Content Is Still King, But A Boring King Produces No Air

Michael Hume - Word Play logo

January, 2022 * Volume II, Number 1

Dear Clever Reader,

Welcome to Volume II of Word PLAY!, everyone’s favorite news-free newsletter and automatic inbox deletion!

In this action-packed edition, we discuss donuts. Also, we talk about how to craft winning content for your marketing materials, and how to get people to shower you with money and donuts.

(Next month, maybe we’ll discuss cutting-edge methods for getting powdered sugar out of your hair.)


Joking aside, THANK YOU for reading, and for making Firewords Creative Copy your go-to source for the words that win and the funny that makes money. I am humbled by your support, and seriously grateful for your business.

- Michael

Michael D. Hume, M.S.
Senior Author and Venn Vendor
Firewords Creative Copy

Meanwhile, in this edition of Word PLAY...

Content Is Still King
… But A Boring King Produces No Air

Word PLAY… Playful Monthly Commentary
On Persuasive Copy For YOUR Business

As avid readers of this feature (such as yourself) know by now, the best and fastest way to build those essential “Know, Like, and Trust” factors with your customers and prospects is to funny-up the marketing content you send them.

Let Brand X club their email list over the head with boring copy.

Your copy will make you instant friends among your prospects and customers because it will proudly announce that, while you take your business very seriously, you don’t take yourself too seriously.

Okay, so, you’re going to say what you have to say in an entertaining way, and some studies have shown that your stuff will therefore be opened and read at about two and a half times the rate your competitors get with their boring stuff.

But what, exactly, are you going to say in that entertaining way?

First, let’s look at how your competitor (poor knucklehead) thinks about what he should be telling his prospects and customers in his marketing content.

Imagine a “Venn” diagram (remember those?) with overlapping circles, and a “sweet spot” where all of the circles intersect. The stuff in that sweet spot is the content you want to prioritize.

For your competitor, there are three overlapping circles. The first says “I’m important and qualified.” The second says “I’m open for business” (and, if your competitor is slightly smarter than most knuckleheads, that circle will also include “… and I’d like some business from you”… but most even leave this out of their content). And the third circle is crammed full with a laundry-list of the products and services your competitor offers.

In other words, the sweet spot your competitor’s marketing copy is trying to hit is basically to say “I’m qualified (I showed up at school)… I’ve given myself a job doing X work… and here’s the same list of things offered by everyone who’s in the X industry. I offer those things too!”

You can guess how recipients of these messages tend to react. If they don’t immediately delete the email from their inbox without opening it (even faster than you deleted this), they might become so bored that they consider lighting themselves on fire by the second paragraph.

(Thankfully, in lieu of immolation, many simply unsubscribe from your competitor’s dwindling email list.)

Saying boring stuff in a boring way is thought by leading marketing scientists to be what experts call “a bone-headed approach.” Of course, non-leading marketing scientists love boredom. Boredom is easy. It requires no creativity, nor even thought. And the results it gets are commensurate.

YOUR content, though, will be as vibrant and clever as the funny and entertaining way you (or your humble yet generously-talented writer) will express it.

That’s because each edition of your lightly-humorous email newsletter will highlight ONE (and only one) of your firm’s differentiators.

Differentiators are sweet-spot features from a completely different Venn diagram. YOUR three overlapping circles are “things customers want and need,” “things I do super-well,” and “things Brand X doesn’t do, or doesn’t do well.”

So your copy will funnily discuss one of the features of your business which covers all three of those categories: “You need your CPA to call you back promptly when you have a question; I do that, and the guy down the street doesn’t. Also, I like donuts, so I might be nibbling one as we converse.”

(This is an exact quote from a recent edition of a client’s email newsletter, only with different words.)

It’s a fact that you and your competitors all offer about the same things. You have a few differentiators that make you stand out from the crowd – but so does Brand X. What makes your marketing messages 250% more effective is that you’ll bother to tell folks about your firm’s key differentiators, and do it in a way that your prospects and clients will actually welcome.

Content is still king. What you say in your marketing materials is important. But if you want more “air time” in your customers’ minds, make your content reach out to help your customers and prospects get to know, like, and trust you. Trumpet your key differentiators, and do so in a fun way.

Or, go get a job at Brand X. It won’t be as rewarding, or fun, but it might be easier.

Key Take-Aways From This Edition

  • It’s okay to eat a donut while you’re talking to a customer, as long as you do it quietly and, if possible, sneakily.
  • People who like you will forgive a lot of faux pas, including eating donuts while you’re on the phone.
  • Your customers have air in their heads. This is a Key Take-Away, but it hardly comes as a surprise.
  • When people enjoy reading the stuff you send them, they tend to instantly feel like they know you, like you, and can trust you. And you get more air time in their heads.
  • People who like you will be loyal to your business and willing to pay you more than they’d pay your competitor. We didn’t get around to covering this, because I was busy with a donut when that part was about to come up, but here it is as a Key Take-Away anyway because of how key it is.
  • If your business is special in some way, you might be better off mentioning that in your marketing materials, as opposed to listing all the things you offer which just about everybody in your industry offers.

Want more Key-Take-Aways? Keep your shirt on. Next month’s edition of Word PLAY! is only a month away!


Discussion Questions

  1. 1
    Is that a donut you're munching while you read this?
  2. 2
    Got any more?
  3. 3
    Is it time to increase readership, leads, and sales with lightly-HUME-orous marketing copy that highlights your business's key differentiators?

Send your answers to The most creative, inspirational response will be eligible to win a PRIZE! *

(* Prize is at the sole discretion of Michael Hume, his heirs and assigns, and a committee of leading marketing scientists and enthusiastic consumers of pastries. Entries received after midnight will be evaluated the next morning, and donuts may be consumed during the committee’s deliberations. So if you were to show up with, say, a dozen chocolate donuts with chocolate fudge and delightful sprinkles, you’d be welcome to join us, and your generosity would certainly be taken into consideration. This month’s Grand Prize is a big secret, but here’s a clue: There’s a hole in the middle of it. No, it’s not a vinyl record album, but that was a good guess. Boring, lackluster, or unimaginative entries will have no chance of winning, and may make you look like a knucklehead. Don’t take that chance. Best of luck!)

Last Month’s Grand Prize Winner: Wendy S. from somewhere in Colorado won this month for something that was actually a response to a client’s newsletter, months ago… but her entry (entry?) won anyway because, well, see for yourself: “I don’t see the point of sweet pickles, so I’ll leave those for the COVID-infected hairy pets.” Feedback like this simply can’t be ignored. Congrats, Wendy!

Not yet subscribed to Word PLAY? (HORRORS!)

I write HUME-orous marketing copy for happy clients who take their professions very seriously… but whose customers like and trust them because they don’t take themselves too seriously. Want more info? Get in touch…

Call me: (303) 478-8702
Email me:
Investigate me:
Bring chocolate donuts: 195 South Rancho Vista Drive, Pueblo West, CO 81007

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Copyright 2022 by Michael D. Hume, M.S. All rights reserved.
Word PLAY! might someday be made into a major motion picture, or perhaps a decorative candle
FireWords Creative Copy, 195 South Rancho Vista Drive , Pueblo West, CO 81007, United States

Michael D. Hume, M.S.

Michael Hume is a freelance writer, singer, and songwriter, and author of The 95th Christmas. He's an honor graduate of the Defense Information School, and holds an M.S. from the University of Colorado School of Business. Michael is the author of hundreds of online articles, including the popular series Great Leadership Requires Inspiration, The Conscience of a Restorationist, Appreciate Your Adversaries, and Take Care of Your Business.

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