Lord Byron Owned a Bear: 6 Poetic Lessons in Content Marketing

Lord Byron bearFrom Empedocles to e.e. cummings, poets have long been viewed by society as a strange group of oddballs. From running guns in East Africa (Arthur Rimbaud) to keeping bears in dorm rooms (Lord Byron), there’s a lot more to famous poets and their lives than iambic pentameter and bad publishing deals.

In tribute to this largely eccentric cast of characters, I’ve done a little autobiographical research of my own, and pulled up six content marketing lessons that I hope, at the very least, you might find amusing.

Lord Byron

Lord Byron (1798-1824) was an English romantic poet who only lived to the age of 36, but still made it into your high school English classroom a couple of centuries after the fact. During his 36 years, Lord Byron managed to pull of some incredible stunts that we can learn from…

  • #1 Make the rules work for you. As a student residing at Trinity College in Cambridge, Lord Byron really wanted to have his dog at the dorm. But that just wasn’t going to happen, according to the rules in the Trinity College student handbook. However, the handbook didn’t say anything about bears. So, Lord Byron bought himself a pet bear.

Content marketing is a rapidly growing and constantly changing industry. Don’t let certain rules and definitions about content marketing prevent you from making things happen. 

  • #2 Develop your own signature style. According to legend, Lord Byron attended some fairly wild parties at Newstead Abbey. During these parties, he would make toasts and then drink from a cup. Here’s where it gets weird: the “cup” was actually the skull of a former Newstead monk. Lord Byron even added some silver plating to his special cup.

You don’t have to go as far out as Lord Byron, but you should find ways to make yourself stand out from the crowd. As many marketing experts have pointed out, content marketing is built on niche marketing. Make specific decisions about how you will interact with your niche audience through social media.

Empedocles

Empedocles (490-430 BC) was a pre-Socratic philosopher and poet in Ancient Greece who did some of the earliest recorded work in particle physics and elemental theory. Forgive me for jumping across nearly 2,500 years of history and half the globe to view him in the far more shallow light of content marketing.

  • #1 Believe in yourself. Empedocles had a lot of faith in himself. A lot. According to one legend, he claimed that he would throw himself into an active volcano at Mount Etna and return as a god. He threw himself in, and that’s the last we’ve heard of Empedocles since.

Now, don’t go do anything too rash… but a little self-confidence can take you a long way. If you have a great idea for marketing one of your clients, then believe in yourself enough to go for it. Push boundaries in your content writing. Engage with your audience authentically. (All of this is possible at a safe distance from active volcanoes.)

  • #2 Words have power. Empedocles very much believed that the words of his poetry were living things with their own consciousness and will. Empedocles believed his disciples and readers had to actively meditate on the words in order for them to have their full power.

Okay, you’re not writing spiritual guidance materials. However, great content writing can be incredibly effective. This goes along with the self-confidence point. Approach your content marketing/writing strategy with the belief that it really will produce an effect in your clients’ customers (or your customers), and you’ll notice a positive change. I guarantee it.

Arthur Rimbaud

Victor Hugo bestowed Arthur Rimbaud (1854-1891) with a most appropriate epithet: “an infant Shakespeare.” Rimbaud began writing poetry as a child. At the age of 9, he wrote a 700-word essay that objected to his Latin lessons. Over the next 28 years, he filled his life with plenty of action to make up for the drudgery of those Latin classes…

  • #1 Diversify, diversify, diversify. Rimbaud always had a businessman’s mentality. At the age of 20, he gave up poetry and decided that he’d be better off living a vagabond’s life in Aden, Yemen, and then East Africa. He amassed a small fortune trading arms – not the average poet’s post-retirement career.

Your blog strategy is working right now, but will the same types of posts attract attention in the future? Will the blog itself be as successful ten years from now as it is today? Probably not. Start thinking about ways you can diversify your content marketing today.

  • #2 Keep an eye out for a bargain. As you might imagine, Rimbaud didn’t have a lot of money to his name when he traveled at the age of 22. How did he do it? Rimbaud enlisted with the Dutch Colonial Army (he was French) for a free ride to Java in the Dust East Indies (modern day Indonesia). Of course, those arrangements didn’t last too long once Rimbaud had what he wanted (the boat ride). After four months, he deserted and fled into the jungle.

Content marketing ain’t cheap. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t afford it. We’ve written about cheap – and highly effective – solutions for extending your reach through content marketing. Learn more – no deserting necessary. 

Have a favorite poetic anecdote of your own? That’s why we’ve got a comments section. Let’s hear ‘em!

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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