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There's Content in Your Pocket: 10 Marketing Lessons From Dr. Seuss

by Oliver Wellington  |  
November 12, 2013

Content marketing and storytelling go together like green eggs and ham, so who better to take inspiration from than Dr. Seuss, one of the world’s greatest storytellers? 

Here are 10 quotes from the acclaimed children's book author and takeaways for all content marketers.

1. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So ... get on your way.” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)
Lesson: Traditional marketing has lost impact as consumers block out noise, while content marketing is about educating readers and customers---not selling. If you haven’t started yet, now’s a great time!

2. “Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!” (Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!)
Lesson: Content marketing success depends on consistency, which can be challenging. However, if you search and think, you’ll discover plenty of content ideas. Check the daily paper, watch your competitors, scan blogs, interview a client about a topic, or even look to the musings of a famous author. Get creative!

3. “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs is making a chore for the reader who reads.”
Lesson: We’d hate to be guilty of this, so we’ll just say that clear, simple and brief is the best policy. In today’s crowded online world, if you capture readers’ attention, you’ve won half the battle.

4. “If you never did, you should. These things are fun and fun is good.” (One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish)
Lesson: Creating content doesn’t have to be drudgery. Like storytelling, content marketing is about conveying information in an engaging and interesting way. Create an infographic, design a microsite, or record a video series. Also remember to mobilize your readers, customers, and community for some good user-generated content.

5. “Words and pictures are yin and yang. Married, they produce a progeny more interesting than either parent.”
Lesson: Written and visual content go hand in hand with content marketing. Instagram, Pinterest, and Vine demonstrate the power of pictures and video. Words and pictures together give birth to some of the most effective forms of content marketing.

6. “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
Lesson: Content marketing is about making readers and customers smarter. The online world creates a lot of groupthink, and while it’s important to tune in to trends, you can often attract attention by taking a contrarian view. Think about how you contribute to a topic that gets people to think differently. Don’t be afraid to invite debate or disagreement if appropriate.

7. “I meant what I said and I said what I meant.” (Horton Hatches the Egg)
Lesson: Authenticity is an important part of content marketing. Readers and customers want honesty above all, so if you can’t stay true to your brand and yourself when creating content, you’re probably headed down the wrong path.

8. “Step with great care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)
Lesson: Good content takes time. When you produce content in haste, readers will know. The important thing is to find the right balance between quality and quantity. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity, but also don’t go radio silent for months at a time.

9. “Read. Ask. Read. Learn. Read. Connect. Read.”
Lesson: Content marketing isn’t just one-way communication. Be sure to open your content to discussion and ask for feedback if appropriate. Read and learn from comments and personally connect with your audience.

10. “Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed! Ninety-eight and three-quarters percent guaranteed.” (Oh, the Places You’ll Go!)
Lesson: As with all things, success isn’t 100% guaranteed, but if you’re consistent and clear; have fun; use a mix of words and images; provide new ideas; are authentic; use tact; and engage in dialogue with your audience, you’re off to a good start!

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Oliver Wellington is co-founder of nRelate, a content marketing company based in New York City. He oversees the company’s sales and operations organizations and continues to work on product development as well.

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  • by Alexandra Petean-Nicola Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    Awesome article Oliver. It's fun to read and so positive and nice. Interesting ideas for all marketers out there.

  • by Oliver Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    Thanks Alexandra!

  • by Hannah Hill Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    Oliver, these are good lessons that all marketers need to know. I wrote a similar Dr. Seuss-themed blog post earlier this year, so it turns out great minds think alike. You can check it out here:

  • by Kevin M. Norris Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    Hi Oliver Wellington. I adore Dr.Seuss. His messages were pioneering and valuable to all ages. I think his books should be required reading in all colleges and universities.

    Thank you for the keen interpretation and translation into how Dr.Seuss' words aptly apply to marketing.

    I also recommend the book, The Little Engine That Could. Another great children's book with valuable messages for all ages.

  • by Art Sandridge Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    Oliver, I don't normally comment on blog posts but this one was so ingenious and on target I could help but give you a thumbs up! Great read!

  • by Oliver Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    @Hannah, awesome, thanks for sharing that

  • by Rachael Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    This is a fun, creative method to inspire great content! I love the back to basics approach and the tie between content marketing and storytelling. It's easy to complicate our mission as content marketers and this was a well needed reminder of the KISS philosophy to communicaiton. Thank you!

  • by Sheila Tue Nov 12, 2013 via blog

    Great article - how fun and educational.

  • by Judy Wed Nov 13, 2013 via blog


  • by Lynn Serafinn Thu Nov 14, 2013 via blog

    Love this article, Oliver. Very creative and your examples make it really understandable.

    What I particular love about it is how seamlessly it expresses the '7 Graces' marketing paradigm we at the 7 Graces Project CIC are cultivating. For example, #3 exemplified 'the Grace of Directness', #7 the 'Grace of Transparency' and #9 the 'Grace of Collaboration'. Check out our mission statement so you see what I mean: . We're a non-profit social enterprise and we train businesses in marketing ethics and practice, so they can do all that cool stuff you're taking about in this article. I have a feeling Dr. Seuss will now have to be part of our required reading. ;-)

    Just a question, where did the quotes from #3, #5, #6 and #9 come from? As a writer (who works with other writers) I especially love #3.

    Warm wishes,
    Lynn Serafinn

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