Thin Rope, Thick Rope: Creating Content that Works

Big, thick ropes are necessary in the shipping industry because their strength keeps the ship secure. Keep in mind, a container cargo ship has a deadweight of roughly 220,000 tons!  That’s 440,000,000 lbs in case you don’t feel like doing the math.

So, how many people die each year when thick ropes are thrown over cargo ships to the team below waiting to secure the ship? The answer is below. But FIRST, take a look at the picture and give it your best guess.

Thick rope
Sailors pull in a ship with a thick rope

The answer is zero. That’s right. No confirmed deaths by being hit by a thick rope rocketing down from over 200 feet up.  

You see, the crew on the ship leads with a thin rope.  This size rope is the appropriate size for people below to catch and secure. Once the people below can control the thin rope, they use it to bring the thicker rope closer.  Without the thin rope to lead the way, the risk of dropping the thick rope (or causing injuries) increases.


Thick rope thin rope idea for marketing content creation
Thick Rope & Thin Rope secure the ship together

It’s the same with your content – thin rope content provides a safe and confident way to bring prospects into your more technical and necessary content. Do you market B2B enterprise software? How do you message and write technical content for your audience?

Be sure you lead with the thin rope.  Ask yourself:

  • Does your website spark a curiosity that then makes the visitor want to learn more and “pull the rope” themselves?
  • Are you providing your sales team and your channel partners with “thin rope” information that is easy to grasp?

This comes back to the previous post (Healthy Marketing Habits) about understanding your personas and Buyer’s Journey.

A quick review of the Buyer’s Journey starting with the thin rope concept:

  1. Loosen the status-quo with easy-to-grasp content.
    prospect thinks: “hmm, interesting; sounds like my issue.”
  2. Offer a clear next-step so the buyer pulls on the rope and commits to change.
    prospect thinks: “yes, this solution might help my business.”
  3. Explore solutions and the buyer takes hold of the thick rope.
    prospect thinks: “I’m going to dig a bit deeper – it’s worth my time.”
  4. Pick a solution and the buyer begins to secure the ship with the thick rope.
    prospect thinks: “nice to see the success of others using this.”
  5. Make a decision and the buyer’s work is done.
    prospect takes action: “let’s do this!”
    Success! The ship is safe and so are all those involved

Your audience, based on your personas, will determine just how thin or how thick the rope needs to be during specific phases along the Buyer’s Journey. Each industry and every audience will be a bit different; however, one thing is certain: most people don’t want change and most people don’t want to be hit over the head with thick, heavy rope, er, thick, heavy content.

Want a review of your Buyer’s Journey? Need to know if your technical content is too technical?  That’s where Hill Country Advisors can help.  Contact us.


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