With the launch of Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict The Future, Rohit Bhargava adds his fifth book to the best-seller lists. In this episode of Content Marketing NEXT, Rohit talks about how his Non-Obvious Trends Report, published since 2011, was the catalyst for writing a blueprint on how we can all become better trend spotters.
Listen to Pamela’s full interview with Rohit here:
(Recorded April 2015; Length: 52:41)
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What’s new, what’s now, what’s next
A big new for Rohit is his book, Non-Obvious: How to Think Different, Curate Ideas & Predict The Future. In honor of the fifth year for his Non-Obvious Trends Report, he chose to write a book that shares how each of us can become a better trend spotter and use those trends to grow better brands and careers.
He describes a trend as the observation of the accelerating present. What is happening right now that is starting to accelerate? How is that trend changing how we buy, sell, or believe something?
Trend predictors train themselves to be more observant about the patterns and processes in the world that happen every single day – they can start to see what others don’t see. They then can see the trends, predict the future, and win against their competition.
Trend spotters must be able to say “yes” to these three elements of a trend:
- Is it a quantifiable idea?
- Is it accelerating?
- Is it having an impact?
For every single trend, you can derive actionable suggestions or tips. Then apply those tips in your business or career today to take advantage of that trend.
How can content marketers act on a trend? Look at how others are working the trend. Then ask questions on how you as a marketing professional can integrate this trend.
Blog celebrates 10 years
In 2004, Rohit was part of an outreach group to bloggers. To better understand this audience, he decided to start blogging himself. The biggest difference for Rohit in blogging then and blogging now: It used to be all about your blog. Now there are many places to share your written voice such as LinkedIn and Medium.
From his blogging experience, Rohit suggests that content marketers learn to write like a screenwriter or playwright. What those writers put on a page is meant to be read aloud. Writing in a similar style will make your writing sound natural and not too “salesy.”
One trend from the 2015 Non-Obvious Report: The Reluctant Marketer shows the shift toward the value of content marketing and the importance of more significant and useful information.
Marketing’s old-school definition is too promotional. Today, marketing is about storytelling and journalism. Even CMOs wonder if the “M” in their title is still a viable label. Their role and the role of their team now is much more overall brand- and value-oriented.
Another trend Rohit shared is glance-able content – making text easier to digest by creating it in smaller chunks. A danger in using glance-able content is that people may pay more attention to the insubstantial and less attention to substantial text.
Blast the buzzword
Rohit’s buzzword: Content
The word content is being used like packaging inside of a box that you toss away. It’s more than that. Content is something valuable in the world. He believes we should set our sights higher and be more ambitious by telling real stories that are powerful and emotional. The word content sometime minimizes what we are or should be sharing.
In the hot seat
Here’s a recap of Rohit’s hot-seat Q&A:
Content marketers come from incredibly varied backgrounds. What aspect of your background – whether a particular job or an area of study – has been most valuable to you as a content marketer?
Learning screenwriting, playwriting, and poetry writing is important to my work today. These skills showed me how to say things in beautiful ways that people remember.
What are your three must-read books on content marketing/marketing that you believe marketing professionals should have in their libraries?
The Ten, Make That Nine, Habits of Very Organized People. Make That Ten. The Tweets of Steve Martin by Steve Martin. No matter how gifted and successful you are, this book shows the importance of learning to listen and focus less on yourself.
Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits by Robert Townsend. Written by the former CEO of Avis more than 30 years ago, this book offers great insight into leadership that allows for a more human-oriented business that doesn’t get mired in the organizational structure that can inhibit creativity.
Tell To Win: Connect, Persuade, and Triumph with the Hidden Power of Story by Peter Guber. The Hollywood movie producer shares the power of storytelling to sell ideas.
If you could sit down with one person – living or dead – to have a conversation, who would it be?
Isaac Asimov, whom I aspire to be like and whom I quote in my book: “I’m not a speed reader, I’m a speed understander.” He was curious about everything, so much so that he produced knowledge about many things.
BONUS QUESTION: You spoke at Content Marketing World 2014. Why should someone attend Content Marketing World 2015?
You have a chance to be in a room with people who are embracing and doing marketing in a different and more valuable way. In the past, you were marketing to sell more stuff. You weren’t doing marketing to educate and inform people. There is something really cool and powerful about gathering people together who share this philosophy of marketing being something more positive as opposed to more manipulative in the world.
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Cover image courtesy of Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute