The internet has fundamentally changed the way people discover and read content, and the field of journalism has unfortunately suffered and been irrevocably altered.  Now is the time for online content creators to shine.  Chris Warden, CEO of Spread Effect, even went so far as to say: “In the age of content marketing, it’s a writer’s world; we’re just living in it.”  Content creation is partly an art, which is not easily distilled into universal guidelines.  Only a minority of content writers create artistic and engaging content that draws a large captive audience and compels high rates of social content curation.  Gaining the spotlight requires highly shareable content, which evokes genuine emotion and interest in readers.  Nowadays, people are deluged with a surplus of data and content coming from every angle—blogs, websites, email marketing, social media, television and even their mobile devices.  Content creators strive to break through the noise and attract attention with their writing.

Due to the short attention span for online content, many content writers aim to create concise, impactful and highly relevant content, which is wise.  However, there is no need for style and elegance to go the way of the Dodo.  I recently read a back issue of Time Magazine from the 1950s and was delighted by the quality and elegance of the prose.  Unfortunately, such elegant writing is increasing becoming more of a rarity.  Keep art alive in your writing—even blog posts, whitepapers and ebooks.  Gain an edge, and let these featured literary stars inspire your content marketing.

Literary Inspiration for Content Creation   

Jack Kerouac: “Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.”

It is of paramount importance to let your own unique voice shine through in the content you create.  Surely, you have outside interests to draw from that could add some flair and freshness to your industry content.  The options are virtually boundless.  To amplify engagement, infuse your content with your passion, whether it is film, fashion, music, sports or news—a la newsjacking.

Ernest Hemingway: “In order to write about life first you must live it.”

Draw from your unique personal history and expertise.  Gain first-hand knowledge about the major challenges of your buyer personas.  Create effective content that addresses their challenges, and provide valuable solutions and best practices.  This will help you create more relevant content and may eventually earn you acclaim as an industry thought leader.

Stephen King: “It’s hard for me to believe that people who read very little (or not at all in some cases) should presume to write and expect people to like what they have written.”

Up-to-date industry knowledge is critical.  You cannot produce high-quality content without knowing what you are up against.  In addition, relevant and engaging content calls for thorough industry knowledge.  Read the blogs of industry thought leaders.  Visit industry websites, and discover what is trending on LinkedIn or hot on Social Media Today.  Things can change quickly, so staying current on industry trends and best practices is a continual learning process.

C. J. Cherryh: “It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.”

Editing is supremely important.  However, I obviously would not advise starting the editing process with “garbage content.”  Highly shareable content is carefully edited and free of spelling errors, typos and grammatical flaws.  Proofread thoroughly, and then repeat.

Donald Harington: “If you are destined to become a writer, you can’t help it.  If you can help it, you aren’t destined to become a writer.  The frustrations and disappointments, not even to mention the unspeakable loneliness, are too unbearable for anyone who doesn’t have a deep sense of being unable to avoid writing.”

When you genuinely enjoy what you do, it shows.  When content writers are genuinely interested producing exciting, high-quality work, instead of merely filling a blogging quota, it is evident.  If you do not feel right until you write and publish your online content, your destiny may lie in content creation and marketing.