Triangles_150_SM_PurNot too long ago, say a decade, communications professionals had one primary means to share a story – writing a press release that they would email to a reporter and perhaps follow with a phone call. Both parties might even have time for coffee or lunch to discuss the story in question or other topics the reporter wanted to cover.

We live in more complicated, distracting and busy times but also much more creative times when it comes to storytelling, a term often used today in tandem with “content marketing”.

This stencil art appears on sidewalks all over New York City. Art director Michelle Zapata and I appreciated its message of authenticity, a tenet of both personal and corporate branding.

While communications professionals continue to rely on media relations to get media coverage, we self-publish and market content to get a more diverse audience to act, whether it’s by supporting a movement, donating to charity, voting for a particular candidate, or buying a product or service.

That’s where Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World comes in. While representing my personal brand, this interactive and multimedia magazine serves as a prototype for how any organization, big or small, might present its own unique point of view.

From this and other corporate experiences (I’ve been lucky to work with the best of the best), I have identified three skills common among successful content marketers.

They know to:

Triangles_150_SM_Yel• Turn passion into product

o Did your mom ever say, “Be true to yourself.”? I thought of that often as I developed my authentic voice on the topic of creativity and free speech. Likewise, every organization needs to carve out issues it can own.
o Go with your gut, mind and heart; great content reflects a mix of facts, informed opinions, creativity and artistry; together they educate and move your readers

Example: I leaned on my journalism background, knowledge of French language and culture, and an appreciation for the creative process to establish credibility behind Creativity Is Risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World. I noted this explicitly in the press release’s boilerplate.

Triangles_150_LG_Blu• Create excitement with multimedia and interactive content 
o Build a great team with diverse talents to complement your vision
o Listen to and consider your teammates’ ideas; you’ve hired them because they know things you don’t, from technology to the artsy
o Develop a digital platform with an eclectic mix of content people can’t get anywhere else

Example: I found Jon Porcasi, a gifted e-magazine producer, through the PR, Marketing and Media Czars Facebook community. The original photography in Creativity Is Risky resulted from an eight-hour photo shoot with art director and photographer Michelle Zapata. Additional content presented itself serendipitously as the creative process worked its magic.

Triangles_150_SM_or• Be tenacious and gracious
o Reach out to individuals and organizations on social channels who will have an affinity for your project, which you can discern by their social activity
o Share their content and ask them to share yours
o Expand on this every day to sustain momentum
o create a social media calendar, slicing and dicing your content into individual articles, photos, videos, even the best quotes, over the course of days and weeks
o use an existing hashtag and create a new one so as to join current conversations and build on them

Example: I am one person, and my team is small. We did not expect a windfall of media coverage or to take over Twitter. But with a little humanity and precision, we are securing interest from journalists and bloggers while inciting individuals and organizations from multiple countries to share and comment on our content. When someone said, “I wish I had a print copy for my coffee table,” then I knew the #freespeech #creativityisrisky movement was on its way.

If you have enjoyed reading this , then please take a moment to share Creativity Is risky: Free Speech in a Charlie Hebdo World using the #freespeech and #creativityisrisky hashtags. 

You can also contact me at or +1.917.477.9566.