Have you read an article about marketing or copywriting this month?
Chances are, what you got some tips, tricks and advice on how to write well. Strategy. Structure. Technique. Best practices.
Your article probably kicked butt. I mean, let’s get real. Otherwise you wouldn’t have read it. Because you don’t just read any old sucky content. You stiff out janky crap from 300 feet away (read: you avoid useless content because there’s nothing in it for you to improve your life.)
Practicality vs. Creativity
Let me ask you: as you read your last article on writing strategies, did you feel more like (A) a professional, or (B) a creative artist?
No, really. Stick with me. Think about it. What’s your answer: (A) or (B)?
You probably felt both like a professional, gleaning useful advice to perform your job better, and also like a bit of an artist. After all, writing’s a creative field, right?
But seriously, did the article activate more the copy critique in you, or did it fire up your creative soul? The pendulum swung more in one direction than another, I’m sure of it.
As content marketers find convenient ways to pump out useful, actionable content on a regular, frequent basis, their content becomes pretty technical and academic (I love academics, by the way. I scored a Master’s in Teaching 3 years ago for some odd reason.)
What hogties your attention?
The problem with this content you read, and its academic tone, is that a lot of bleeding-heart artists (i.e. writers) are reading your stuff.
They know it’s useful, they know it’ll help them become a better writer and entrepreneur. But it’s darn difficult not to wander off to more visually stimulating content somewhere else, like on YouTube, BuzzFeed, their favorite app game or even just Netflix. Hence destroying any writing breakthrough that could’ve happened that day.
Let’s do more of that in our content, for sure.
How can you grab attention better, starting now?
Look, as a writer, I’m not naturally keen on infographics. I’d like to change that…
Same goes for videos. Am I motivated to create more videos? I’ll get there. I’d love to learn how to produce video.
However, one thing I know how to do is draw. I’m freakin’ great at it. Not to brag. Just recognizing an asset I could tap into to grab more attention and make readers feel more like artists when they read my stuff. I’m not speaking to copy-chewing drones anymore.
That’s why I’ve drawn some of my own blog post images.
I also do it because I haven’t seen anything like it in the content marketing space yet. Exceptions: Mike Davenport and Henneke Duistermaat, and Neville Medhora. (Please let me know of others, and I’d love to glean ideas from them.)
I see a lot of great minds in the content marketing space, wonderful people who are just damn incredible at what they do, to be honest.
But the content marketing space sometimes feels academic as opposed to creative. Doesn’t it?
There’s nothing wrong with that. As long as you’re able to attract all those brilliant, creative minds so they don’t get bored and run off…
But why don’t content marketers break the mold a little more? It could do their creative reader base a lot of good.
That’s not to say you should break, or go against, templates and tactics proven to work.
I mean, use those templates proven to get your more traffic and click-through — but just use them more creatively.
For example, why don’t we seen more of the following in content marketing…?
The 7 creative leaps your readers wish you’d just take already:
- handwritten blog posts, scanned in, to give readers a more intimate, emotional, personal experience
- hand-drawn infographics and other simple images to help illustrate a concept or data
- posts with built-in music players to texture and supercharge posts
- posts with guest-submitted any of the above to supplement content (read: if you can’t do it, get a content marketing creative genius to create your hand-drawn elements)
- more predominately image/slide-based content
- ideas told through a personal story, fictional scenario or personality (so the content is equal parts creative writing and actionable tips)
- video/audio clips of you reading out your blog post if people don’t want to read (to get visitors to stick around longer and understand your content better)
Poets vs. Killers: Which are you?
David Ogilvy distinguished two types of writers: poets, and killers.
We all want to be killers. But we shouldn’t be killers all the time. Where the hell did our childish, devil-may-care creativity run off to?
We seriously need to have more fun. Or least I do. I’ve read tons of content about copywriting since 14 months ago when I changed careers to become a copywriter. I mean, I haven’t read that much. But it feels like a lot to me. And now I wish everyone would just take a chill pill and get back to why you became a content marketer in the first place:
You fell in love with the art.
And I know art involves technique, and templates, and structure. But why not take what we’re already doing and just spice it up a little? See: my suggestions for improving content above.
Lastly, here’s a list of content marketers I admire because they have a real love for the craft, and they’re not merely technicians. They’re true artists:
- Jon Morrow (subscribe to this man. I forgot to mention his Writer’s Recipe Box. Super immersive. Super what-everyone-else-should-be-doing.)
- Henneke Duistermaat
- Kenneth Burke
- People who write articles like this on Copyblogger
When we launch into creating content, let’s think about ways we can make it more interesting to readers. And grab the fleeting attention of the more creative, whimsical types. Because there’s nothing wrong with loving pictures, audio and creative solutions to a problem. It just takes a little more effort on your part and destroying preconceived expectations to pull it off.
I want to get creative again. I miss it.
I’ve lost Ogilvy’s poet.
I have too much of my inner critic going on.
It’s time to unhinge the stifling rules you hamper yourself with.
Let’s get excited about everything again. Let’s decide — nah, let’s force ourselves — to get interested in creative content creation again.
Let’s tear down the rule board. Just for a day.
And play in the wreckage.
It’s time to animate your creativity, friends. Now hop to it!