Steal Like An Artist: The Way To Better Content

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Nothing is ever truly original. Nothing.

No matter what you are working on it is always a mash up of what has come before.

This is never truer than when you are working on creative endeavours.

As digital marketers we now have to be more creative than ever.

A few years back processes ruled in SEO. Nail processes, scale that bad boy up and off you go. Success could be yours.

Problem is, things change.

Google clamped down. They made examples of people, of businesses. Collateral damage happened. That actually started to enforce what they said they would all along. They just forgot to clamp down for a decade. That stuff worked (still does in some places nudge nudge wink wink).

Collateral damage wasn’t the only by-product of the clamp down. The content marketing deluge happened. The web went from being full of hardly comprehensible spun shit to being full of hardly comprehensible human written shit (who had heard someone tell them that having a blog WAS content marketing).

Before you had to be the one with the most to win.

Now you have to stand out to win (and maybe a bit of having the most).

Oh, did nobody tell you? This content thing is hard.

You need to stand out. You need to be different. Oh – and you need to be able to do that on tap. Creativity day in day out. Without the luxury of waiting for inspiration to hit…..

That isn’t easy.

<<Rewind>>

Nothing is original.

The Stones and The Beatles stole. Scorcese and Spielberg steal. Bukowski stole. Even Dan Brown steals. I think you get the idea.

Several years back I read a book by a dude called Austin Kleon. He realised he had been stealing. He looked back. He noticed that everyone had been stealing. He even noticed that his notion of stealing had already been covered. And so ‘Steal Like An Artist’ was born.

And I stole it.

However, there’s a difference between good theft and bad theft.

Have a look.

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Seem familiar? You can apply it to pretty much anything.

I started applying the concept to lots of work based things.

I started to worry less about being truly original and more about how I created better stuff by mashing up influences, by taking what I had succeeded before and improving it.

Content I worked on became Frankenstein’s Monster hybrids of the things that I found on my way to the ideas.

Even the processes that we put in place for getting to the content we were creating were patchwork quilts via Bernd Rohrbach via Stacey Macnaught via Chip and Dan Heath via the guys at distilled via chunking up via neomalalalmamamammama.

You get the picture.

Don’t worry about being truly original.

Take everything that you can find and mix the best bits together….

  • Honour
  • Study
  • Steal from many
  • Credit
  • Transform
  • Remix

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Additional Resources:

(also Dave Trotts sentence structure – without any discernible story or narrative and Jack Kerouac’s “write and dont worry about editing” shtick – without any of the talent).
Wayne Barker About the author

Wayne has been Boom since like forever and specialises in SEO, Content and Outreach. An accidental entry into the world of SEO has left him with little spare time. When not at work or with his family you can find him amidst a pile of records.

Learn more about Wayne Barker

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