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Tina Fey’s Improv Lesson In Content Marketing – Atlantic BT

Tina Fey’s Master Class In Improvisation

Prior to this amazing and hilarious improvisation with James Lipton (video below) from the Actor’s Studio Tina Fey discussed her 2nd City Improv roots. As Fey shared “The Rules of Improvisation” they sounded like many of  “The Rules of Content Marketing”. Keep in mind we are writing these new “rules” of content marketing almost as I write this, but see if Tina’s Palin doesn’t make you laugh and cry at the same time.

The Rules of Improvisation

  • Always Agree.
  • Say Yes, AND…
  • After the “and” add new information.
  • Focus on the Here and Now.
  • Establish the location.
  • Be Specific, provide details.

Fey didn’t cover all of the rules of improvisation. She went one better by turning in a masterful improvisation as Sara Palin demonstrating nearly every “improv” rule:

Improv and Content Marketing

The best content marketing follows many of  David Alger’s First 10 Rules of Improvisation. Let’s examine a few of the most important similarities:

  • Always Agree.
  • Agree And (add information).
  • Set time, place and location.
  • Be specific.

Creating Agreement In Content Marketing

Even when your content is going to disagree don’t start that way. Sentiment is everything online. As an entrepreneur and Sales Director I’ve written hundreds of letters. I like to start a letter by finding something to thank the person receiving the letter for because thank you letters really do work. Creating content is similar. Content embarks on a journey.

Journeys are better started with a whistle and smile than an attack.

Don’t lay traps or be inauthentic, but find something about even an opposing argument to appreciate. Count the agreements in the opening of How Your Unique Greatness Meets Customer Aspiration:

Clutter Marketing

Clutter describes our marketing world these days. What author Seth Godin calls our Connection Economy is creating content so fast most of your customers are overwhelmed, time stressed and short on attention. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt noted we create as much content every two days now as from the dawn of man until 2003. The world is cluttered and becoming more so every moment. When everyone has a website yours better be GREAT or why bother.

The opening to Unique Greatness demonstrates how agreement with trusted sources creates trust.

My assertion of the need for greatness in web design is bolstered by agreeing with Seth Godin and bringing in one of my favorite quotes from Eric Schmidt. The need to create great websites sits on top of two powerful quotes. The assertion of the need for great web design is my “and”, the additional information moving the “improvisation” (content marketing) forward.

Telling Stories With Time and Location

A favorite storytelling technique is to set a sense of time and place immediately. “TIME” is not clock time, but a sense of OUR time, the time of our collective consciousness. Connection happens when we AGREE and feel we walk together on this PATH now. Path is a construct of distance and distance is another form of TIME.

Easier to demonstrate with another recent example from A Rocker, A Brand Doctor and GIVE and ASK at TED:

Magic at TED

It never ceases to amaze. During a serendipitous conversation withRed Maxwell, the Brand Doctor, he did it again. The last time, several years ago, we were having lunch discussing my obsession with altruism in marketing.

Red began to share broad stokes of, “An amazing guy I just had lunch with at TED”.  I realized he was describing one of the three legs of my new altruism stool – Michael Shermer author of Mind of the Market. The other two legs (at that time) were Robert Wright’s NonZero and Richard Dawkins The Selfish Gene (turns out the selfish gene isnot be as selfish as the title implies).

Today Red shared a great story about helping rocker Amanda Palmer. Red’s latest random share comes two days after I wrote a long a long post on Google Plus, a note to Amanda (below) and thanked my friend Phil Buckley (@1918) for sharing Amanda’s TED presentation on the ASK and the GIVE (embedded below).

This intro wanders more, but on purpose.

The piece is an intimate journey down a new street – the idea that those who have ASKED (we lucky few marketers) need to GIVE more now and vice versa. I’ve discovered, after writing more than half a million words on blogs such as this one, how new ideas are scary and don’t scale (get the shares, links and likes needed).

I’ve learned to use ideas from the Heath brothers highly recommended book Made To Stick.  Made To Stick teaches how to wrap The Radical inside of The Known to create acceptance.

The Rocker and Brand Doctor introduction sets place and time without saying, “It is TODAY and three o’clock”. “Place” can be a MENTAL place, a state of mind such as the agreement between Godin, Schmidt and me in the previous example. Don’t be literal. Be open to different kinds of openings based on the content you’re creating and the messages you want your story to deliver.

Always start with agreement and work your way on. Agreement means we are brothers and sisters working together. Agreement means your reader’s minds are OPEN and willing. Agreement starts a journey that can incorporate the most RADICAL ideas especially when wrapped in the Heath brothers STICKY CLOAK. Agreement sets Shakespeare’s stage and begins the covenant of conversion. Agreement rocks as Tiny Fey explained so hilariously to James Lipton.

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