Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t

Small business digital marketing

There’s a book by this guy Steven Pressfield that changed my life.

It’s called Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t, and as you can imagine, it’s a book of tough love for aspiring writers, advertisers, and anyone who relies on words for a living. 

(If you’re a small business owner or nonprofit marketer, that also means you. But I’ll get back to that.)

The biggest takeaway from Pressfield’s book is this: People are busy. Super busy. On top of that, they’re getting barraged left, right, and center by ads, media, and content. On the radio, on their Facebook feeds, on the wall of the subway as they slog home from work. That garbage is everywhere.

It’s noisy. It’s chaotic. No one wants to read any of it. 

So sorry, my sweet little environmental nonprofit. No one wants to read your “here’s what we’re up to!” Instagram posts.

And you, guitar lesson business! No one wants to see a picture of a workshop flyer you made in Word on their Facebook feed.

If those posts aren’t adding immediate value to peoples’ lives (e.g. entertaining them), then nobody—quantifiably nobody—wants to read your sh*t.

And be honest: Do you really enjoy making those “here’s what we’re up to!” posts? 

I’ve worked with small businesses and nonprofits for years, and not once have I met a person who delights in spending hours creating event flyers in Word, then reposting them to Facebook. 🤮

It’s boring to make. And if it’s boring for you to make, then you can be dang sure it’s boring your audience to read.

So stop making it. Especially if you’re not seeing an increase in the number of customers coming through your door.

“But Mo!” you say. “I have to market my biz or org, don’t I?”

Yeah. You totally do. 

But it can be in a way that brings you joy. It can be in a way that’s cathartic and pleasant and makes you proud. 

Like El Arroyo, a Mexican restaurant in Austin. Someone at El Arroyo apparently loves changing the marquee sign outside, because this is what the business’s Instagram looks like:

That’s not lame sh*t. 

That’s funny as heck sh*t.

You know what else is wacky about this feed? El Arroyo has over 300,000 followers. All because someone on staff gets a real kick out of putting jokes and puns on their sign.

There are tons of businesses just like El Arroyo that have figured out their digital marketing doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s.

In fact, it’s better if your marketing is completely unexpected. While everyone else is screaming into the digital void, your funny, irreverent, and completely authentic content gets to kitesurf across it.

So. This is your permission slip to stop creating boring sh*t for your business’s Facebook page or Instagram.

More importantly, this is your permission slip to think about what you’d rather be doing instead.

Maybe it’s putting jokes on the marquee outside. Maybe it’s building the tallest tower you can out of your inventory boxes. Maybe it’s making sneaky 4 o’clock cocktails for you and your favorite employees.

There’s no rule that says you can’t find a way to turn your silliest hobbies into clever, effortless marketing.

Simply snap a pic or a video of you doing what you love to do, then press share. 

Like, I would totally follow the Instagram of a flooring outlet where the employees share videos of them smashing glass against various types of tile. (So durable! So mesmerizing!)

And I would definitely like the Facebook page of an environmental nonprofit that shares 15-second videos on how to clean a reusable straw. (Seriously, what’s the best way to clean them?)

That’s some sh*t I want to see.

Until next time,


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