The Bible, Content Marketing, and the Gospel According to You

by Marcus Sheridan

gospel according to you

I received a powerful and telling email last week that I think literally thousands of businesses and individuals can relate to. In response to the challenge I laid out to my newsletter subscribers, one person decided to embrace the concept of answering every question in his field to enhance his content marketing efforts. Here’s what he said:

The reason I’ve been hesitant to answer every question is because I feel like the questions have all been answered by others who are smarter and better at writing than me. It’s the ol’ content saturation index issue. So, I’ve been hesitant adding my take because it seems there are so many other great voices already answering the questions. So I ask myself … should I answer the questions myself? Should I just share the answers others have written? Or do a combination adding my own voice and giving credit to my inspirations for my answers?

Good question, isn’t it? Yep, one that I’m sure we’ve all dealt with quite a few times and one I’ve discussed at length before here on The Sales Lion.

That being said, reality is reality, and there has been a huge rush of web-based content produced over these past couple of years, which has naturally lead thousands of marketers and business owners to feel exactly like the gentleman in the above email felt—inadequate, inferior, and extremely frustrated.

Sometimes I hear folks online make a statement like this:

If you have nothing new (or great/epic/awesome/original/etc.) to add to the subject, then don’t talk about it.

In my humble opinion, this maybe be one of the most close-minded and sad statements ever stated on the digital web.

Content Marketing and the Bible

It’s a good thing man hasn’t taken this “It has already been said better” approach since the beginning of time, otherwise we’d be missing over 90% of the great non-fiction works that have ever been produced.

Take the historical writer Luke of the New Testament as an example. Many folks naturally assume the writers of the Gospels in the Bible—Matthew Mark, Luke and John all “knew” Jesus because they wrote so very much about him. But the reality is Luke never personally knew Jesus. In fact, his stuff was written 60-100 years after Jesus’ death.

I don’t mention this in a religious context, but rather to make a critical point:

How would the Book of Luke appear if he refused to write about anything that others had already written about?

What would have happened if he simply said, “That story has already been told, no one wants to hear my thoughts on the matter.”

Better yet, much of the writings in the Book of Luke are VERY similar to the writings and stories found in the other gospels.

Had there been content marketing and social media “experts” during Luke’s time period, I have a feeling the man would have been chastised by many and called a “recycler” of other people’s information.

Pretty ridiculous, isn’t it?

The New Testament itself is an amazing example of powerful content marketing done thousands of years ago. Although it wasn’t meant to grow a “business,” it was meant to grow a movement.

For that to happen, multiple people came together so as to distill Jesus’ teachings, words, and deeds in a way others could not only understand it, but be moved by it as well.

Today, whether you’d consider yourself a Christian or not (again, this isn’t a religious point I’m making with this post), I think we can all agree that each book of the Bible, especially the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John—are historical literary treasures and the Bible itself would clearly not be the same if any of the works were missing.

The Gospel According to You

When it comes down to it my friends, we all have a unique voice that needs to be heard. Whether it’s about business or life, it’s critical the treasures within each of us are given their chance to come out.

Whether you sell rocket fuel or swimming pools, the world (and certainly your customers) needs to know YOUR thoughts—your doctrine—your beliefs on the matter.

Not only that, but in order for you to reach your greatest communication potential, you must put your thoughts to pen. You must go through the mental exercise of drawing that which is within you and distilling it in words so that the world can see the gifts and treasures you have to share.

This is what I call “The Gospel According to YOU” and it’s easily one of the most important things we can do in this life—teaching the world what it– life– has taught us.

So please, stop worrying about the way others have said it, and start worrying about whether or not you’ve added to the conversation as well. Yes, there will be naysayers and poo-pooers, but when all is said and done, they don’t mean squat to you, so let them go on their merry way.

And be the teacher you were meant to be.

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{ 39 comments… read them below or add one }

Wade Balsdon May 20, 2013 at

Lovely post Marcus. I agree 100% with you. How else will you get people to connect with you, if your aren’t prepared to tell people what you feel about your products and services.

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Iain May 21, 2013 at

You totally hit the nail on the head Wade.

If you don’t tell your story, people won’t be able to connect with you. That can create a huge issue with trust in some businesses, so having that increased level of trust by providing your content to people is necessary.

Also, as Marcus mentioned, everyone has their own story told in their own way. It’s those different perspectives that really make each person unique and interesting.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Well said Iain– it’s literally impossible for any of us to be the same, write the same, teach the same, etc.—-and that individuality is our greatest strength. :)

Marcus

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

That’s exactly right Wade. It really is a no-brainer when you boil this all down.

Thanks for stopping by my friend and appreciate your support,

Marcus

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cornell green May 20, 2013 at

Your words of encouragement continue to help me with my journey of being confidence as a writer. Like you stated in your article this isn’t a religious post, but the way you reference the Bible really gave me something to consider as a Christian, and soon to be business owner. Thank You Marcus!!!! God Bless You.

