A Multidisciplinary Approach to Breathtaking Content

how to create great content

By Srinivas Rao, Contributing {grow} Columnist

Over the last two years I’ve read more books than I’ve read in my entire life. But there’s a slight problem with my reading. Every single book falls into one of these categories:

  • Marketing/Business
  • Self Help/Psychology
  • Entrepreneurship/Careers

There has been no fiction, not a single memoir, or any book that falls outside of my field. I don’t think I’m alone considering most of these books are New York Times Bestsellers and they show up on the recommended reading list of every blogger.  But there’s a problem with this. As Zig Ziglar once said “Your input determines your output. Your output determines your future.” If we’re not careful, it won’t be long before the entire blogosphere turns into a giant echo chamber.

In the last several weeks I’ve heard two best-selling authors emphasize the importance of reading books over blogs. One of the unfortunate byproducts of our ability to rapidly create content is an incredibly short attention span. Short form content is rapidly flooding the Internet. It’s easier to read 20 different blogs on a daily basis than it is to read an entire book which could take a week.  But sit down and read a  bestselling author’s book, even when it falls into the self-inflicted “genre bubble,” and you’ll notice numerous references to books from multiple disciplines.

A Multidisciplinary Approach to Creating Content

In his latest book, Mastery, Robert Greene studies masters from multiple fields (athletes, entrepreneurs, pilots, artists and more). One of the things that every single master had in common was a diversity of input and influences. Their best work was shaped by knowledge from a variety of fields. They avoided tunnel vision which we’ll all become a victim of if we’re only reading marketing blogs.

How to Diversify

1. Read Fiction

how to create contentOne of the easiest ways to start diversifying your input is to start reading fiction. The beautiful thing about fiction is that it’s the byproduct of imagination. As a result it will get your imagination going and enable you to start creating things that don’t exist.

2. Read Children’s Books

how to create contentThis might seem a bit silly to some of you. But one place where children have most of us beat is in their creativity and imagination. Just talk to a 5-year-old and you’ll wonder if maybe he or she should be the next creative director at your organization.  Another book that I discovered on Maria Popova‘s site that’s more like a creative workbook is Keri Smith’s How to Be an Explorer of the World.  Pick up a copy of a Dr. Seuss book and pay attention to how it inspires you. In fact, just visit the online world of Seussville for a trippy experience:


3. Read Content Outside Your Field

how to create contentOur obsession with authority has too many people reading nothing but blogs about their industry.  But by reading content that falls outside your field you can pull ideas and insights from other disciplines into your work. I recently was asked to write a guest post for a really popular blog on the subject of taking risks. So the other day I returned to my personal love for surfing and picked up a copy of Saltwater Buddha, which enabled me to use riding waves as a metaphor for taking risks.

Additional Sources of Inspiration

Written content is not the only place you’ll be able to find inspiration and break molds.  In Tina Seelig’s book inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity, she writes about the power of keen observation and how it can lead to creative breakthroughs.

4. Photos 

how to create contentIn case you haven’t figured it out yet, a lot of people are starting to love Instagram.  It’s amazing how much inspiration you can find for creating blog content within your Instagram feed. Spend a day documenting your life.  Then write a blog post that tells a story based on the pictures.

5. Music

how to create contentAnother great source of inspiration for your content is music lyrics. Wake up in the morning, create a playlist on Spotify of your favorite songs and just listen to them for an hour.  At first it might seem like you’re wasting time, but sit down with the intent of coming up with new ideas for content and you’ll be amazed what happens. Here’s an example of using music for inspiration.

6. Sleep

how to create contentYou may have heard before that many of Albert Einstein’s best ideas came to him in his sleep. Believe it or not the entire last section of this post came to me after falling asleep with some headphones on (a great way to use sleep and music at the same time).

Every day do something to step outside of your content bubble to find new sources of inspiration and you’ll start to ignite the voice inside you. Words will flow and you’ll escape the echo chamber and never return.

Would you please share your best sources of inspiration?

srini rao

Srinivas Rao writes about the things you should have learned in school, but never did and his the host-co founder of BlogcastFM.  You can follow him on twitter @skooloflife

Images courtesy Bigstock.com

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