Earlier this year, I wrote that I believe in the critical role of art in content marketing.
But what does this actually mean? When you think about it, what does the word "art" actually mean?
"I knew it when I saw it." - Random Critic
For the purposes of this talk, I will define Latest Mailing Database art as something that cannot be expressed by an algorithm. Its creative sparks, unusual choices, flares of personality, moments of genuine human empathy and connection.
I believe this is a serious mistake to think that marketing and art are somehow separate.
As Brian Clark has said over the years:
"People who think art is sacred and marketing is dirty are often terrible marketing and fringe artists. People who think art is irrelevant and marketing is about tricking people into buying shit they don't need is often terrible marketing and terrible humans. " - Brian Clark, "The Catcher in the Rye" and the Art of False Marketing
While I define art, let me go ahead and define marketing: it's what we communicate with that enables us to collaborate with others. Advertising, social strategy, SEO, funnels, automation - they all need to serve that function.
Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that marketing is another word for lies . Don't buy it.
Smart businesses don't accept "it's just marketing" excuses that hide the truth, or make excuses that don't do anyone any good.
Smart marketers embrace the art of what they do, as much as strategy and execution.
Here are some advice anyone can take on how an artist works, and how to adopt a more artistic mindset, that I've achieved over the years.
1. Artist Freaks Crafted
"Innovation happens in action: it's not a feature; it's something you do." - Burt Dodson
Get a bunch of writers together and you'll hear a whole bunch of weird talking about structure, language, word choice, metaphors, and serial commas.
Art is about your unique and personal, expression of the world you see around you. But you cannot express that you can see and touch until you have mastered the craft of your choice.
As a content marketer, you make a living writing. Dive into subjects that will teach you how to stitch words together in ways you haven't tried.
study poetry. Study the script. Research short stories. If you're a podcaster, take acting lessons and vocal lessons.
The reason an artist's life is so interesting and rewarding is that you never stop learning. When you master your craft on one level, new levels are revealed. The game becomes more complex and interesting.
Any research in creative writing will benefit you as a content marketer. You will learn how to express, not to speak. You will consider word choice more carefully. You'll learn the nuances that make your storytelling superb.
A writing workshop can be a great start, but there are a lot of wonderful books written brilliantly. Here are just a few suggestions - it's far from a complete list.
Stephen King's writing
Samuel Delany on Writing
Christopher Vogler is a writer's journey
How to Write a Damn Good Novel by James Frey N.
Natalie Goldberg's Written Bones
2. Artists protect their production time
If you pick up a book (I'm a bit obsessed with this topic), you'll find something amazing.
Almost all great writers, musicians, painters, and other artists tend to work in clearly defined work cycles.
They almost always have specific times of day set aside for creative work. They protect this time can be ferocious on a brutal frontier.
Typically, this time is strictly reserved for what writers call "exposure drafts" - we take new ideas and craft as much work through them as we can manage the messy and sometimes ugly part of the creative process.
You need to be a little cruel how to protect this time. This is more important than ever, thanks to the tantalizing calling of so many distractions.
Because, let's be honest, for many days, that wasn't the funniest part. In this moment, when all those lovely dreams and ideas get less than ideal - on the web, on the canvas, or on the screen.
That's the scary thing you face, "the words on the screen don't sound like they do in my head."
The only way most of us have ever managed to accomplish anything is simply to be pretty robotic about getting the job done. Nonstop creative time needs to be jammed into your calendar. You need to defend it - as much as possible against yourself and other resistance.