URR: A Metric to Save Content Marketing from Making More Crap

urr

Here’s an actual moment in my career that made me want to start flipping tables. It’s an exchange between me and a colleague from several years ago:

Me: Let’s update that truly terrible project sitting behind that lead-gen form. The design sucks. The copy is awful. We’re probably pissing off a ton of people who expect something great when they fill out that big form gating it.

Colleague: Why? The landing page is getting a ton of traffic and it’s generating a ton of form-fills for us.

Me: (wraps fingers slowly around table leg)

Being a content marketer is tough business. Being a content marketer who cares about the content part is even harder.

When defending an idea or desire to do better work, create-first content marketers so often hear the same comeback: “But how do you know? Can you prove that?”

Nope. I just know. I can feel it. I have good taste.

The metrics we use to “know things” in content marketing are often misused to justify bad behavior — just like my old colleague. And the obsession with cold, hard, often non-existent absolutes, instead of embracing the messiness that is making stuff, leads to some pretty disgusting decisions and grotesque content. I mean, there’s just no way any human being wants to keep hearing from your company when you promised them goodness but served them a loaf of crap, roasted for hours in the dumpster behind your office. With a sprinkle of parsley. For character.

Enough.

Introducing URR: Unsolicited Response Rate

I was recently interviewed in Boston at Daniel Glickman’s event, CMO Confessions. He asked how I measured the growth of my show. I knew the standard response here was some kind of strategic-sounding list of metrics and maybe a funnel graphic sketched excitedly onto a whiteboard. But, being a card-carrying member of Emotional Makers United (or “EMU”), I went right for the kill with a swift kick of the claw:

“Unsolicited responses to my work.”

If people are going out of their way to write me an email or leave a thoughtful comment or share the thing but with their own emotional response added? Clearly, the thing I made is good. And I can do some serious damage by marketing a thing that is good.

And thus “URR” was born.

I may never fully understand the content marketing industry’s need to explain in a dashboard what most humans intuitively know, but hey, us EMUs tend to fly — err, walk — in a different direction than most.

We look for resonance, not reach. We crave the creation part. We want to make stuff that matters — to us, to others. And guess what? That makes us huge weapons for any business. For an EMU, the feathers in your cap (or, you know, covering your body) come from making a thing that others really friggin’ enjoy. That’s the harder part today — making a thing people love, not putting a thing in front of people.

Once you do the hard part, lean in harder.

So, how do we measure what we make? People seemed to like it. A small number of people reacted in a big way. The rest of the stuff just tends to follow.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some tables to pick up.

Posted on October 17, 2017 and filed under IDEAS.