What can Don Draper teach us about Creating Content

Yes, I was a Mad Men fan. Everything that needs to be said about the show has already been said, by people with larger expense accounts than mine.

Seeing a distilled wisdom presented in the infographic below, I realise how much it told us about the creative process and you can easily apply this to modern content creation. Not only that but I like how it takes apart the process.

The thing that resonates with me, is “get in the frame of mind”. Storytelling is a natural, innate skill that most humans have buried just beneath the surface. It’s not so much mechanical as it is printed in our DNA, we simply need to feel it.

Of course, language is mechanical and rule based, but too many rules stifle the creativity. If Don Draper taught us anything it was that if you never break the rules, you will never fulfil your creativity.

How to Get Creative

My job is mostly about being creative, coming up with web content ideas, creating headlines, writing copy etc. It’s usually quite easy for me to do this and I have always thought that this could be taught, which is what I do at Linkbait Coaching.

Because I feel that it’s simply about having the right mind set, being in the correct mode and not having to be some mad creative genius.

Today I came across a video that reinforced everything that I believe about being creative. The video is by John Cleese, and it is well worth watching. But if you are in a hurry I had jotted down some notes below.

<- Notes begin "Creativity is not a talent, it is a way of operating", John Cleese Creativity is not an ability that you either have or do not have, it is absolutely unrelated to IQ as long as you are above a minimum. The most creative people simply have developed a facility to get into a certain mood or way of operating to allow there natural creative to function. In other words an ability to play and to play for it’s own sake.

The closed mode is a business at work mode, but it is not creative. The open mode is more playful there is no pressure, there is time to play.

Open mode is the curiosity

We need to be in the open mode to ponder a problem, but then switch to the closed mode to implement it decisively, undistracted by doubts about its effectiveness.

There are certain conditions that are conducive to the open mode


Space and time is needed for unlimited play

It’s easier to do trivial things that are urgent and it’s easier to do little things than things we are not sure of.

Most creative professionals are prepared to spend more time with a problem and so create more creative and original solutions.

Keep you mind gently around the problem

Notes end->

I strongly suggest you watch the video if in any way you are connected to creativity. I provide the open mind, the playful creative space. If you find creativity difficult when it comes to content creation get in touch.

We are always playing and always have a free roaming mind generating threads and threads of creative goodness on the forums.

Sometimes it simply makes sense to hire a specialist than to try and muddle through.

Blogging the Topical Miasma

This post is the 4th in a series.

The others are:

They are part of an SEO experiment. I love being in the lab, it’s the best part of SEO I think, tinkering in the lab with stuff and discovering what happens if you put this and this together and give it a twist of this.

So, three posts, pulled from topical news from my feed reader. Written quickly and with a conversational style. Giving useful, actionable information and mostly focussed on SEO, social media or tech.

Pluck out a newsy topic, write some stuff quickly and then publish. It’s actually a quite common technique which focusses on the power of the title tag and the authority of a website/blog. These terms are topical and so get searched for, although it’s mostly used by sites who make money from displaying adverts but it can be useful for other business models.

The trick is, you have to write well and have an attractive style. You also have to know a little about what you’re talking about. Not a lot, it doesn’t have to have depth, but it needs to have a wide surface area and you need to know how to communicate that in a way that is pithy and makes sense.

Oh yeah, it also helps with your writing if you know a few uncommon words which you can include here and there, it makes people think you are more brainy than you actually are. I’m a lover of words and have a book shelf full of books on words, so it flows out when I need it.

How does this help you if you have an affiliate blog selling model trains online?

Best to outsource if this to your team members. What do you mean you don’t have a team and you do everything on your own? Hmmm, that’s for another post.

Hire poets to write your blog posts, they are the fastest and most exciting bloggers, if you can get them to stop smoking weed for a few mins. Don’t hire copywriters, the art of the word is beaten out of these people from birth. You want to rise above the swamp, not add to its moist, fecund mass.

And there is another reason for this series, I love to write this kinda stuff.

And you really should do what you love.

What is Blogging but simply a communication tool

Some people over complicate things.

Blogging is simply a communications tool.

Once the piece of information you want to communicate is acheived, its purpose is done. Therefore the length of the blog is merely something for the aesthetic.

Of course it could be argued that a blog is also an “emotional delivery machine”, or an “action encourager”. But these still use communication to happen.

So when a blog post is written in a terse fashion, being economical with words, as long as it acheives its purpose it matters little that verbosity is ignored.

Writing less, means writing better.

Getting the Blogging Mojo Back

For one reason or another I stopped blogging, stopped writing.

Which is a shame as I really like the process and it’s something I do well (haven’t the time to be modest this morning).

Most of the problem is simple distraction, too much going on, too many possibilities, even too much success.

Sometimes you have to reduce. Simplify. Not use the, “but it has to be perfect before I publish” excuse.

So, to get the Mojo back I’m just going to blog. Post a blog every day for 14 days.

It may not be linkable, but from a creative point of view it helps crank up the engine.

And you never know, something juicy may come of it.