1. Ideation trumps creation trumps curation. I've shared a picture of Elon Musk because of his first principles Physics way of thinking. If you deconstruct systems into their fundamental parts and rebuild them from the ground up it's feasible to generate new ideas the world has never seen. He's never afraid to take moonshots and think bigger. Colonizing Mars? Unlimited energy? Hyperloop? I rest my case. “Today it costs over a billion dollars for a space shuttle flight. The cost… is fundamentally what's holding us back from becoming a space traveling civilization and ultimately a multi-planet species.” - Elon Musk
2. Long form content outperforms short form. The establishment will contest this point but I've received some of the most phenomenal traction with content that is over 2,000 words. Tell the entire story. Be willing to put some steak with the sizzle. There's just far too much click bait and flash in the pan on the internet. If you write an authentic long form story you may just break the internet. "I love when people underestimate me and then become pleasantly surprised." - Kim Kardashian
3. Writing passionately from the heart resonates. What matters most to you in your heart of hearts? What are you all about? What gets you fired-up and what do you truly believe in? Paradoxically, people are playing it safe in content marketing. You could write an op-ed or you could just shoot from the hip and express your truth. Manifestos, open letters and expressions of what we're all thinking but never say go viral. It's a unique portrait of your Beatles 'Day in the Life.' Extoll megalithic world changing ideas as well as the excruciatingly mundane. You'll be relatable. You might even get groupies! “You know, I'm not one of these people that just because I've done all that I now become Superman. You can't touch me. You know, you can touch me. I'm very, unfortunately, very reachable." - Sir James Paul McCartney
4. Believe it or not, we are all subject matter experts about something so celebrate the niche you know. Even if you are the world's Cricket encyclopedia and that's all you know, go with it. Relate cricket to business, to politics, to strategy. The analogies to what you know best are extremely interesting to readers. They give context and a deeper meaning. "Cricket is a most precarious profession; it is called a team game but, in fact, no one is so lonely as a batsman facing a bowler supported by ten fieldsmen and observed by two umpires to ensure that his error does not go unpunished." - John Arlott
5. Breaking all the rules yields unexpected outcomes so exercise your poetic license. I've made the case for grammar, syntax and writing expertise. I'll also make the case for freedom of expression, creativity and unexpected prose. Even the way you write, can be the key differentiator to making it unusual on the web. For those that read me, you're aware that I can write conservative B2B strategy content in an expository fashion with the best of them but I frequently tend to bend the rules of writing and defy gravity! If what you write lights up a room and puts a huge smile on your face, if you get calls after you've hit publish from concerned family and friends – you've won! “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” - Maya Angelou
6. Dry, safe and boring fails. You want to be Mac, not PC.
If you can wrap phenomenal Youtility content in a cloak of exciting analogy, metaphor, storytelling or hyperbole it's a sleeper hit, wolf in sheep's clothing and it will reach a far wider audience.
Messy sex hair content will outperform the buttoned up approach. “Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?” - Steve Jobs
7. Focus on making your content immediately useful. Can the reader apply your advice today and get tangible results? “Anything you cannot relinquish when it has outlived its usefulness possesses you, and in this materialistic age a great many of us are possessed by our possessions.” - Peace Pilgrim
8. Your truth is stranger than fiction. Tell true stories from your journey. It's filled with bizarre characters worth writing about. “The Edge... there is no honest way to explain it because the only people who really know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” - Hunter S. Thompson
9. Chances are, you're funnier than you think; certainly quirkier. Be unabashedly humorous, uninhibited and unrestrained. Audiences will find this incredibly refreshing. “I am so busy doing nothing... that the idea of doing anything - which as you know, always leads to something - cuts into the nothing and then forces me to have to drop everything.” - Jerry Seinfeld
10. Think of yourself as a content mixologist. Mix, mash and splice like Jackson Pollock. An impressionist beautiful mess resonates in contrast to the perfect symmetry of a white paper from the corporate marketing department. Remarkable imagery is worth thousands of words especially pictures that wouldn't ordinarily fit together like the ones in this post. Entice with a veritable cornucopia, feast for the eyes! “It doesn't make much difference how the paint is put on as long as something has been said. Technique is just a means of arriving at a statement.” - Jackson Pollock
If you valued this article, please hit the ‘like' and ‘share’ buttons below. This article was originally published in LinkedIn here where you can comment. Also follow the award winning LinkedIn blog here or visit Tony’s leadership blog at his keynote speaker website: www.TonyHughes.com.au.
Main image photo by Flickr: martinak15