An effective lesson from my buddy Horace (Ars Poetica, On the Art of Poetry) is this:
In order to succeed, both entertain while educating the other.
The only cardinal sin is being boring.
In the land of marketing, the only cardinal sin is to bore your viewer or reader. Better to be brazen, controversial, and outspoken than to be quiet, meek, and “polite”.
Entertain: To hold their attention.
To entertain literally means “to hold onto” (Latin: en+tenere).
Thus to “entertain” should be more about holding someone’s attention than to simply “provide visual stimuli and novelty”.
In praise of blogging
I’m still convinced: the best marketing platform (known thus far) in terms of effectiveness (for building your fame, sales, personal name and brand) and longevity is blogging. I like to call it “substance marketing”:
Create deep, meaningful things of substance and share it as widely as you can, in order to build trust and legitimacy with others.
Contrary to popular belief, I think that what is entertaining isn’t dumb. Instead, the most entertaining things are dangerous, challenging, interesting, and often valuable.
To educate to me means:
Encouraging others to find themselves.
I don’t believe in ultimate truths; only personal truths. And also within this, there are levels and depths of personal truth (truthiness).
Therefore when you’re educating people, it is your duty to try your best to as clearly, accurately, and honestly communicate what (you believe) can empower and help others.
How to spread your message
It seems that “word of mouth” is still the most effective mode of communication and marketing. Essentially better to have a few super hardcore fans than lots of “mildly interested” fans.
For example note the tenacity and undying loyalty of Kanye West fans (myself included). He has done some pretty outrageous things during his tenure, yet he still remains extremely relevant and influential. Why? We all know (whether you love him or hate him) he is authentic. He speaks his mind. He’s honest, complex, interesting, raw, unfiltered. Perhaps we all strive towards this ideal; that’s why we critique him (“How dare he speak his mind, when I’m too cowardly to express my mind?”)