- February 17, 2021
- Posted by: Irewole Oyebode
- Category: Content Marketing
There is a 99% chance that whenever you hear the names, Martin Luther King, the first words that come to mind are not Content Marketing but “I Have a Dream”.
You are not alone.
Dr Martin Luther King was not a Content Marketer, and content marketing was not a known concept in his days – at least not in the way it is today. However, if you are Content Marketer, there is more to learn from Martin Luther King than you may imagine. As the world remembers the immeasurable contributions of the great Civil Rights Activist to democracy, we cannot help but appreciate the great content writing master that he was.
Anyone who has had the privilege of listening to King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech can attest to this fact. His oratory prowess is still much revered many generations after.
It was in this speech that he described his vision of America. King’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech is a learning goldmine for content writers and content marketers of all cadres. Learn what makes his words so powerful and how best you can utilize these same techniques.
So, what lessons can we learn?
Say What You Mean
Your words must be precise, exact, and deliberate – making your point in clear terms. There should be no ambiguity or vagueness, no room for confusion or conjecture as to what you actually mean. Your content should always convey a clear and direct message to your audience. Do not circumlocute.
Nothing makes a message get lost in communication faster than failing to use the right words. To succeed in this area, you must build your word library. Read and read and when you are done reading, by all means, read some more.
Write as much as possible too, there’s no substitute for practice. Practise your art as frequently as possible. As much as you can, fall in love with your Language of choice. This way, you will never run out of ways to express yourself when creating content. Dr King was a wordsmith, and this is how he was always able to convey his message loud and clear to his audience. His ‘I Have a Dream’ “speech has been described as having a strong claim to be the greatest in the English Language of all time.”
By no means is achieving a rich vocabulary an overnight job but it is not impossible. Discover the best ways to improve your writing vocabulary.
Stir up the imagination of your audience
Among the most quoted lines of Martin Luther King’s speech are:
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the colour of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
These words harness the power of imagination. They paint a picture in the mind’s eye, which is another thing that content creators and marketers must successfully do. Your words must propel your audience to a world where they can envision themselves enjoying the results of their decision to engage your content. Give them something to look forward to; a reward for engaging your content.
Develop your own Style
Undoubtedly, Martin Luther King was a poet. This was evident in the way he used words. In his most famous speech, he alluded to the opening lines of Shakespeare’s Richard III (“Now is the winter of our discontent/ Made glorious summer …”) when he remarks that “this sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn…”
The knowledge of how to combine words is vital to any content creation process. Even though he drew inspiration from Shakespeare’s lines, King domesticated it and coloured it in his style.
Of course, not everyone can be a poet like King. That’s why it’s important that even though you draw inspiration from others, you must learn to develop your style. Want to know how to best to do this? Then read our post on how to develop your writing style.
Write to Elicit Reactions
Another interesting element of King’s speeches is their potential to stir up action and a strong sense of urgency within his audience. In the content marketing world, this is what is called the Call-To-Action. With his use of words like “Now is the time” which is repeated three times in the sixth paragraph, King urges his audience to seize the moment and take action. Your content must spur your audience to take action NOW.
Write with Authority
You must make your audience see that you know the benefit and value of what you are marketing to them, and you want them to know it too. It is imperative that you make them trust the authenticity of your words. You need to make them believe. Upon perusal of King’s speeches, you will find that he usually alluded to a higher authority because he understood the effect this had on his audience. Martin Luther King quoted from Isaiah 40:4-5 when he said (I have a dream that every valley shall be exalted…) and he alluded to Galatians 3:28 which says, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male or female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus.”
In King’s case, he chose to cite biblical authority. On your part, you may choose to cite expert opinion, case studies, or targeted qualitative and quantitative research – anything that inspires confidence in your content will do. However, be careful not to manufacture these things, make sure it is from an authentic source.
Without a doubt, there are countless more lessons we can learn about content creation from Martin Luther King. What would you say are the lessons you have learnt from his work? Please share below.