Fear: False-Evidence-Appearing-Real

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Honored to help great people like you on their journey Cornell :-)

Continued success and enthusiasm along the way,

Marcus

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Phil Donaldson May 20, 2013 at

As a physician, Luke had a very unique and significant perspective on The Good News (The Gospel).

It really is important to develop one’s own writing (or media) voice. What matters at the end of the day is that your content connects with your target audience, to whom your take could be news (and would pay to for their marketing strategy/content to be informed by your unique perspective)..

Thanks for the encouragement, Marcus!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Phil, great hearing from you bud and thanks for having me on the interview yesterday, it was really nice catching up w Candyce.

Best to you both and thanks for all the support!!

Marcus

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Felicity Fields May 20, 2013 at

I never knew all that stuff about Luke. Really cool!

Being in the online marketing space, I often have the “someone else has written about this before” mentality often. This blog post is my excuse to not listen to that excuse anymore. Thanks for the pep talk!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Thrilled you now have an excuse Felicity :-) Write away!!!

Best,

Marcus

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Lisa Shaughnessy May 20, 2013 at

Great post Marcus – thanks so much for saying this! I tell everyone I come across in the course of running my business this same thing.

As part of my business, I interview fitness professionals about how they use marketing. I raise the point you make in almost all of my interviews and ask my guests’ take on what it means to “have your own voice”.

Of course, you don’t want to just rehash what’s been said. But, no one else has the unique experiences, interactions, knowledge and ideas you have. Tap into those for the content you write and it will truly not have been said before.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Lisa, I’m glad you brought this up because it’s a subject that is centered around a major problem many individuals and businesses have–they don’t recognize the stories and experiences when they’re right there in front of them, which is a shame.

Those that can see them are always the greatest teachers in their field.

Thanks again for your thoughts Lisa :-)

Marcus

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Ocha May 20, 2013 at

Hey Marcus,
I have only been following you for a few weeks now and I am starting to see the pattern, “just be yourself” in your works. I have, because of your stuff, started writing more and yep, it is getting easier. Last night my post was around 600 and it only took about 25 to 35 minutes where it use to take about an hour.

Thanks!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Ocha, I’m really glad you’re picking up on this theme, because yes, you’ll see it over and over again from the writings here on TSL.

And 35 minutes for a post like that is GREAT!!!! That’s what I’m talking about!! :-)

Marcus

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Darnell Jackson May 20, 2013 at

What’s up Marcus,

Excellent topic.

The way I translate your point is that everyone has their own truth.

No matter what the experiences that you encounter will make you who you are today.

Finding value in them = intelligence.
Ignoring the lessons = ignorance.

PS

Isn’t it ironic that Exodus doesn’t say -By Moses at the end?
Who really wrote these stories anyway? Was King James the editor?

I’m just saying.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Your translation is dead-on Darnell. We each do have our own truth, and we must never forget that.

Thanks so much for the support bud,

Marcus

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Philos May 21, 2013 at

Plus this is the way to make sure more people are informed about a product, movement or industry.

There are so many great blogs out there about personal development, but not everyone spends their time on just the ones with the best content on a particular subject.

Sometimes it is the story of individual authors that pulls in the readers (and sometimes their money) and make them visit more often.

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

That’s exactly right Philos. It’s impossible to tell all the who, what, where, and why of each industry and the way consumers view content.

Appreciate you coming by man,

Marcus

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sela missirian May 21, 2013 at

Love this comparison. I need to be more “Luke-like” in my approach to content marketing. Reading this helps take the pressure off trying to figure out something to say that hasn’t been discussed before or is ultra original or in a unique voice. Sometimes it’s best just to say it like you would normally. Thanks Marcus!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

“Luke Like”—now that’s a good term when it comes to content marketing Sela! :-)

So glad this helped,

Marcus

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Sheryl Kurland May 21, 2013 at

Marcus, thanks for the reinforcement. I gave a speech a few weeks ago on “relationships,” and when the opportunity came along I had that tinge of the old bunk you mentioned here. Then it hit me, “What would Marcus say?” (because you’ve mentioned this theme before and I’ve been following you for a while). “Sheryl, go teach the world what life has taught you.” I have a pile of testimonials in which people have thanked me for the “new” information!

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Marcus Sheridan May 21, 2013 at

Love it Sheryl!!! It’s stuff like this that gets me seriously going!! :-)

Big smiles,

Marcus

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Cathy Boudreau May 21, 2013 at

Great, great article! I know I’m guilty of saying those exact words — “that topic has been talked about time and time again… what more can I add?” Well, obviously the answer is that I can add my own take on a subject matter. Seems so obvious, but sometimes you just forget the simple stuff!

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Mark May 21, 2013 at

Hey Marcus!

I think the great work being done around the world to bridge gaps, to restore lives, and respond to great needs when elements of nature ravage an area and a people. I feel these are perfect times to share what strengths we have be they physical or spiritual. The first responders to these disasters are true heroes and deserve our honor.

