Grabbing readers’ attention, making them think and stimulating them to act is the primary goal of content marketing. To that end, there is much the great writers of the past can teach modern B2B marketing professionals about connecting with readers. Because content marketing is all about influencing audiences, why not take some time to learn about writing from one of history’s most influential authors?
William Shakespeare’s impact on language and communication extends from theatre and literature to present-day films and everyday conversation. Widely regarded as history’s greatest English language writer, Shakespeare is the author of history’s second-most-quoted works (first place going to the King James Bible). Today, people routinely quote Shakespeare without having ever seen one of his plays, or even knowing that the everyday phrases they are using have been used for four centuries. These include:
All that glitters is not gold. (The Merchant of Venice)
Fight fire with fire. (King John)
Break the ice. (The Taming of the Shrew)
In a pickle. (The Tempest)
Wild goose chase. (Romeo and Juliet)
All of these are considered household phrases. As a matter of fact, Shakespeare even penned the phrase “household word” – it first appeared in Henry V. The man truly was a tag line genius.
If you want to write like Shakespeare, the first thing to do is read Shakespeare. Notice the richness of his words; how they paint a picture and appeal to the emotions. Examine the language he used and how he experimented with its usage. Observe how his stories address experiences and feelings that are nearly universal, applying to the lowliest of peasants and the noblest of kings.
Once you have read as much as you can, put what you’ve learned to good use. Use powerful, evocative, vivid words in your content. Appeal to emotions through compelling storytelling. Play with the meanings of words and bend the rules of grammar to create witty or memorable phrases that will stick with people after they’ve moved on to the next website. It can be tough at first, but practice makes perfect!
Shakespeare was a master at capturing interest, maintaining that interest and moving audiences. Even now, centuries after his death, writers of all levels could learn a thing or two from him. None of us will probably ever reach his level of influence, but being familiar with his work can help us connect with our own audiences on a deeper level.
What great writers of the past inspire you? How do you think they influence your content marketing and writing?