Merry Friday Fix Day and Happy Holidays! It’s really hard to believe that we have exactly two weeks until Christmas Day. Even though the holidays are rip-roaring by at mach speed, there’s still much you can do to incorporate the season into your content marketing strategy as well as your office. In this week’s Fix, we reveal how Santa is not only Papa Christmas, he’s also Papa Content. We also share ideas for how to add a little holiday spice to your office holiday party. Equally tantalizing are what can be gleaned from creative writers and journalists as well as the vitality of transparency in brand storytelling. It’s a been a great week for content marketing, and in case you missed it, we’ve got your Fix right here! Welcome to the Friday Fix!
Given that my MA is in creative writing, Alexander Kesler’s article appealed to me; in this piece, Alexander discusses some of the flaws inherent to many “trained” creative writers; however, creative writers can play an essential role in content marketing, which Alexander illustrates by sharing sound advice from greats like Steinbeck, Vonnegut, Orwell, and others. At the heart of all of their creative writing insight applicable to content marketing, the goal is to be direct; rather than writing for an audience of many, write for an audience of one. Vonnegut is quoted as saying, “Make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.” (Umm…I think pneumonia would be the least of your story’s worries, but let’s just leave that there.) Ultimately, Alexander touts many things successful creative writers do while discouraging the common tendency to be affected and nebulous. Ultimately, he concludes, there are things writers and content marketers can learn from one another (oh, and freelance creative writers are the obvious choice for all of your outsourced storytelling needs (yeah, that was shameless, wasn’t it?)).
I think we’ve well-established the many merits of journalists and how awesome they are at content marketing, so let’s skip past that and get right to the meat of Brian Hughes’ article, which are three classic journalism techniques that can enhance your content marketing. Brian advises pulling from the headlines, not buying leads, and being a storyteller. Consequently, he also provides insight on doing these techniques, but you need to check out his article for the details.
If you’ve never thought of Santa in terms of content marketing before, let Rachel Parker show you how the man is indeed an absolute genius of content marketing. Okay, so admittedly, today’s Santa isn’t the exact same guy as the one who originally inspired today’s beloved Father Christmas, but that’s okay because from a content marketing standpoint, this guy is much more cut out for the job. He’s personal with a strong visual brand, and he’s got a consistent story. Now, tell me you don’t want your content marketing to be more like Santa.
If anyone else is obsessed with this season of The Voice, you’ll notice a theme: the singers who are the most honest about their stories (i.e., their brands) are the ones who are in the finale (also, they’ve just been slaying their vocals…could these people be more talented?). In this piece, Christine McManus endorses the same kind of raw transparency because it makes you trustworthy. How best to establish this? Through storytelling (and a few other things, which you’ll have to check out Christine’s article to find out about).
While not every story lends itself to an identical visual medium, Ted Karczewski makes a solid case for finding the most appropriate interactive strategy for storytelling. Possibly, this is because Ted gets me; in this article, he points out that people fast-forward through commercials, close pop-ups, and delete email offers (yep, yep, and yep!). The significance? To appeal to your audience, you’re going to have to take an innovative and interactive storytelling approach in which you deliver an experience that can’t be had anywhere else.
The word “Pixar” automatically conjures reminders of the game-changing Toy Story film released in 1995. Following Toy Story, Pixar went on to hit home run after home run. How? Well, as Alicia Fiorletta notes in this piece, it’s because they’re able to strike emotional chords with their audiences. Alicia then goes on to reveal the secrets of the Pixar universe as shared by storyboard artist Emma Coasts who reveals (via her Tumble blog) “22 storybasics” (such as simplifying, focusing, and combining characters) learned at Pixar. Tell me more, Alicia. Tell me more.
The road to content marketing success thankfully has many paths. In this article, KC Claveria covers some that are, to use KC’s word, “epic.” After all, “good” is not longer “good enough”; thus, you have to go above and beyond to get noticed. While you don’t need to wear sequins or get shoulder implants, you do need to try things that maybe you haven’t tried before like…transparency. Yep, KC also endorses transparency. Read KC’s article to see what else qualifies as epic in today’s content marketing.
Enough can’t be said or taught about storytelling. Even though the art of storytelling has been around since humans could understand one another’s grunting, there’s always room for refining the craft. In this piece, Jake Athey shares three secrets to telling a good story: channeling other people, using an authentic voice, and creating an emotional connection. Sure, that’s obvious, you may say, but it’s all easier said than done, which is why Jake’s insights on how to make these things happen are tips worth reading about.
I feel that “Data Man” should be a superhero who uses the theme to Batman for all of his entrances and literally swoops in to save the day when content marketers are struggling to get it right. Per author Danny Wong, 92% of The Content Marketing Association’s members leverage customer data to boost content marketing, and 83% anticipate using data more within the next year. Why? “Data-driven content tends to outperform traditional blog posts and reported stories.” Persuasive decks, emotional headlines, and shareable / newsworthy data are just a few of the data-driven storytelling approaches that are nothing shy of inspirational.
So, if you’re not doing as well as you’d like to be, or think you should be doing, or you’re just outright failing, take heed in Kaitlin Loyal’s wisdom, which is that “marketing today is more complicated than it’s ever been.” (There’s a double-edged sword if I’ve ever seen one.) Why is this? Well, first, you must be proficient in multiple areas, you also need to be able to navigate the three C’s, and you need to be able to do it while juggling multiple projects. See what Kaitlin has to say on what’s got to give and how you can manage.
Hohoho! Tis’ the season to come together and to spread joy via the office Christmas party. To date, I’ve only been to two types of holiday office parties: the one where everyone stands around uncomfortably, reluctant to talk about more than the last e-mail they opened; the other is the one where everyone is over-boozed and tempted to over-share. While we’re all for letting loose, we’d like to suggest a few ways you can embrace the season, let go, and celebrate together. For example, consider celebrating for a cause; gather the group together for an agreed-upon mission of volunteering. Tacky sweaters and holiday treasure hunts also add a creative flair to the office party that make the event all about camaraderie and good cheer.
Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect.
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