We must be prepared to further the work, add content to our sites, and let people know what we are about, so we can be present, so we can assist those who are in need, those who we should and must care for. They are our family outside of our family.

Be yourself and let them see your good works!

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Andrea T.H.W. May 21, 2013 at

I agree, every voice is important and every angle add to understanding things better, adds interest to the topic, whatever it is.

But I also understand concerns because there is so much stuff on the net and so much competition that sometimes writing seems worthless.

E.g. I have some serious drawbacks, not being a native English speaker first, but I think I write interesting enough articles aimed at either increase knowledge or ispire readers to create a different life for themselves. I guess I’m doing more or less everything right being a one man website, no black hat things at least that I know, yet it’s a week that Google has decided my content is worthless, or no one is anymore searching for it (but it’s something started more than a month ago). Clearly there are zero problems regarding webmasters’ tools. Then when looking for hashtags to get new idea I see that Hypnosis half of the times is related in the blogosphere to weird sex. And obviously my website has nothing to do with it.

The point is that sometimes is discouraging to see things like these so I can relate to those who feel alone or think that writing at the end isn’t worth the efforts because someone can write the best content in the world but if no one notices it or shares it, well, it seems there is no point doing it.

This obviously doesn’t really hits me more than once a month, a week in this period of almostzero traffic, because beside Hypnosis I deal with Personal Development and its first rule is never surrender, whatever happens.

And that’s what I do. ;)

Sorry if I’ve gone long-winded Marcus.

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Douglas Burdett May 21, 2013 at

Marcus, based on what you’ve said, could Saint Luke become the patron saint of bloggers?

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Katie Gutwein May 21, 2013 at

Doug,
This comment made me laugh out loud :).

p.s. Great post, Marcus!

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Tom Horn May 21, 2013 at

Awesome post Marcus! It’s kind of like the game that kids play where they whisper something in each others ear and by the time it has reached the 20th kid the message has changed. We all take away something different from things we experence and hear and if we are able to share our “take” on a subject then it can only add to the value of the experience.

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Don Stanley May 21, 2013 at

This is the medicine I need ;-) Thanks for the confidence boost brother.

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Marshall Ponzi May 22, 2013 at

Great comparison, Marcus!

The news media is another great example of tell and re-telling. Every network, radio station and newspaper is telling the same stories at the same time. Each has its own personality (spin??). We simply follow the one(s) we like best.

News media suffers from content saturation too. Their saturation cycles are pretty short, lasting as long as a story is “hot” and relevant. Back in the day, “scooping” the story, being first to tell it was the big attractor. Now, that’s not nearly as important because everyone else will have access to the story within seconds.

Marshall

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Heath Rost May 22, 2013 at

Brilliant biblical reference Marcus.

I’d also add that it doesn’t matter how good or bad your writing is–just get it out there. I’m finding as I expose inbound marketing to companies the issue they say they have is they can’t allocate enough time towards editing articles and making sure they’re website-ready. The important part is to just get it out there!

Does any one have any links to articles specifically related to addressing that issue? I’d love to read :)

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Fawaz Akhtar May 23, 2013 at

Hi Marcus, as usual your article is awesome and found very interesting to read. Thanks for sharing such a nice post.

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Samuel May 24, 2013 at

Hey Marcus,

Love it that you decided to write about this topic that has many bloggers “feeling put down”, including myself at one point.

I have realized that the same content, mostly the topic, is all up to “how you write it” and “how well you promote it”.

Content marketing can basically be summed up with those two points from the sentence above.

Now I am writing content with my own unique aspect in it and with a “free” mind.

Thanks for writing!

Samuel from internetdreams.com

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Marcus Sheridan May 28, 2013 at

So glad it helped Samuel, just keep growing and pushing, and it will all fall into place!!

Best,

Marcus

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Juan Castillo May 24, 2013 at

Hi Marcus,

Great article and very informative. Thanks for sharing such inspiring article!

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Davina K. Brewer May 28, 2013 at

How can I not appreciate a post that uses ‘poo-pooers.’ I too have been waging a wee battle vs. the ‘awesome’ schtick, the ‘contributing’ diatribes. Not to mention coming to terms w/ why I’m out here doing all this: so the world can hear a different and funny and hopefully quasi-smart voice — MINE. :-) Doesn’t have to be new, doesn’t have to be epic – only fresh and right for the right reader. Not only does it help me to put those thoughts out there, but if anyone comes kicking the tires, they can see the Gospel According to Me. And know if automated ‘set and forget’ is their thing, I ain’t their guru. FWIW.

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Marcus Sheridan May 30, 2013 at

“I ain’t their guru…”

WORD!! ;-)

Big Smiles Davina,

Marcus

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business marketing strategi December 1, 2013 at

Hello friends, its wonderful paragraph concerning educationand fully explained, keep it up all the time.

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