Content Creators, Embrace Your Inner Tim Gunn

Oct 2013

Welcome to the Content Creator’s Toolbox, our series dedicated to helping all creators of all types of content keep those creative juices flowing. If you have a creativity question or challenge you’d like us to address in a future post, drop us a line! 

GKSJGoig[With apologies to non–Project Runway fans …]

I’ve lost track of time again. I know because I’m startled at the sound of those familiar footsteps as they approach the door — on time, as always.

I spin around just in time to see that familiar, meticulously clad form glide into my workspace. “Hi, Tim,” I call out in a singsongy cadence.

“Good morning, Rachel,” a mellifluous baritone echoes through the room. “How are we today?”

I inhale and blow out a deep sigh as I spread out my latest creation on the work table. “I’m okay …”

My mentor places his fingertips lightly on the tabletop as he surveys the work before him. “Talk to me about this.”

Hardly knowing where to begin, I pass a hand across my damp forehead. “Well, it’s going to be a blog post about how to use humor in your content without getting yourself into trouble.”

“Okayyy,” he muses, still scanning. His eyes stop when they come to a fragment near the corner. “Tell me about this piece over here.”

“The top 10 do’s and dont’s of using humor in your content?”

“I can’t help but feel we’ve seen this before.”

“Well, yes, but the judges love top 10 lists, don’t they? I mean, it’s one of the best blogging tactics ever for driving traffic, right?”

He takes two steps back and folds his arms, a pensive finger touching his jawline, still staring at the table. “But you have to ask yourself if it’s the best option for this particular challenge …”

My head falls to one side and, despite my best efforts, I hear a desperate whine escape: “But I worked so haaaaaaard on it.”

“I’m not saying you have to nix it altogether,” he mollifies. “I’m just saying that at this stage in the competition, you need to be ready to justify everything you put out there … and” — he lowers his head, casting a concerned look over the top of his rimless spectacles — “I really think you’re better than this.”

“Okayyy,” I concede, lightly kicking the table leg.

He returns to the table as his gaze moves on to a fragment closer to the middle. “What’s the story here?”

I suddenly brighten. “Oh, remember how you’ve been telling me to push the envelope? Well, today I’m tossing in an extended metaphor where I compare using humor to walking a tightrope with a scorpion in one hand and a feral cat in the other.”

He touches his fingertips together as he stares at it, pausing for what seems like a decade.

“I love it.”


“Just don’t get too heavy-handed and make it compete for attention. Keep your focus.”

I release an extended sigh and nod.

“Now, you have much to do and not much time left, so work, work, work.”

“I will, Tim.”

He backs away from my table and announces to the room, “Okay, you have two hours ’til publication. I’m going to be sending in your muse for final adjustments, then it’s off to the AP Style Salon. Remember to borrow heavily from the Merriam-Webster Accessory Wall, and I’ll see you on the Internet.”

“Thank you, Tim!” I blow a kiss while I watch him spin to exit the workspace as fluidly as he entered.

I gather up my fragments and return to the keyboard. Time to make it work.

Photo credit: Lifetime 

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About the Author

Rachel has answerA self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please).

As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. Contact Rachel about speaking to your group or business. Member BizSugar KredFeatured Author on Business 2 Community

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