The multiple uses and meanings of the word ‘spam’ are fascinating to look at for anyone even slightly interested in etymology, emailing and marketing.
Coined in relation to mass unsolicited email in 1994, when an enterprising/annoying group of lawyers mass-posted to a group of conference forums, the cheesed-off recipients of the message compared the lawyers’ tactic to Monty Pythons’ depiction of the canned meat: an inescapable, annoying, tasteless presence. It stuck. So does Spam.
Throughout the years, the meat gained several ‘humorous’ acronymical names and perhaps it is one of these – Some Parts Are Meat – that should have actually been the reason for its association with communication that doesn’t quite hit the mark.
Too often, some blogs seem to feature some meaty chunks, surrounded by lots of jelly and gristle. We start saying something interesting and then we wander off into territory our target audience doesn’t care about.
As Chris pointed out last week: it can even happen with professional journalists and maybe some of what they had to say wasn’t even that interesting at the start of their article. But no matter what we think of them, or their article, these are trained professionals with plenty of qualifications and a lot to say. If they can get it wrong, so can we.
I often hear people in our office talking to clients about spam filters; about how to avoid them and make emails readable for the people at the other end of the communication – and Paul has seen our guide on this and asked that we share it with you at the end of this piece – but ‘spam filters’ can also be inbuilt and organic, as well as computer controlled nets.
To that end, I also overhear people in our office talking to clients about making sure they are saying something interesting. We’re told so often that we should be blogging and pushing content out there that we can sometimes trap ourselves into generating something where only Some Parts Are Meat.
There’s also the affliction of the blog we composed when we were too rushed to think about grammar and spelling. You might also notice, if you are interested in what it has to say, that the guide to avoiding spam filters talks about the importance of writing in proper English – not employing devious tactics like putting full stops in between ‘hot’ words. If your communication was that vital, would you really need to do that? It’s the same with rushed blogs. Format things properly, otherwise what are you really saying to your clients about the worth of your article? That it’s spam?
One single word has come to refer to anything clients and contacts don’t want. The things they do want provide perspective and knowledge; they encourage, discuss, are open, personal and add value.
So, was your last blog spam? Did it stick? And which meaty parts can you take out and focus on improving next time?
Our guide to avoiding spam filters, for those who do send great stuff to their clients, is available here for f.r.e.e.