Writers have this obsession with getting to know the intimate work process of other writers. Famously, there was a recent exchange between iconic George R.R. Martin of Game of Thrones and Stephen King, who have radically different approaches to crafting the written word. While Martin allows thoughts to marinate and can sometimes work an entire day producing only a paragraph or a page, King lets go completely.
King’s freestyle writing is a lot of like what marketing is like. There’s rarely time to ponder decidedly over words and strategies – we just have to roll with it. So in the spirit of Halloween, we wonder how other pieces of advice from the master horror writer might fit into our work of marketing.
King Says: Get To The Point
Don’t waste your reader’s time with too much back-story, long intros or longer anecdotes about your life. Reduce the noise. Reduce the babbling.
In On Writing King gets to his points quickly,
Get to your point quickly too before your reader loses patience and moves on.
In our world, that means get to your call of action quickly. Whether it’s a banner or a clickable or even a statement in a message, you want to make sure you’re making that point quickly and clearly. If possible, you present that Call To Action at least three ways in any given format. One should be a graphic, the other two clickable links with key phrases hyperlinked.
King Says: Be Relatable and Honest
Henrik Edberg of The Positivity Blog states,
King has an honest voice in his fiction and in his memoir. He tells it like it is and makes us relate to him and his characters. Since King’s fiction often is of an odd kind with strange plots that seldom happen to normal people I think one of his strengths as a writer is being able to write relatable content anyway.
For marketers, this is about values. You want to make sure you’re getting across that your brand as the same values as the client. But you also want to make sure you’re literally taking King’s advice. For instance, if you’re audience is moms, then you want to do two things: be brief and show value. Moms don’t have the time and they’ll make a purchase or convert to your brand if you can consistently show them value on their level. Visuals will also go a long way with most audience types.
King Says: Don’t Waste Time Trying To Please People and Be Prepared To Fail A Lot
King compares writing fiction to crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a bathtub, because in both,
There’s plenty of opportunity for self-doubt. Not only will you doubt yourself, but other people will doubt you, too. If you write (or paint or dance or sculpt or sing, I suppose), someone will try to make you feel lousy about it, that’s all.
This piece of advice is particularly useful for marketers. We get so caught up pleasing clients that we rarely take the type of creative and strategic risks needed to do our best work. Remember to be bold and true to yourself. You’re the expert. Your job is always going to be to convince the client to let you do what you want. Sometimes those ideas will work, sometimes they won’t. All that is part of the process.