It’s pretty easy for me to talk about creativity in my job – as a content writer, you’d be right to assume that I spend most of my days being ’creative’, but it’s not all flowing prose and descriptive poetry – there’s a science to it as well. As writers for an SEO agency, there’s always some kind of algorithm we need to satisfy, keywords we need to hit and information we need to include, while still making it engaging and entertaining. Too far one way and you’re left with scrawling paragraphs that go off on endless tangents and leave your readers confused, frustrated and nowhere better off than when they started! Too far the other, you have a page of robot writing with no personality, identity or sense of fun. One will never rank on Google, and the other will never convert, so both will end up functionally pointless. It’s a fine line we have to tread here in the content team!
There are a few ways of looking at this balancing act, but my favourite was introduced to me by the one and only, Kermit the Frog. Everyone’s green friend not-so-recently-but-recently-to-me gave a TED talk about creativity, what it means and the best ways to look at being creative. Kermie’s talk is just under 25 minutes, and it was the first 10 that really spoke to me specifically about my role, and where and how creativity plays a part.
Everything Can Be Creative
Kermit believes, as do I, that everyone is creative, and that everything from a novel to a product list can be done creatively, as long as you know how to think about it. He quotes a lot of different Kens throughout his presentation – my personal favourite is this one from Sir Ken Robinson:
“Creativity is possible in any activity which actively engages human [or non-human in Kermit’s case] intelligence.”
That got me to thinking about how we approach the technical or ‘non-creative’ side of things in our work. I tend to look at it as the creative side vs. the technical side, but Kermit has enlightened me, to see it as the creative side vs. a different kind of creative. Putting together a base of keywords and SEO friendly practices doesn’t have to be a case of ticking off a list (not that that isn’t effective, it’s just no fun!). Changing your perspective can take the boring parts of any job and make them creative, and it’s possible everywhere! Whether it’s daily admin, workflow scheduling or optimising content for SEO, these aren’t things that waste your creative time, they’re things that just take a different part of your creative brain to put together. It’s not fannying about moving your schedule around, it’s a puzzle where all the pieces fit back together in a different way, you just have to find it! And it’s not a list of keywords, it’s a framework to build on, and my job to build it.
Honestly, it doesn’t sound like much, and it doesn’t take much to do either, but Kermit’s insights have changed my perspective on the “boring” and “uncreative” parts of my job, and just made them into a different kind of challenge. Plus I love a good puzzle ????
After a quick break for some iced tea, the rest of Kermit’s talk is well worth a watch – he touches on surviving in the Mississipi swamp, the importance of critics and mentors (enter Statler and Waldorf), and how different perspectives can enhance creativity, both for the fun bits and the boring ones, as well as how embracing your inner child can open your eyes to the creative options available to you, and taking Miss Piggy out to an upmarket sushi bar.
You can watch the full talk here, and open your eyes to the wisdom of the Muppets.