless words,” from “The Elements of Style” by Strunk & White [see an excerpt at http://www.bartleby.com/141/strunk5.html%5D.
Your post needs re-posting regularly.
Tiffany Sunday says