The Rare White Squirrel Who Eats Pumpkins (and Other Stories of Creativity)

The Rare White Squirrel Who Eats Pumpkins (and Other Stories of Creativity)

I’ll get back to the white squirrel in a minute … We hear from content creators all the time about the struggle to be creative day in and day out. In my years of creating content and strategy for technology companies, it was often difficult to determine what made one company stand out among its competitors. What makes you innovative? There are several key components to great creative writing – such as a nut graph and the hook – that can help you get there, Jay advises. Sometimes that’s all it took to turn “meh” content into much better or even great content. During Content Creativity Day, Jay urged content creators not to assume that creativity starts from a great big idea. If you’re a similar victim, Carla urges you to undergo a “brand transplant.” Start by observing things around you – the environment, music, etc. The great ideas will start to flow. What is creative is standout content – like a white squirrel who likes to eat pumpkins (and nut graphs!). To be inspired and get more practical insight, view the Creativity Day presentations from Doug Kessler, Jay Acunzo, Carla Johnson, and Tim Washer.

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I’ll get back to the white squirrel in a minute …

We hear from content creators all the time about the struggle to be creative day in and day out. We understand. The struggle is real. So are the excuses:

But creativity is critical when it comes to standing out among the screaming noise that distracts your audience daily. There’s hope. And there are tactics you can use to inject more creativity into your content marketing efforts.

Be insanely honest

If you ask Doug Kessler, creative director and co-founder of Velocity Partners, he’ll urge you to use insane honesty to boost your creativity – and not the regular kind of honest that we all have an obligation to be, but insane honesty that forces you to “actively seek out weaknesses and share openly.”

Say whaaaat? I know that kind of honesty is counterintuitive to what most of us are trained to do. Marketers are supposed to tell the world how great their companies, products, services, leaders are – even if sometimes they aren’t. You know – turn lemons into lemonade, grapes into sangria, and such.

Nope. Doug has collected numerous highly creative content marketing examples of insane honesty – from an Amsterdam hotel that caters to backpackers with little to spend on anything more than a bed in a shared room that may or may not be clean to a shelter promoting a dog who is really quite adorable but may be a threat to the fingers and toes of young children.

Image source: Doug Kessler, Hans Brinker Hotel
Image source: Doug Kessler, Hans Brinker Hotel

“It builds trust and alienates your less likely buyers,” Doug says.

Seriously, why try to fool someone who isn’t going to buy your product or services anyway? It’s a waste of your time and theirs. Go ahead and un-sell a bit.

TIP: Find more inspiration from Doug in his session during CMI’s Content Creativity Day and his SlideShare presentation. He’s collecting new examples all the time, so share one if you have one.

Push back on same-old thing

Another great tenet for creativity is to resist, no RESIST, the same-old, same-old. In my years of creating content and strategy for technology companies, it was often difficult to determine what made one company stand out among its competitors. Every company in the cloud-computing space seemed to have the same benefits just worded slightly differently….

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