“Mel Funn: Mr. Marceau, how would you like to appear in the first silent movie made in nearly 50 years? Marcel Marceau: No!”
What is clever/funny/ironic/brilliant about the above piece of dialogue from Mel Brooks’ 1976 Silent Movie is, that line is the only line of dialogue heard in the entire film and it is spoken by the world’s most famous mime. Impressed? You should be.
George Bernard Shaw said, “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Mr. Bernard Shaw wasn’t talking about social media when he said that, but I think he may have been on to something. How many times do you read something in a blog or online and say to yourself, “So what?” It’s not important that you are saying something, but it is something if what you’re saying is important. If I may lend another personal paraphrase of Mr. Bernard Shaw: If it’s pretty, yet useless; it’s pretty useless.
How can you make sure that your social media/public relations/marketing campaign is saying something? Well, the first step is to make sure you have something to say. People catch on really quickly when you prater and waste their time. In today’s world of instant gratification, your audience has become increasingly stingy with their time, make sure you are giving them something they can use.
Alway work from Strategy => Tactics (Points)
After you are sure you have something worth saying, only then can you break it down into it’s finer points. This is a good rule to follow even when you are building a marketing or PR campaign. Don’t get too caught up in the tactics that you overshadow your campaign/story strategy. (What’s the difference you ask? Well, Seth Godin has a great blog on that here)
The 3 C’s of Storytelling…
…are as follows: Content, Content, Content (I took some liberty with the well-known L’s of real estate). This applies to having something to say, but make sure that you actually say it. You can try and dress it up and be all fancy, but avoid filling your blog with gobbledygook as David Meerman Scott calls it. Jargon never helped anyone, it only exists to make people feel smarter. I could ask you to hand me the “scholarly tome” but I would sound pretentious because I could just as easily ask for the “textbook.” Content is what drives a blog, what grabs readers’ attentions and what converts consumers into customers (thanks Shama Kabani).
What’s My Inspiration?
You can find quality inspiration all around you, simply listen. Here are some good tips to find something to talk about if you find your inspiration running a little low:
- Read Other Blogs – Start a Google Reader and just follow 10 blogs in your field or in fields that interest you. I personally follow about 20, but some of those are my friends, then some are movie blog (/film is great, btw) and then a lot about PR, marketing and social media. I love seeing what other people have to say and then to see what that sparks in my mind.
- Quotes – Read inspirational or famous quotes. The quote from George Bernard Shaw I mentioned earlier is one I found a while ago and it never left my mind and I’d been looking for a way to write about “saying something” since I read it.
- Take a Walk – It’s amazing what your mind will come up with if you let it wander. Just take a walk in nature, clear your mind and let in what comes.
- Do Something You Love – Whether that be playing music or reading a book. For me, it’s watching movies (if you hadn’t guessed by now). I get so much inspiration from movies. I just love how they pull my mind in so many different directions.
This one is simple, but just write. One of my favorite books on writing is On Writing by Stephen King. King may be my favorite author, but his take on writing is inspiring, but one thing he says is that you just have to write. Every day, write something. Stick to a schedule and no matter what it is, write something down everyday. I have put myself on a strict Mon, Wed, Fri posting schedule which means I’m usually writing the night before, but I stick to it.
Those are all steps that have worked for me. Please let me know what has worked for you or anything I might have left off that you think people should know. What are the ways you inspire yourself? How do you find your voice?
If you have a story to tell; tell it. Just make sure you have a story to tell. You don’t want to wake up to find the only one that has anything to say is Marcel Marceau, and even he doesn’t want to hear what you don’t have to say.