So you want your online content to get noticed, huh?
Maybe you’re an blogger that aspires to crack into the A-list crowd.
Perhaps you’re a promising author with an irresistible story idea.
Or you may simply be an online freelance writer with big league dreams.
Kudos if you are, because the exploding digital content universe needs you to be at your best.
But there lies the prime question — how do I rise above the billowing obscurity blanketing the digital content universe to achieve online relevance?
Thankfully there is a simple (though not easy) answer to this question.
Create content masterpieces.
Yup, masterpieces — those iconic and enduring creations that withstand the tests of space, time, and short attention spans. Ironically, the best role models to emulate for crafting such online masterpieces are long dead and from a very un-digital world.
Enter Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael — the holy trinity of the supreme Renaissance artists.
We remember, celebrate, and idolize these creative legends because they were both epic and prolific. Their works are immortal, as are their legacies.
Plus, they’re the namesakes for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. How cool is that?
It goes to show that our three Renaissance friends have a thing or two to teach us about creating masterpieces.
So put down your keyboard and pick up your quill and ink, because it’s time to create content like it’s 1559.
Write with urgency like Leonardo da Vinci
I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
~ Leonardo da Vinci
Leaders act with the utmost urgency. Both Leonardos (the Renaissance pioneer and the Ninja Turtle) took up that charge.
The same quality holds true for you in your quest to build content masterpieces worthy of notice and praise. You must lead yourself (whether you like it or not).
This includes …
- Marshaling your creative ideas into a tenacious writing force
- Squashing the inner gremlins that seek to destroy your determination, and …
- Establishing high standards for your creative output
As Jonathan Fields puts it, “that’s what pros do.” In January alone he published 17 blog posts, wrote 25,000 words and completed the manuscript for his next book, tweeted hundreds of times, and much more. And according to him, that’s not an unusual month.
Do you operate with the same drive?
Are you taking full initiative to create your most vivacious masterpieces? If online stardom is your aim, then you should. Here are a few ideas to get you started …
- Set a daily writing goal, like 1,000 words. This is Chris Guillebeau’s benchmark.
- Publish consistently and frequently. Don’t sacrifice quality, but ‘show up’ often.
- Sharpen your unique creative identity. Become memorable for who you are.
- Write larger-masterpieces (think books, special reports, and manifestos) that give a bigger picture of your bold style and story.
My friend Corbett Barr advocates this urgency premise in knockout fashion — write epic sh*t.
Are you being epic today?
Be one with flow like Raphael
When one is painting one does not think.
John Cleese of Monty Python fame teaches that “if you get into the right mood then your mode of thinking will become much more creative. But if you’re racing around all day ticking things off lists … and generally keeping all the balls in the air then you are not going to have any creative ideas.”
John’s recommended solution to conquering this “frenzied world that we all live in” is to construct our own “tortoise enclosure.”
Yes, we’re talking about a turtle shell that you can escape into away from life’s bombardment of interruptions. It’s here in this protected space that your “tortoise mind,” as John calls it, can fully play.
Here are the basic building blocks for your masterpiece-incubating (ninja) tortoise enclosure …
- You must establish strong boundaries of personal space and time
- You must permit no distractions (electronic or otherwise)
- You must focus on a single task at a time (stop multi-tasking)
Your playtime within this shell is vital to the unlocking of your full creative potential.
It’s the time you’re able to devote to such play that leads to Flow — the state of mind where your deepest and most vivid ideas pour out of you in a single, consistent stream of consciousness.
And that’s precisely what Raphael meant by “not think[ing]” when painting.
When you’re in this fluid state, you don’t really think as much as ride the waves of creativity to the shores of your content masterpieces.
Oh, and if you’re wondering if John Cleese was secretly the Ninja Turtle behind the red mask, I think you might be right.
Free your angel like Michelangelo
I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.
The exploding digital universe, which includes the publication revolution, has brought with it a tsunami of new writers.
On balance, we’re all “authors,” capable of being published with the click of a button (blogs be praised).
It’s an exciting ecosystem to be a part of. But it’s not a utopia. Case in point is the now herculean challenge of standing out and getting noticed in the crowd surge of online writers and the subsequent overload of content.
This atmosphere fosters an inconvenient truth — good content isn’t good enough anymore.
If you want to achieve escape velocity from the masses, you must — as Michelangelo says — continue carving your content until you set your masterpiece free.
There’s a common term for this all-important skill: editing.
I believe that sharp editing has become an invaluable competitive advantage within the digital content universe. And I’m not alone. Thom Chambers, for one, agrees.
In his latest edition, titled We’re All Publishers Now (featuring The Domino Project, eBookling, Chris Guillebeau, Issuu, By Bloggers, and more), Thom writes that “with more and more content appearing online each day, the value of editors and curators is rising.”
You may not actually hire or collaborate with a skilled creative editor. Although, this is likely a smart decision if you’re a major league online author or someone who aspires to become one.
The key point is that you put your content through the full writing process.
Don’t just write and publish like most online writers do. To create a genuine masterpiece worthy of much attention and fanfare, you must write, edit, and publish.
And consider executing the writing-editing loop a few times first.
Go Ninja, Go!
Supreme online attention and relevance is reserved for those dedicated to creating content masterpieces.
It’s as simple as that.
Leonardo, Raphael, and Michelangelo are apex examples of this axiom. True, we online ‘artists’ have traded paintings for pixels. But that doesn’t excuse us from learning and applying the timeless lessons that these grand masters of creativity have to teach.
Not a history buff? Don’t care about Renaissance artists? Not a problem. Just get your Ninja Turtle freak on.
You could do far, far worse than aspiring to be an online writing “hero in a half-shell.”