Need Something Interesting To Write About? Try This.

My core marketing strategy is to produce valuable content to showcase my expertise and build relationships with potential clients long before we ever meet.

And whether it’s blog posts, longer articles, podcasts or videos – the core challenge for anyone following such a content strategy is coming up with interesting stuff to “write about”.

In fact, the number one reason I hear from people who want to get into blogging or content marketing but have struggled to do so is that they just can’t imagine producing enough interesting material. Or they’ve tried and then run out of steam.

Well, let me introduce you to Dave Gorman.

Dave’s a comedian based here in the UK. He started his career fairly gently by writing for established acts, and his first show at the Edinburgh Fringe “Reasons to be Cheerful” was based on an analysis of whether the items mentioned in the Ian Dury song “Reasons to be Cheerful #3″ actually were reasons to be cheerful.

So far, so not very much.

But then Gorman hit on a brilliant idea which would propel him towards 4 bestselling books, sellout live shows and his own TV series.

And it’s one we can all use ourselves.

The simple idea was that instead of trying to think of interesting things to write about for his act, he would do interesting things – and then write about those.

It turns out that people are far more interested in the weird or exciting things you’ve done that in the weird or exciting things you’ve just thought about.

So Gorman’s 1999 Fringe show was called “Dave Gorman’s Better World” and was created by him writing thousands of anonymous letters to local newspapers asking for suggestions from the public on how to create a better world – and testing them out to see if they worked.

His next wheeze was triggered by spotting that an assistant manager at small Scottish football team East Fife had the same name as him. So he drove 450 miles to meet him and photograph the event. He then set about meeting another 53 Dave Gormans across the world (one for every card in a pack of cards plus the jokers apparently). He chronicled his adventures meeting these Dave Gormans in the book and TV show “Are You Dave Gorman?”.

Next, he resolved to live his life according to a literal interpretation of his horoscope each day. Turned out pretty well when he bet everything he had on rank outsider Ian Woosnam (who he shared a birthday with) winning the Dubai Classic golf tournament (which, of course, he travelled to see) and won.

After that, he started his “Googlewhack Adventure” when he became obsessed by finding google search phrases with only one result – and then travelling the world to find the person behind that single result. The result for him was another bestselling book and TV show.

More recently, he travelled America avoiding all corporate outlets and using only family owned hotels, restaurants and petrol (gas) stations. “America Unchained” was again a bestseller.

Then he challenged the public to take him on at any game of their choice – from poker to darts to Khett to Cluedo to Kubb. And of course, he travelled to play them and chronicled his adventures in yet another besteller.

So how can we harness this approach for ourselves?

The key is that people are more interested in what you’ve done than what you think.

What I mean by that is that it’s great to have new ideas, theories about your field, predictions for the future.

But what really gets people hooked is hearing about practical experiences.

You can cull those from your own personal experience. Or you can interview others or create case studies.

Or you can do what Dave Gorman did: go out and do something interesting.

You recommend a particular approach to leadership, for example? Use it yourself. Get your clients to use it and record the outcomes. Video interview them afterwards. Get them to chronicle their experiences.

You show people how to get more traffic to their website? Create a live case study from scratch. Build a website, put some content on it, follow your traffic strategies and record the results.

In my case, I test out the marketing strategies I recommend myself. A lot of what you see on my blog is a result of my own experiments (particularly with online marketing) to see what works and what doesn’t.

You can do the same.

You want inspiration? You need something interesting to write about?

Then do something interesting.

———-

Here’s something on a similar vein. PR Guru David Meerman Scott describes how he got 50,000 twitter followers. Not by obsessing about getting twitter followers, but by publishing 4 books, doing 126 talks in 15 countries, shooting 125 videos etc. In other words, doing interesting stuff makes you an interesting person to follow. Read more here: The secret to getting 50,000 followers on twitter.

———-

So what’s your source of inspiration and ideas for great content? Drop me a comment below, I’d love to hear and share.

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Comments

  1. says

    This was one of the most applicable articles I’ve read, not to mention introducing me to the antics of Dave Gorman.
    I have a hobby blog that is not about trying to produce income, rather my intenet is to give focus and deadlines to my production of drawings make connections with people with similar interests. Your observation about people being more interested in what you’ve done than what you think, is a gem.

    thanks for that. jw

  2. says

    Thanks John.

    Somethign I didn’t include in the original article as I felt it would make things too long was another example: Danny Wallace.

    You may remember Danny wrote the book “Yes Man” (later made into a Hollywood film) where he spent a year saying yes to absolutely every offer made to him. Again, doing something interesting and then writing about it.

    Surprise, surprise, Danny Wallace was Dave Gorman’s flatmate. And it was him who made the original bet with Gorman to find 54 people named Dave Gorman aroudn the world.

    Ian

  3. says

    Hey Ian – Great article.

    I’ve found that articles based on my experience are both the easiest to write and the ones that people find most interesting.

    The advice to do interesting things so you can write about them is spot on (and one of the driving forces behind why I spent a month on a Florida beach last year).

    Ryan

    P.S. Got the following error from CommentLuv while I was posting my comment:

    It appears that you are offline or another error occured contacting the API url, have you set it to use www or missed the www off the api url?? check the technical settings and add or remove www from the api url.

  4. says

    Hi Ian,
    I like the idea of writing about the things that you have done instead of just talking about. Personal stories seem to work better and many of my popular posts are based on telling a story of my own experience.

  5. says

    This is a great article. Great ideas to write about. I agree with writing about your personal experiences. It is much more interesting especially if you are doing interesting things. Easy, enjoyable read.

  6. says

    Agreed Ian more more important to right about things that you have done or that you do rather than thought. It’s the old adage those who can do those who can’t teach, but in the times of more for less if you can do and then teach it we want to read it..

  7. says

    Personal experience gives you a greater advantage over those in your niche talking about ‘good ideas’ or what ‘could’ you do etc. haha great post :)

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