Why content writers are like cat owners

Posted by Sara Hawthorn

As I watched the Christmas tree topple over, again, I thought about the lengths cat owners often go to to secure affection and those precious purrs and cuddles so sporadically given and how we, as content writers and marketers, aren’t that different. If you think about it carefully the comparisons become scarily accurate. Don’t believe me? Read on you feline doubters.

Comparison 1: Cats are picky about what they eat

Too wet, too dry, the wrong flavour entirely, it’s not sitting in the bowl the right way, the list of why our kitties turn their noses up at their food is ridiculous and, if the internet is to believed, endless. When it comes to content who hasn’t sat for hours pondering the many possible reasons why a particular article, video, blog or graphic just hasn’t been scoffed up by hungry audiences? It was so carefully planned, we lament, so in tune with our brand persona reports it couldn’t possibly just be sitting there festering on the internet without so much as an interested sniff from at least a few people. So we tweet about it a little more, in much a similar way to poking the food bowl in a pitiful attempt to make it more appealing. People are choosy about the content they digest. Kind of like cats, yes?


Comparison 2: You’re forever trying to please them

Oh, you want the door open now? You like to be scratched there, but not there. Maybe you’ll play with this new toy /scratch box / half dead mouse you dragged in yourself. Cat owners face the endless battle of trying to please their whiskered companions in the hope of some cat lap action and satisfying purrs. Content writers and marketers are always producing work with the aim of garnering affection, admiration and attention whether for themselves, a brand or a cause. Trying new and different things and anticipating what’s going to be the next popular thing is a huge part of our day-to-day work. Engagement is the online equivalent of cat snuggles on the sofa, admit it.

content writers are like cat owners

Comparison 3: Cats have mad hours when everything is AMAZING

At 11pm the cat tears around the living room, back legs frantically ripping at the catnip mouse, or repeatedly running up and down the cat tree like its the best, most fun thing it’s every seen. An hour later, nothing is interesting and cat goes back to napping on the radiator bed, turning its back on the chaos it just created with a contented sigh. Exactly the same thing can happen with content marketing; you’ve hit the jackpot on a piece of shared content and are riding on a catnip-like high of shares, likes, loves and comments. For a few hours it’s going amazingly well. Then in a flash it wears off and you’re left with an eerie calm of internet silence. Your content is forgotten as the next more interesting thing appears. They turned their backs on your chaos.


Comparison 4: Your cat owns you, not the other way around

Even non-cat owners know this. They’ve got you wrapped around their cute, furry little paws and if you’re honest, you kind of like fussing over them. If we’re being brutal about this, our audiences own us too. And we kind of like it. We like producing content that pleases, something that satisfies, we get thrills when we get it right and bask in the warm, albeit fleeting adoration of our target audiences or the harsh jurors of social media. What’s even more telling that our public own us rather than the other way around, is that we keep trying until we get it right, the continual cycle of sending out communications in the hope of reciprocation.


Ok, so cats are cuter, fluffier (mostly) and favour a plain old empty box for entertainment, but you can’t argue their discerning nature and picky ways resonate a lot with how people interact with all the content that’s thrown at them on a minute by minute basis. Similarly, how content writers and marketers deal with that and how it affects our behaviour towards the content we produce is remarkably like how cat owners modify their behaviours to accommodate the cat. If you’re still not convinced just remember this the next time you’re trying to turn over in the middle of the night whilst kitty occupies the best spot on the duvet.