The announcement of the EU referendum, combined with the really cold weather has left me with a bit of a problem. The cold weather means I would rather take a taxi to the station than cycle; and the EU referendum announcement means that every single taxi driver is extremely keen to share their views about Europe, or more accurately, are keen to use the Europe debate to broadcast their views on everything remotely concerned with Europe.

On Friday morning I crawled out of bed (for I am not a morning person) slunk into the shower, hastily pushed a couple of bits of toast into my mouth and sprinted out the door to get in a taxi to the station. As the cab started to move and I heard the central locking engage (the point of no escape). The driver looked at me with a “captive-audience” gleam in his eye and uttered the phrase I really didn’t want to hear – “Europe huh?” followed by a 7 minute monologue about why leaving Europe would stop people taking his job?!? Thankfully no input was required from me beyond the occasional non-committal grunt and the journey passed swiftly.

Once installed in a seat on the train I opened my laptop to take a look at the mornings emails and realised that quite a lot of the emails I had received over night gave me a similar feeling to the one I had when the taxi driver began his anti-Europe monologue. Not in terms of subject matter, but because the majority of content was simply not that appealing:

The badly written sales email: Dear Chris, I want to reach out/touch base/connect to tell you about our product that will help you…

The badly targeted sales email: Dear Chris, we sell injection molded widgets at rock bottom prices, buy now to avoid disappointment…

The boaster with a message: I want to tell you about how I made 30 million pounds in six weeks using a simple mix of blah blah blah and show how I can help you too…

The just dull: The latest research into last year’s research about research shows that research has been researched more comprehensively than ever

The quirky infographic: a new way of looking at something that you are not really interested in in picture form…

The same again: Dear Chris, here’s something that was interesting the first two times you read it but not any more…

The ?????: Dear Chris we can help deliver actionable insights about conversations on insightful actions…

Every so often you find a gem, something genuinely interesting, helpful or topical, a snippet that helps you or something that piques your interest in a new topic. But we live in a world of content overload where every person and their dog have something to say and at least 4 ways to get it in front of your nose. Admittedly, I signed up for most of these emails because they had something interesting to say at some point and as such I am kind of a captive audience.

It’s more vital than ever to ensure your content is able to differentiate you from the masses, if it isn’t interesting, well written, relevant or useful to your audience you may as well give up, buy a taxi and start telling people how you feel about Europe on the way to the station!