Make Your Message Be What Matters:
Blogging, Media — By Joe Carter on May 6, 2008 at 12:01 am
A Lesson from a McDonald’s Happy Meal
My son brought home a toy from McDonald’s yesterday. It’s a little plastic singer named “Hippie Harmony” that plays a 6-note tune whenever you lift her “microphone arm.”
Every note that warbles from the cheap speaker in the back of her head is now stuck in my head.
We all know what it’s like to be unable to stop humming a catchy tune. But as we hum, it’s not usually the whole tune. The only part stuck in our mouth and reeling us in is the hook.
Hippie Harmony’s song is only a hook.
Of course, the toy’s tune is not a good pop song, because it’s just 2 seconds long, but it gets its message across. I’m humming it.
Sometimes our writing, preaching, marketing, or any kind of important content-creation should be like a well-crafted pop song: 97% forgettable context making the 3% that is a hook even more memorable.
Other times, the content should be all hook, 100%. Like Hippie Harmony, we should sing it, say it, or write it–and then be done. Sit down.
Either way, we need a hook–a point. Then, whatever we write or say beyond that should serve readers by enhancing that point.
Because, after all, the point is…the point. We’re not. Good writers, preachers, marketers, etc. get out of the way of their message.
Hippie Harmony will be in the garbage soon. That is to say, if she had an RSS feed, I wouldn’t subscribe. Still, no matter what municipal dump she ends up in, her effect–small as it may be–is staying right here in my mind.
As she gets trucked away, I’ll be humming her tune.
To most people, our articles, blogs, sermons, and sales pitches are like low-grade plastic doohickeys: Hopefully, we’re not a nuisance to have around–in fact, we might be somewhat helpful or convicting or amusing. But when it comes down to it, we’re simply not that important in and of ourselves.
But we keep writing, blogging, preaching, and selling!
It’s not that surprising, I suppose–we have messages that really matter to us. We can’t shut up–we’re too excited about what we have to say.
This is exactly how it should be. The message of what we write or say is what will make our contribution to the blogosphere or church service matter to people.
Any time we’re creating content that we think is important we should constantly think, how can I cast my hook so it lodges most securely (and helpfully) in my readers’ minds. Sometimes it will be amid a lengthy article with all kinds of supporting text. And other times, like this McDonald’s Happy Meal toy, we’ll just sing our 6 notes and be quiet.
Either way, the goal is never to make ourselves more valuable to more people, but to leave behind a message that will serve an audience who may very well have already forgotten who we are. If our content is important and we heed our hook, people will still be humming our songs long after you and I have gone the way of Hippie Harmony.