“How can I create great content I sell pens,” was a question I heard recently. This problem of "boring content" was also a common concern at Content Marketing World a couple of weeks ago in Cleveland. Today’s post shares 3 lessons in creating what Seth Godin calls “Purple” content:
- Tell a story
- Get others share a story
- Create a storytelling contest
When I was in Mrs. Hill’s second grade class I couldn’t spell. Many of my letters were backwards, vowels were often in the wrong place or order, letters before endings were double when they should be single and vice versa and my writing looked more like a Pollack drawing than words a non-alien could understand. My saving grace was I could do math very fast. After several long conversations with Mrs. Hill my mother insisted she would take care of it.
My mother has never shared what Mrs. Hill plan for my future was, but my mother wasn’t having it. Everyday after school I left my friends, who enjoyed nothing more than running by my window screaming, to practice spelling with rules and cue cards. I was taught to sound out words with my hand under my chin in order to count out syllables.
With a lot of extra work I survived Mrs. Hill’s second grade class at Harry C. Withers elementary in Dallas. Graduating from second grade my tutor gave me a simple bic pen. The gift was symbolic because I’d only ever used a pencil. My writing was so incomprehensible I was only allowed a pencil. I often drew pictures above words I was attempting to spell trying to communicate meaning. Mrs. Hill would take my pencil, turn it upside down and erase my scribbles writing the word in perfect second grade teacher script. My tutor, I forget her name but she was an attractive, tall brunette studying for her masters at SMU, presented a gift-wrapped box with a bow with a huge smile. I remember what she said, “I’m very proud of the work you’ve done and it is time you graduated.” This was in the summer. I’d started summer school and was a little confused.
I tore into the box. Seeing the pen I understood. Mrs. Hill was gone. I didn’t need to use a pencil anymore. My tutor’s gift was a parting gift. I looked up and saw a small my tutor wipe a small tear. She hugged me, stood up, hugged my mother and left our house at 11410 Straight Lane in Dallas. Forty years later writing is a large part of how I’ve been able to make a living. I was selected to write the ScentTrail posts on Technorati based on submitted writing samples. I write business plans for investors and funding committees. I rode across America last summer and several people have shared how much they enjoyed reading Martin’s Ride To Cure Cancer blog posts. One friend even told me, “I felt like I was there.” This is how a pen changed my life.
When in doubt, tell a story to capture attention and create content others will want to share.
Get Others To Share Their Story
We tell stories. Storytelling is what separates us from sloths and chimps. If your ecommerce site doesn’t have reviews then hire either Bazaar Voice or Power Reviews to add customer reviews immediately to your site. If you don’t have the Facebook LIKE button all over your content and site add it as soon as humanly possible. Byron White, creator of IdeaLaunch and one of the best search engine minds around, said he thought Facebook LIKEs were the new links in Google’s evaluation of a page’s value. Install evaluation tools everywhere and then ask your audience to review the reviewers. Once you find great reviewers who are loved by your customers elevate them above the crowd. Amazon elevates with their hotly competed for Top 1,000 Reviewer. You can’t tell me people break their backs to be a Amazon Top 1,000 reviewer for the free books. They do it for the social status, the social status created by the elevation.
When someone writes a great review ask permission to use it in different context. I know your terms say you own the content, but ask anyway. When you elevate a review’s value by using it in your content you send a powerful message. Our reviewers are smart, important and we care what they say”, is one clear message sent when you incorporate customer supplied content in your company, brand or product marketing.
Create A Storytelling Contest
Contests and games are Internet marketing currency. When in doubt crowdsource may be the motto of our connected marketing times. Contests are great PR catchers and can produce great content before, during and after. If you are having trouble creating purple cow content develop a contest and reap the traffic, new content and search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) rewards.