Make content stand out by being different

Good content is not just about blogs and white papers. Although these are important, there are plenty of other opportunities to communicate with customers – prospective or otherwise.

There are few better illustrations of this than the fulfilment email produced by CD Baby back in the late 1990s. A product of the pre-dotcom boom, the company was launched as a one-man distribution network for unsigned bands. Back then, it was impossible to get into record stores if you didn’t have a label.

The purchase confirmation email it sent to customers is legendary.

It goes:

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with sterilised contamination-free gloves and placed on to a satin pillow.

A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure it was in the best possible condition before mailing.

Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of Portland waved “Bon Voyage!” to your package, on its way to you, in our private CD Baby jet on this day, Friday, June 6th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did. Your picture is on our wall as “Customer of the Year”. We’re all exhausted but can’t wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!


We miss you already. We’ll be right here at patiently awaiting your return.

All your friends at CD Baby

It went viral and instantly created a stir among those used to receiving similar but functional emails from Amazon et al. People even replied to it. More importantly, the email instantly marked out the service as something different. And this was CD Baby’s aim.

Being different can enable you to stand out from the crowd. The best explanation comes from UK advertising’s Dave Trott with his squares and circles analogy.

Trott used the example of four people drawing shapes of roughly the same size on a piece of paper. Three of them are squares, either drawn with laser-sharp angles, expensive ink or on specially produced paper. The other is a circle.

Hold them up together and what stands out?

By being different, good content marketing – like good advertising – can distinguish a brand as unique. And, obviously, it is better to do that than just be part of the crowd.

Make content stand out by being different is part of Content24, the online magazine for London content marketing agency FirstWord.

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