- Don’t forget the craft
It may look like the artist painting your portrait is free-wheeling, but they’re often applying a craft you can’t recognize. The mark of a true expert is making a hard thing look easy. For all of their abstract creativity, artists care deeply about their craft. The same is true of writers, who only learn to break rules of grammar for dramatic effect after they’ve become intimate with those rules.
When you’re crafting content to help sell your product or service, use severe attention to detail. Grab Strunk and White’s style guide or Stephen King’s famed book about proper writing. The better you hone your craft, you better your content will sound.
- Leave creative time for drafting and free writing
Before that artist ever creates something beautiful, she probably spent hours creating whatever came to her mind. Artists call this getting mileage out of their brush, and they do everything possible to protect their creative time.
As a content marketer, you must develop a similar process. You should set some time out each day or week to pour through ideas for episodic content or other compelling writing. Even if you end up scrapping the vast majority of ideas, this period of free writing will help generate creativity and lead to better ideas down the road.
- Use bad art as the impetus for good art
Even the best artists produce bad art every now and then. The world’s best writers have produced essays and even whole books that are hardly readable. What these professionals know is that bad art can be the motivation for good art. Every creation should be a learning experience, even if you aren’t able to use it on your website or blog.
If you write something and then decide to scrap it, mine it for ideas and elements that could be used to build a solid piece of content. If not, you should write down what you didn’t like about the content so you can improve in the future. This strategy will ensure that you never have a complete time loss in your content marketing efforts.
- Develop a community and ask questions
Artists lean on other artists. Good writers lean on the people around them, too. They’re always looking to learn new tricks and concepts from people who may have discovered something helpful. The first step for you is to participate in online and offline communities that allow you to ask these questions and get meaningful feedback. Don’t be afraid that you’ll sound silly when asking questions. See these opportunities as a chance to grow in your content marketing ability.
- Focus on pragmatism and usefulness
Many artists are masters of the useful. They know how to create things that will bring joy. Some learn to use their skills to create jewelry or other crafts. As a content marketer, you should be looking to accomplish a similar goal.
Content marketing is mostly about providing value to your audience so they’ll trust you to help them solve whatever problem they’re facing. Above all else, your advice or expertise should be pragmatic. It shouldn’t be so haughty that only a fellow expert can understand it.
- Make art for a specific audience
Artists are often commissioned to create works specifically for a certain audience. What will work at the Met will not work at a local art show where middle-class art buyers are looking for a beautiful Christmas gift. As a content marketer, you should also be writing for an audience. Understand who your visitors are and what they are looking for. Know what tone and style will best appeal to them. The best way to gain this knowledge is to spend time interacting with your visitors in comments sections, on social media, and elsewhere online.
Content marketing is not all that different from art. You’re creating something in hopes of moving an audience. It’s a creative process that allows you to connect with people. It’s also a chance to learn with every piece you produce. If you’re willing to take some cues from artists, you may find yourself with more effective content moving forward.