Sonia's hair really is pink.
It's what helped me spot her in the crowded halls of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center last week, where she was a speaker at HubSpot's annual content marketing conference, INBOUND.
"Are you Sonia Simone?" I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
In fact, I was certain I was standing in front of Sonia Simone because, for the past five years, I've been religiously reading her blog. And Copyblogger, the company she cofounded with Brian Clark, was the driving force behind my content marketing career.
So, yeah, I was pretty excited to see her...
"Yes, I am," she answered. Then we spent a couple minutes chatting. She gave me her card, told me which room I could catch an encore presentation of her speaking session in, and that was that. It was a short encounter, but I felt lucky to have even had it in the first place.
Then something awesome happened...
A couple hours later, I ran into Sonia again as she was walking back from the lunch lines.
Having already housed my tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwich, I considered whether it'd be weird to ask Sonia if she wanted some company while she ate. I decided it would be. And then I asked anyway.
Graciously, Sonia accepted. I was amazed: One of the world's finest content marketers didn't even skip a beat when asked for some one-on-one time at a content marketing conference.
It was too cool.
It was cooler than the air-conditioned lobby we plopped down in. But it wasn't as cool as what I walked away with:
A fresh way to approach content marketing.
Sonia and I sat there for a while -- probably 45 minutes -- talking about a lot of stuff...
We discussed Copyblogger's latest venture into audio content.
We talked about content creation, the rule of 24, and why on-the-fly editing really isn't that big of a no-no.
And finally, we talked about Minecraft, an online game that lets players use blocks to build anything they can imagine. Sonia said that her and her son love Minecraft because it's limitless. There are no boundaries in this 20-million-user community, which means anything's possible.
And that got me thinking...
Minecraft and content marketing are pretty damn similar.
Online content -- much like Minecraft's sandbox environment -- is bound by nothing.
I mean if "content" is anything that takes up space on a web page, then aren't the possibilities endless? As long as your content is valuable -- as long as it informs and entertains and builds trust -- does the format really matter?
Well, typically, yes, it does. Impactful marketing starts with a target audience. And if you know your target audience likes to read, for example, then you'll give them all the articles, eBooks, and podcast transcripts they want!
But that doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment...
As a content creator, never stop exploring new content formats and innovating on those you're already using. Never stop thinking outside the box. Never stop thinkingdifferent.
Never. Stop. Building.
That's how millions of Minecraft players created an infinite digital universe, one where anything can happen.
That's how Sonia Simone authored countless articles over the years and built a company.
That's how Copyblogger's Chief Content Writer, Demian Farnworth, created 100 podcast episodes in less than 5 months.
They weren't afraid to build anything they could imagine.
And you shouldn't be either.