My Australian Shepherd, Mavis, is very communicative. People are always commenting on how human-like her facial expressions are (my daughter insists that Mavis winks at her).

Mavis also scratches the back door when she wants me to do her bidding. Sometimes she wants to go out, sometimes she wants food or water, and sometimes my other dog took her toy and she wants me to get it back for her (despite the fact that she’s triple the other dog’s size).

Today, however, she’s making me feel like I’m a few sugars shy of a sweet tea. She’s been scratching that door off and on for hours, trying to get her message through. I keep trying to figure it out, and she keeps staring at me with that, “Bless your heart” look on her face. (In case you don’t speak Southern, that means she thinks I’m an idiot.)

We’re clearly not communicating, and we’re both becoming frustrated.

Is your content marketing nothing more than scratching the door?

Sometimes, content marketing is like that, too. Your content just isn’t hitting the mark and, for whatever reason, your audience is disengaging. What do you do?

Maybe my Mavis checklist will help.

  • Is she bored?
  • Is she sick?
  • Is she intentionally irritating me?
  • Does she find it amusing to make me get up a dozen times an hour?
  • Doesn’t she know that I need to be writing a white paper?
  • Doesn’t she care about my needs at all?
  • Doesn’t she know that the world revolves around me and my needs?

Or…

  • Am I just not listening?
  • Am I trying to make whatever it is that she’s trying to tell me fit my preconceived notion of what I think she should be trying to tell me?
  • How much time and effort am I willing to commit to understanding what she wants from me?
  • Am I blaming her for the fact that her repeated attempts to tell me something specific (after she scratches the door, she keeps moving a few steps away to stand on the same spot) aren’t getting through?
  • Should I really be throwing up my hands and saying, “I just don’t get it!”?

So maybe this wasn’t a wasted day after all. I wonder if making me think about the needs of my audience was her goal all along? I know Aussies are smart, but…

Oh, well. Food for thought. I’m going to go teach her to put her toys away.