Do you see yourself as a “creative,” or maybe even an artist?
Let us guess. If you don’t paint or draw, you probably don’t consider yourself an artist. In the realm of marketing, if you aren’t a graphic designer, you may not think so either.
We want to stop you right there. At Stratos, we believe you can use creativity ANYWHERE, especially, in your marketing.
Have you ever read the book “Steal Like an Artist ” by Auston Kleon? As social media content creators, it has helped us see how we can create and, well, steal, like an artist to create content for our clients.
Kleon created this book from experience as he learned different things about making art. But according to Austin, “These ideas apply to anyone who’s trying to inject some creativity into their life and their work. (That should describe all of us.)” (Kleon, 2012). Some of our staff considered themselves artists or creatives before reading this book. But guess what? Some of them didn’t. And yet, we’ve each found three things that we would steal from this book and use to influence our work, and even our personal lives.
Don’t spend your days wearing a French hat, painting on your easel?
Don’t worry. Us either. We bet you will still find something useful here. Just like we did…
Nothing is Original
All art has its inspiration in something that has been done before.
I write content for a variety of clients but the types of content can be used across clients. At times, it feels boring or like I am copying and pasting from one account to another. For instance, we use testimonial posts in many of our accounts to provide proof that our clients are experts in their field of business. Or we may reuse a concept from a highly engaged post from a few months back with tweaks to the present moment. This can make me feel like the work is not original. But it’s ok.
I can be creative, but I do not need to reinvent the wheel. I know what works in social media and I can tweak it for each client. Content can start with similar ideas but can be incredibly different once you are ready to publish.
Education vs Schooling
It may be weird as a marketing professional to say this but…I don’t have a degree in marketing. Back in my day 😆 Facebook was just for college students, so thinking of a degree in digital marketing/social media wasn’t happening.
But I have had a passion for marketing since I could remember: I still randomly think of commercials I loved when I was little. In high school, I was the apparel manager of my school store (shout out to the Tremper High School Store: The Home Court!) In college, I worked in event promotion for a major beverage company, and, before Stratos, I was a marketing and sales assistant at a distillery.
All that to say, I have always wanted to learn more about marketing and continue to seek out resources on a daily. Working in social media, you need to in order to keep up. You don’t need a degree, but a passion for learning? YES.
Getting back to real analog v digital
Working in digital marketing, specifically social media, I am behind a screen a lot of my days. Recently I have noticed that scrolling hinders my creativity.
Do I see cool content that I want to try or can it spark an idea? Yes, but then I need to get off the screen. Flushing out ideas on paper rather than typing really helps me to not be confined by what has already been done. Like I said before, nothing is original but you don’t need to be a carbon copy either.
I have also found that writing about things OTHER than marketing or using other forms of art helps me restore that creative muscle. This summer I took a 6-week pottery class and I loved – absolutely loved – it. Am I leaving Stratos to become a potter? Of course not…but being away from a screen and not thinking about creativity in a way of producing a product for a client help make room in my brain for when I need to.
I have always loved school. Mostly because I love learning and also because one of my Love Languages is Words of Affirmation (Thanks, Teachers!) But as I got older, I realized that I could learn some things even without a formal education. I can learn from other experts, through books, research articles online, etc. The possibilities are endless. But one thing is for certain: you can find the answer to most questions if you look hard enough. One of my biggest pet peeves is that we are so used to having answers at our fingertips these days that a lot of people want information spoon-fed to them. I enjoy the challenge of finding answers and everything I learn along the way. A lot of marketing has been that way for me. I learn from a knowledgeable and creative group of colleagues and I am constantly seeking out professional development resources, too. I also enjoy working with new clients because it means I get to learn more about a new topic. Sometimes I get a bit intimidated by the idea of not being an expert in a client’s field. But this is a good reminder that I can learn about these topics in many different ways.
Save your Thefts for Later
I love the idea of carrying around a notebook where I can jot down ideas when I see something useful. For years, I have done a lot of this without realizing it. I have always enjoyed writing and I hope to write a book someday. Years ago I began carrying a notebook around and I’d write down quotes and words from books. These serve as an inspiration for me and help me pick out different ideas or themes whenever I write. With work, I spend a lot of time taking screenshots of content that can spark inspiration for posts I have to write in the future too. When I’m having trouble figuring out which direction to take something, the screenshots serve as different options.
Quit picking fights
This resonates with me more on a personal level, but it feels so relatable.
A few years ago, refugees and immigrants became a hot topic (a topic full of misinformation). I worked with refugees and immigrants at the time and was quite passionate about that work. At first, scrolling the internet only infuriated me because it was filled with people sharing false information about the safety and vetting of refugees. It was full of harmful information in regards to people I cared very deeply about. But I also found that it fueled my writing and advocacy efforts. I had to learn to give myself time limits on my social media scrolling. And to stop picking fights on the internet. Instead I learned to use this as a way to be more productive and passionate. These days the internet is still filled with infuriating posts (I’m willing to bet you’ve encountered a few yourself!). Sometimes I forget this might be a source of creativity for me.
Did any of our stolen goods resonate with you? If your creative juices are flowing, we recommend you sit down and figure out what you can steal from our blog. And then? We think you should head over to the library and check out Auston Kleon’s book. Because we believe what he says, “This book is for you. (Whoever you are, whatever you make.)” (Kleon, 2012)