I am came across a great story about Cecil B. DeMille, one of the great movie makers of the early years in Hollywood.

And this story reveals a problem that all of us have.

It’s the problem we have with communicating to our prospects in a way that they actually “hear” us.

Listen to the story and then I’ll explain…


The Hard Lesson the Founding Father of Hollywood Had to Learn

Cecil B. DeMille is acknowledged as a founding father of the Hollywood film industry, the most commercially successful producer-director in cinema history. Between 1913 and 1956, he made 70 features, both silent and sound films. Some of his blockbuster were:

  • The Ten Commadments
  • The King of Kings
  • The Greatest Show on Earth
  • And many, many others

Once DeMille was making one of his great epic movies. He had six cameras at different spots who were ready to catch the overall action. He had five other cameras set up to film plot developments involving the major characters. To say this was a serious undertaking would be an understatement.

The large cast had been rehearsing their scene since 6 a.m. They went through the scene four times and it was now late afternoon. The sun was setting and there was just enough light to get the shot done. That is when DeMille looked over the whole large set and saw that everything was perfect. That’s when he gave the command, “Action!”

That simple, forceful command set off a chain of events:

  • 100 extras charged up the hill.
  • Another hundred came storming down the same hill to do mock battle.
  • In another location, Roman centurions lashed and shouted at two hundred slaves who labored to move a huge stone monument toward its resting place.
  • Meanwhile the main characters acted out, in close-up, their reactions to the battle on the hill.

The only thing that might have seemed wrong to you was that their words were drowned out by the noise around them. But, that was ok. DeMille had planned for this. The dialogue would be dubbed in later.

The whole scene took fifteen minutes to complete. When it was finally over, DeMille yelled, “Cut!” He then turned to his assistant and with a smile said, “That was great!”

The assistant yelled back, It was, C.B.! It was fantastic! Everything went off perfectly!”

Enormously pleased, DeMille then turned to face the head of his camera crew. He wanted to find out if all of the cameras had picked up what they had been assigned to film. With anticipation, DeMille waved to the camera crew supervisor. And from the top of the hill, the camera supervisor waved back.

He then raised his megaphone, and called out, “Ready when you are, C.B.!”

In the midst of all of that commotion, he and his crew had missed DeMille’s cue and missed the whole scene!

The 2 Requirements for Effective Communication

DeMille had to learn this hard lesson: just because you’re yelling out something someone, it doesn’t mean you are actually communicating.

Communication only takes place when have two things:

1. Someone speaking

2. Someone listening

Many businesses who are attempting to use content marketing don’t seem to have learned this lesson yet. They still think that just because they’re shouting out their content at the top of their lungs that results should be happening.

Content Marketing Monologues?

“Most conversations are simply monologues delivered in the presence of a witness.” – Margaret Millar

The noise of this world is too loud for you to assume that your prospects are listening to you. You have to ensure that they hear you.

To do that you must start by asking yourself: “Is our content marketing a monologue? Or is it a dialogue?”

The world your prospects live in is too noisy to pay attention to everyone who is calling out to them. If they tried to do that, they’d go crazy!

You’ve got to realize that they aren’t waiting around listening for you. They are looking for answers to their questions.

They are tuning out all the screams from your competitors and they are scanning the “airwaves” for people who are providing the answers they want and need. Those are the type of messages that they will hear above the roar of this loud world.

You need to realize this important truth… Powerful content marketing is built on a dialogue.

It starts with listening and then moves to speaking aka creating content. (Most content marketers skip the first part and move straight to the second step.)

Let’s be real. To create content that no one ever “hears” (or wants to “hear”) is a waste of time. It’s not something that I want to do and I don’t think you do either. But to create content that comes through loud and clear – above the noise of life – that is the beginning of a very profitable endeavor. I’d gladly spend my time doing this any and every day.

I’ll be honest with you, to create content that is “heard” by your prospects is not an easy task. But it is a simple one. It comes down simply to this: Create content that answers the questions that your prospects have.

If you can learn to do this effectively, then your prospects will tune into your channel and rip the knob off.

Photo from SensesofCinema.com