We preach a lot about creating marketing people love, by way of remarkable content. But what actually makes a piece of content powerful, timeless, and inspiring? It's something we often wonder, not often answer.
With the recent passing of one of the greatest poets of our time, Seamus Heaney, we decided to write this blog post as a tribute to geniuses like him who inspire us and as an answer to that question that has plagued marketers forever. In the SlideShare and blog post below, we'll showcase quotes from some of our content heroes and break down what marketers can learn from their advice.
Content Creation Lessons From History's Greatest Innovators
Lesson 1: Connect With Your Audience
When you are creating a piece content, whether it be a blog post, an ebook, or a script for a video, remember that you are a human, communicating with humans. You want your words to be more than words; you want them to connect to your audience and inspire action within them. Don’t settle for mediocre. Strive to move and inspire your readers by connecting with them as a fellow human.
Lesson 2: Simplify Complicated Things
It can be really difficult to simplify your content so that your reader clearly understands the value you have just provided them. When concepting and designing your content, have one clear goal in mind -- the key benefit you want your reader to go away with -- and make sure you consistently portray that message in its simplest form throughout your content.
Lesson 3: Back It Up
Any claims, statistics, data, or numbers you put in your content need to be backed up by credible sources. Always cite your source and if the studies have been carried out by you, it makes for even better content.
Lesson 4: Try New Things
There are lots of different types of content you can create. Branch out and try new things; if it doesn’t work, find out why and tweak it. If it still doesn’t work, move on to the next thing. Try out video, podcasts, case studies, ebooks, infographics, workbooks, games, quizzes, etc, until you find the most effective media for your content. Variety is the spice of life!
Lesson 5: Tell a Great Story
Every piece of content you write should tell a story. It doesn’t matter if you are in a "boring industry" (as we have heard so many times before), or if you are writing an industry report, ebook, presentation, etc. There is always a story to be told that will get your message across and resonate with the reader to leave a lasting impression.
Lesson 6: Be Remarkable
Content that makes people stop in their tracks is content that gets shared. Don’t be afraid to write controversially, challenge the status quo, and think outside the box. It's kind of a no brainer: remarkable content is content that gets remarked upon, so write in a way that encourages people to comment with their own opinions on your subject matter.
Lesson 7: Test, Test, Test!
It took Alexander 11 years to go from his first telephone experiment to the first wire conversation ever held. It took him another 39 years to be able to speak by telephone across states. The lesson here is that it can take time and many, many experiments with your content before you get it right. But just like Bell’s invention, there is always room for improvement; so keep testing!
Lesson 8: Practice Makes Perfect
Practice makes perfect. We have all heard it a million times -- probably because it’s true. The more you write, the better your writing will be. Expect it not to be awesome from the get-go, but never give up.
Lesson 9: Take Time Out to Think It Out
One of the biggest mistakes marketers make is jumping right into the writing bit of content creation before actually taking the time to think about the goals, the key takeaway for your reader, and how you will make it engaging. Sometimes, scheduling a 30-minute brainstorming session before you try to write a piece of content can take your piece of content to the next level. You’ll get even more out of it if you bring in some other creative minds to contribute, too.
Lesson 10: Just Get It Done
There’s not much to add to Mandela’s point. Sometimes you just need to stop making excuses, sit yourself down, and get it done.
Lesson 11: Quality Over Quantity
Don't write anything for the sake of writing something. Take your time to create valuable content that you feel passionate about. Content that comes from something you feel strongly about will get much better results than something you just wrote because it was in your timetable to do so. Content doesn't have to be an ebook, either; brainstorm some fun new ways to produce content and reignite your creative spark.
Lesson 12: Create Marketing People Love
Spread the joy. Create marketing people love. Write content that makes people smile so that they will want to come back for the next installment. Make people happy, and they'll become a passionate advocate.
Who inspires your content? Share your favorite quotes with us in the comments!