Online Content: Dogs are not Horses


I see it again and again; an executive, or a manager, or a sole proprietor, making an assumption about their social media or web site content. Often they follow a pattern of logic, steeped in sometimes decades of experience and best practice. The problem is, it’s best practice in their area of expertise, not content.

Let me tell you a true story. For a couple thousand years civilization has been very focused on horses. They were for a very long time the means of getting around. When you went a-courtin, you would borrow your dad’s Mustang to impress the girls. Generally anyone who was interested in transportation knew at least a few things about horses, and probably a lot.

Now we’re in the age of the automobile, and horses, while still abundant, are the thing of niche enthusiasts. Many of these same enthusiasts also breed the higher lines of champion dogs, which led to something that negatively affects dog’s in general to this day: their quality was and sometimes is based on physical features of horses.

This illustrates a classic rift in experts. The equestrian dog breeder can point to extensive knowledge acquired over dozens of generations. The relatively new experts who explore dogs as dogs see progress in a different light. They have the advantage of specialization without equal benefits of general or multi-generational experience.

This brings us back to our crusty old marketing managers, some of them multi-millionaires, having built companies with billions in revenue, staring down an upstart web content editor with starkly different ideas. If the old school wins, you get something that is neither a dog nor a horse and everyone loses. Often this is exactly what happens, and the company deems the web and social projects as ineffective, not realizing they guaranteed that result before the project started.

The key is a mutual respect. The seasoned executives must grant the freedom and have the patience to let the professional content producer to their job according to their specializations’ best practice and strategy for maximum long-term results. Content creators should look to veteran executives and managers for business experience and understanding of their industry.