Becoming Unique with Content Marketing

Have you ever stopped mid-sentence, writing a “good” line, and thought: this has been worn down by other writers already.

I remember my college creative writing courses, wondering what story do I write. There was an immediate rule: no zombies, no vampires, and no werewolves. They were used and abused ideas. You needed your own.

But how do you create something unique when everything’s been written? Content marketing is the same. CTAs. SEO. Blog topics. — They’ve all been done. We’re like the written version of Hollywood … filled with Marvel superhero films and shitty sequels.

For me, becoming unique starts back at this creative writing course.

After almost all science fiction and fantasy stories were banned, my professor issued a reading assignment. He would probably back-hand me right now, because I don’t remember the story’s title or author, but I remember the idea. It was unique.

The story’s premise was set among the French Revolution. It starts with the character being beheaded … by the guillotine (as was tradition). Let me remind you — this is where the story begins. The character’s head has just rolled off the wooden pedestal. There are 6 seconds to live. The author tells a story based on those 6 seconds, in the beheaded character’s mind.

This assignment was designed to make us think outside of the box, literally. Such a cliche, right? Think outside the box … brilliant! The lesson was this: Writing has no rules. It has no limitations.

As most Taoists would say: There is no form, but the formless. What use is the struggle to set up “no” against “yes,” and “yes” against “no”? If there were no “that,” there would be no “this.” Only emptiness. But also fullness. All would be one.

Language, itself, is just an agreement between two people on what a sound means; what a word means. Why can there be no disagreement?

This is how to become unique with content marketing. Remember you’re a writer. Grammar and punctuation rules are not laws. You dictate what is put on paper (or on webpages), just like a designer chooses what imagery to use.

No one tells an artist how to paint. We accept their formlessness. Some of us may not connect to their art, but some might.

You’re job is to focus on connecting with your audience; not worrying about AP style and other bullshit styles. Just write. What matters is readability. With that in mind, I say content is not king. Formatting is.

Imagine the difference between this:

The parade starts at 5 PM, and everyone should line up at the corner of Rutledge and Huger Street.

and this:

The Parade: Start Time & Location
5 PM | @ corner of Rutledge & Huger Street

Both have different readability scales. Both strain the mind on different levels. Your job is to choose which one best benefits your audience.

So, how do you become unique? Before you write your next blog post, take a second and stare at your keyboard. Do you know every button? Have you tried mixing certain characters with other letters? Have you played with expressing thoughts in italics and really important statements in ALL, SCREAMING CAPITALS?

Next time someone tells you have to keep your tweet to 140-characters, you say, “F**k off!” And proceed to issue a 4-piece emoji tweet instead.