Are You Guilty of Content Foie Gras?

February 2, 2017

by Carla Johnson

An interesting question came up at dinner the other day.

I was in Chicago catching up with my good friend Evan McLaughlin. Evan and I met a few years ago at Content Marketing World and I’ve found his perspective as a content strategist for Motorola Solutions interesting.

While perusing the menu he suddenly sat back, crossed his arms and asked me a pointed question.

“Do we suffer from content foie gras?”

How do we define “too much?”

Foie gras is a French term that means fatty liver. It refers to the practice of over stuffing a duck or goose in order to make their liver insanely fat. The culinary belief is that this fatty liver is a delicacy in which to partake.

The irony of Evan’s question is this: These animals are force fed something they don’t want (or need) in order to create something that someone else thinks is amazing.

In the content world, isn’t that exactly what we’re trying to do? To force so much content down the throat of our audiences that we’ll eventually convince them that we’re a delicacy?

I’ve written about research that highlights why customers don’t trust you and it boils down to this: We push products down their throat and have too little empathy for their situation.

Re-learning the obvious

Evan asks questions like this of our profession that I wish more content marketers would probe into. Why are we so blind to the obvious? Why do we continue with tactics we have proof don’t work?

Marketers, it’s time to realize that enough’s enough. Stop the ridiculousness of pumping out content for the sake of production rather than purpose. Quit bowing to other people’s request for things that don’t have a rhyme or reason. Instead, start with the experience you want to create for your audience, and then back that into what makes sense.

Photo credit: Gratisography

About Carla Johnson


Carla Johnson is a world-renowned storyteller, an entertaining speaker, and a prolific author.

Over the last two decades, Carla has helped architects and actuaries, executives and volunteers, innovators and visionaries leverage the art of storytelling to inspire action. Her work with Fortune 500 brands has served as the foundation for many of her books.

In her latest project, Fast Forward Files, she contributes to a larger collection of thoughts by some of the world’s greatest minds -  Shazam co-founder Dhiraj Mukherjee, activist and entrepreneur Heather Mills and behavioral designer, technologist and mental-health champion Peter Trainor. Consistently named one of the top influencers in B2B, digital and content marketing, Carla regularly challenges conventional thinking. 

Today, she travels the world teaching anyone (and everyone) how to cultivate idea-driven teams that breed unstoppable creativity and game-changing innovation.