Treat your followers like human beings and not like mathematical algorithms. That is broadly speaking, the main message of this week’s Creator Friday article. For everybody out there who wants to improve as a content creator, we have listed several lessons on content creation in this article. This time, the lessons are inspired by Seth Godin: marketing guru, bestselling author, and speaker and your go-to-guy when it comes to telling powerful and authentic stories that appeal to people.

He wrote ten bestselling books and shares ideas for free on his online blog. Youtube is filled with videos containing interviews with Seth Godin concerning his view on marketing, content, Social Media and what it is like to run a company. He started small himself once with a business in book packaging and look where it brought him today! Let’s take a closer look at the life of Seth Godin and let it serve as inspiration for your work as a content creator.

#1 Get people talking about your content

“Real content marketing isn’t repurposed advertising, it is making something worth talking about.”

We are a fan of this specific quote by Seth Godin. Anyone encounters moments in which we unknowingly act in a certain way or create certain things because we think that it will catch on. Why? Maybe because your followers give you a certain impression, you notice a new trend or someone you look up to behaves in a certain way. These moments are useful, they can serve as inspiration and lead to new content ideas.

However, too often we only execute a certain idea because we THINK that idea is going to work out well. If that is the sole reason to do it, we recommend you to think twice. We recommend you to act on a new idea only if the idea makes you FEEL happy and gives you the feeling that you can't wait to start creating. If this feeling is absent, it is usually with a good reason. But why is the absence of this feeling, not an ideal situation? The quote of Seth Godin perfectly answers this question: “Real content marketing isn’t repurposed advertising, it is making something worth talking about.”

Chances are that people are not amazed by a piece of content that was created without heart and soul but only to follow certain trends or to expand online reach or fame. Therefore, you should always create your content with a passion of which you know that once people see it, they will want to talk about it with others.

As a content creator, you want people to tag their friends in your work and talk about your content. Now you might think: I understand this, but how do I achieve this? Unfortunately, there is no single formula for success and every content creator can have a different, unique approach to this. What we can tell you is that to achieve this, you can always ask yourself several questions to help you decide whether a piece of content is remarkable enough to get people talking about it:

  • When do I tag my friends in online content? 
  • What part of my content will most likely be the main reason for people to talk about it or tag their friends?
  • What emotion will most likely make my followers talk about my content?
  • What is my message?
  • Why does this message make a difference?
  • Why do people have to make time to hear my message?

#2 Tell a story

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make but the stories you tell.”

The second lesson taken from the work of Seth Godin is also an important one: What is your story?

Make sure to always incorporate a story in your content, regardless of the type of content you create. This can be a written text, an image, a video or more. Do note that these stories should not be complete novels containing endless adventures. The stories in your content can be large, but sometimes it is more fitting to go with a smaller story. Decide what story you want to tell with what specific piece of content.

Why is a story so important? The answer to this question is quite simple: we live in a time in which we highly value experiences and the ability to place ourselves in someone else’s story.

This has to do with multiple elements, but the global transparency we obtained through the rise of the internet is the most significant element. Before this digital age, we lived in a time of mass production and consumption and the so-called possession economy. People strongly desired possessions, which led to more purchases and expenses in city centers and shopping malls. All this, only to find out that we maybe do not need all these material possessions and that we prefer new experiences like travel and environmental sustainability. This in combination with the internet, which forced companies to be more transparent and authentic in how they handle things, is the reason why many people enjoy emotional possessions and find them more valuable than objects.

This, however, does not mean that everyone desires new experiences that require them to move to a different place. It can also mean that you want to feel as if you are part of a specific story. Maybe because you find it inspiring, or relatable. Stories have the power to move people.

We would like to challenge you to analyze your content by reviewing two of your pieces per week. When doing so, check whether these pieces contain a story and whether you thought of a clear message during the creation phase. Compare the results of your analysis with the impact of the pieces and learn from the outcome.

If you are a creator who, for example, creates content concerning traveling, try thinking of providing your followers with something other than pretty images of places you have visited. Instead, provide them with an additional story regarding the image that explains the local culture, people or the reason why you decided to visit that specific location in the first place.

In case you create content to promote your artwork, try not to share only the end product. Instead, take your followers on a personal journey and show them the different stages of creating.

If you create content concerning fitness and workouts, think about the possibility of telling stories on why fitness can give you a good feeling. With these stories, you can motivate people to start working out and try to not only explain the exercises, but also the reasons why these specific exercises are helpful.

In short, there are numerous options to incorporate good stories in your content. It may require you to view your work from a different angle, but it will surely pay off.

#3 Engage in the connection!

“Be genuine. Be remarkable. Be worth connecting with.”

The last content lesson that we can learn from Seth Godin is about wanting to engage in connections. In the previous lessons, we mentioned the impact of storytelling and the sharing of stories. In addition to this, we would like to highlight the importance of connections. Even though most content creators work online, we can best explain this lesson with offline examples. For example, when you meet someone and this person tells their story to you and it meets the requirements of lessons 1 and 2, it can be a great start of a beautiful conversation. However, if there are no attempts that stimulate further interaction, the conversation is likely to fail. In this situation, you cannot expect one person to only transmit and the other to only receive messages.

You can simply not know if your story is of value to the recipient if you don’t know anything about them. Plus you are never the only one with a story. If you do think so, you can still have the best story in the world, but the impact of your story will be drastically less. 

If you want to make people part of your story and for them to place themselves in your experience, try to first be part of their story by interacting with the recipient of your story. As a content creator, you can achieve this by adding questions to your content. Your followers will pick up on these questions and hopefully respond. Don’t just add the questions for this reason only, but be sincere in your interest in the story of your followers, otherwise, you take the risk of people feeling like you are not genuine. How can you project sincerity in your work? By reading responses of your followers and reacting to them and simply include some responses in your next piece of content.

By now, we have posted a complete series of articles inspired by large names in the industry. When we analyze all the lessons you can learn from them on content creation, it is interesting to see that it is often not about algorithms, but primarily lessons that you can apply to your work as well as in your personal life. Probably the most important to realize is that your followers are also just people, so why would you see them as nothing more than a mathematical formula?

We are very curious to hear the stories you have to tell. Do you have a story that you would love to share? Get in touch, because we would be more than happy to write an article about you and your work.