Why Kurt Vonnegut was the Most Successful Entrepreneur of All Time

 In Case Study, Content, Marketing

Why Kurt Vonnegut was the Most Successful Entrepreneur of All Time

When it comes to inbound marketing, website design, or any other content-based venture, inspiration can be found in unlikely sources. You won’t always find that spark of brilliance in a guru’s elegant speech or during the keynote presentation at a business conference.

I often find ideas to complete my clients’ projects in the work of artists—authors, painters, filmmakers, and comedians. These are the trailblazers who understand the only real rule regarding content.

And that rule is: it’s all about the audience.

Kurt Vonnegut is the poster child for this notion. In this way, the author embodied every characteristic of a successful entrepreneur.

Mr. Vonnegut penned truly unforgettable, timeless, brutally funny, and paralyzingly sad novels. See Slaughterhouse Five, Breakfast of Champions, Mother Night, Cat’s Cradle, Player Piano, Jail Bird, and many others in this fantastic library.

He wasn’t an entrepreneur in the way we think of business owners today. However, he did create a tribe of followers, changed people’s minds, and left an indelible impact on the world.

That said, Kurt espoused a few, very good ideas on how to create content for one’s audience. He presented those ideas to his creative writing classes, and I’m sure many of those students used these pillars as a guiding light when the content well ran dry.

You can use them, too.

Use the time of a total stranger in such a way that he or she will not feel the time was wasted.

In inbound marketing, you are essentially opening a dialogue between a business and a stranger. Though you’ve studied your demographic, and have a keen understanding of their desires and pain points, it’s not as if you know these people on a first name basis.

With that in mind, your audience deserves respect. You can show them this reverence by delivering value. Even if you’re writing about a retail product, you can value the audience’s time by showing application of use and heightening the user experience.

Give the reader at least one character he or she can root for.

Storytelling is a benchmark of marketing content. Human beings are hardwired to connect with a narrative. For this reason, this technique takes precedence over any feature checklist you provide.

As you tell stories, give the audience something they can hold on to. My advice: the “main character” should be your customer avatar. If you have an understanding of their psychology, you have the blueprint to craft a story that they will relate to whole-heartedly.

Every character should want something, even if it is only a glass of water.

Desire is the only reason that marketing exists. Without needs and wants, you’d be reading a different article right now.

The thing is, the mere existence of desire doesn’t amount to much. The understanding and expression of your audience’s needs and wants is what provides the good juju required for people to get on board.

Every sentence must do one of two things—reveal character or advance the action.

This one is simple.

Your content marketing should have fully trimmed fat—no fluff. If you’re not delivering true value with every syllable, hit the delete button.

Start as close to the end as possible.

Time is perhaps the world’s most valuable commodity, so jump into the main point as fast as you possibly can. Money can be replaced, and to a large extent, so can health. Time, on the other hand, is a nonrenewable resource.

If your prospects give you the time of day, don’t waste it. It goes back to value and audience-centricity. Assuming you’re laser-focused on what the readers need to hear, then you’re respecting the fact that someone loaned you their precious asset.

Be a sadist. No matter how sweet and innocent your leading characters, make awful things happen to them—in order that the reader may see what they are made of.

In marketing content, brutal honesty establishes an almost instantaneous rapport with your reader.

As you reveal the stakes and outline what’s really happening in the trenches of your particular marketplace, this is when you create empathy. Coming from a place of understanding will strike a chord.

And you can’t hold back no matter what.

Write to please just one person. If you open a window and make love to the world, so to speak, your story will get pneumonia.

Are you writing to one customer avatar? You should be. When you reach out to the masses, and proclaim that you’ve created a service that will end the world’s pain and suffering, your content will produce a shrugged shoulders reaction.

Give your readers as much information as possible as soon as possible. To heck with suspense. Readers should have such complete understanding of what is going on, where and why, that they could finish the story themselves, should cockroaches eat the last few pages.

…Or, like my 91 year old grandma does, read the last page first in case you don’t make it through. 🙂

In all seriousness, information is what people crave. They like ideas; they enjoy a pinch of humor; but at the end of the day your audience needs info that will improve their lives in some form or another.

Especially in a 140-character world, you can’t produce enough quality information. It’s lightning-fast out there. People consume mass quantities of info—so much that they often forget what they’ve digested.

If you follow Kurt Vonnegut’s method, I think you’ll rise above the sea of noise.

Spill your guts in the comments below. Do you know Kurt Vonnegut? Are you going to check out his novels now that you’ve read this article?


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