This last month I got to travel to Seoul, South Korea. I had the honor of bringing Content Marketing, our Master Class, and #CMWorld goodness to Seoul for the first ever Content Marketing Asia Forum, put on with our partner in Korea, Stone Brand Communications.

As you might expect, I’ve been doing research into the state of content marketing in Korea and, more broadly, in Asia. It’s been a refreshing exercise, as I’ve gotten to see content marketing through different eyes.

It strikes me that looking at our familiar topics through fresh eyes is something we can do more purposely, and more frequently, to discover stories to differentiate us.

As content marketers, our job is to produce more content than ever before. This pressure can persuade us that our work is about processing the familiar, rather than investigating the different.  We can get wrapped up in data, research, and easily accessible customer stories that represent known quantities in terms of value.

In fact, I just discussed this with a client last week. Every single competitor and “thought leader” in my client’s space writes and creates content on the same topics.  “What,” the client asked, “can we talk about that will differentiate us in the marketplace of ideas?”

The stories – both familiar and completely unfamiliar – are out there. Sometimes applying a different lens can help us find them.

I’ve been learning, for example, so much about intricate and different parts of the Asian market and how they reflect differently on content marketing. Some parts of Asia have faced product-quality issues for years, so the history and quality of trusted, well-known brands are emphasized more than demonstrating innovation. The popular social media channels, the importance of e-commerce on mobile devices, and the starker divide between rural and urban personas and are all different from what I’m used to seeing in Europe and North America.

Studying these differences has given me lots of new ideas for the way we can demonstrate value with content marketing. It has inspired me to add new content angles, and not just to the content I’ll use while I’m in Asia. I now have new ideas for CMI Master Classes, my consulting approach, story ideas, research, and even speakers for Content Marketing World.

We can’t always jet off to another part of the globe to learn about new ways to look at our industry. But there are things we can do to, perhaps, look at our editorial strategies through new eyes. We can:

  • Read magazines and journals from other industries to learn what they’re struggling with
  • Review the history of our industry to see if we’ve missed repeating patterns
  • Talk with people who know absolutely nothing about our business and ask for their opinion of our story

The key is to find new stories in the different.

Let’s occasionally and purposely eject ourselves from our regular patterns and set down among the completely unfamiliar. We might be surprised at how good the stories we find there really are.

It’s your story. Tell it well.


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