Content Marketing Tips – Where Shakespeare Doesn’t Apply


Shakespeare is a very iconic historical character due to his famous literary works that are still celebrated today. Known as one of the most greatest and influential poets in history, you can’t have National Poetry Month without hearing at least one mention of him.

William Shakespeare’s impact on language and communication extends from theatre and literature to present-day films and everyday conversation. Tag lines like “Fight fire with fire” (King John) and “a wild goose chase” (Romeo and Juliet) are attributed to him.

Yet despite the fame, is he a role model for content marketers everywhere? One would think so given that creativity plays a vital role in engaging content. However, the quality of Shakespearean work and that of good marketing can have varying standards:

Strategic Creativity

Poetic masters have been using highly specific meters and structures to show off their linguistic skills for millennia. Unfortunately, their choice of key terms can be awkward for many web writers. That doesn’t mean writing on the web lacks its own standards for creativity.

While implementing some ideas from his work can improve your content strategy, you still have to exercise great care. Poetry is made to be obscure and mysterious. But in a business context, such as in your web content, it absolutely needs a clear message or call to action. If your content isn’t telling your readers what their next steps should be in clear understandable language, then it’s not doing its job. A poem can often be interpreted in many different ways. Content marketing should leave absolutely no room for misinterpretations.

Less is More

Ever heard of a haiku? It’s another form of poetry but one arguably simpler than anything Shakespearean.  The form’s ability to communicate a broad concept or image in just three lines is worth emulating too. While your blog posts, white papers, or web copy go beyond a syllable count of seventeen, conciseness is always good practice. This is especially key when writing for social media, as that’s an area where too much content can come across as pushy.

In similar cases, poems often have their readers create questions and doubt, making them wonder about all kinds of topics whether it be life, death, love etc. Web content isn’t there to ask questions but to answer them. For example, you leave a place for them to send a response such as a comment box or an address to send their inquiries.

Read and Integrate

Ask just about any poet how to improve your work, and they’ll tell you to write more. Then, they’ll tell you to read more. And by reading other poets’ works, writers have an opportunity to see new perspectives, get a feel for new forms, and distinguish their own style.

This is actually another close similarity between poetry and content marketing but is the one often missed whenever one tries to mix both. Writing creative content should be relevant with what’s happening in the market today. Keep updated with trends in social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, and make sure you’re updating regularly with applicable content. Those are the ‘other poets’ for marketers and their businesses.

There are some things about writing that are just universally true however, that doesn’t mean that different forms all require the same strategies. Shakespeare certainly possessed certain marketing skills in his own right but he’s not the only one and neither should his work be your only source of ideas.