A King Needs a Queen


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I had a burning question to ask The Effective Detective, so I took the initiative to open the conversation. “Sir, I have noticed you have a propensity lately to sigh when you hear the phrase ‘Content is King’. Is there a particular reason for this?”

“I see that your observation skills continue to evolve in a most positive direction Watson,” The Detective answered. “And yes, I would say that I have begun to feel a sense of melancholy when that phrase is bandied about,” he finished heavily.

“I’m confused sir, don’t you advise most stridently that business people need to make useful content the priority in their marketing?” I asked, puzzled at his answer.

“Yes, and I still insist that content is key, Watson. However, I have noticed a propensity among our marketing brethren to spew content randomly as if the entire world could benefit. It may be excellent content, but it is being randomly spewed nonetheless, and that is causing a couple of problems,” The Detective’s voice began to get more animated, a sure sign he was warming to his topic.

“What would those problems be, sir?” I asked, cutting to the chase.

“First, it creates a type of ‘the boy who cried wolf’ scenario. You asked for your audience’s attention by claiming you had something to say that was important and relevant to them. If your audience is then given a steady stream of messages that are frequently not truly relevant to them, or worse, is all about the author instead of his or hers audience – which by the by is most certainly NOT excellent content, then when one does happen to hit the right topic, you have already been tuned out. No one is listening to you anymore, you squandered the trust you were given,” The Detective explained.

“Not to be impolite sir, but if someone wants to gum things up for themselves why is that an issue for anyone else?” I responded to his explanation.

“Ah Watson, an excellent question. That is the second problem. You see, it is an issue for all others because it creates a sense of distrust  of all of us that are trying to deliver content. We are all painted with the same brush, fairly or unfairly. It diminishes our sign up  and open rates because visitors begin to assume that you will bombard them with useless messages just like others. While there is nothing we can do to prevent others from sending irrelevant content, we can avoid it ourselves by remembering a simple truism.”

The Detective paused, prompting me to encourage him to continue. “And what would that be sir?”

“It is quite simple Watson: If content is King, then The Target must be Queen.”

“Corny, but effective sir.”

“Quite so, Watson.”

A Tactic Gone Wrong

The Mystery of The Narcissistic Newsletter

The Effective Detective was staring at his laptop screen with a look on his face that I knew all too well. His brow was furrowed and his lips pursed as if he had eaten something sour. This did not bode well for our conversation.

“Sir? I am almost afraid to ask what it is you are reviewing.” I ventured, knowing I could not escape so may as well just take the plunge.

“Ah Watson,” The Detective replied,  continuing to stare at the screen, but allowing his brow to loosen a bit and his lips form a slight smile; signs that he was winding up for a lesson. “You are just in time to relieve my frustration before it reached a boiling point.”

“Happy to help sir, and just what is the source of your frustration?” I asked,  feeling slightly more comfortable that the following discussion would be at least relatively calm.

“We’ve discussed tactics versus strategy before, Watson, and you know how my blood pressure rises when I see them done in the wrong order,” the Detective began. “But almost equally capable of producing a headache inducing rise is when they are done in the right order, but the tactic is executed completely wrong.”

“Is there a particular tactic which you are thinking of sir?” I prompted, hoping that the calm would remain.

“Newsletters, Watson, newsletters! An excellent tool to communicate content on a regular basis, but with less pressure than producing multiple presentations during a week such as what we endeavor to do here. However, there is a temptation with such things to stray off into the realm of self-absorption.”


“Talking about oneself Watson! Regaling the reader with where you will be appearing, things you have accomplished, new products you have, or will be shortly releasing. What might be interesting for you (in a self-important way) or possibly to some readers that are close to you, for the vast majority of your readers will border on the boring. If there is one sin you should not commit in marketing, like speaking, it is to be boring.

“But more importantly Watson, the main reason most people will read a newsletter is that they are receiving information that has value to them, although I suppose they could also perceive value in being entertained. Unfortunately, someone talking about their own or their company’s latest accomplishments tends to provide neither of those. If you are going to go to the trouble of producing a newsletter type piece, and perhaps the expense if you produce a hard-copy, then make it valuable to your reader! Provide useful content! After all, you are asking for the most precious thing they have: their time,” finished The Detective with his characteristic flourish.

“But sir, is there no place to share a personal victory or anecdote?” I protested, but quietly.

“Of course Watson, but include it last or sandwich it between useful content. I suppose there might be people interested in such things besides friends and close relations,” admitted The Detective.

“I believe there is room for both, sir.”

“I will concede the point, Watson, let us move on,” said The Detective, ending the discussion.