Lately I have become obsessed with how the best become the best. This started late last year when I met with my friend author Tim Ferriss to learn more about his unique approach to learning. Ever since then I have been studying how the masters like comedian Jerry Seinfeld continuously sweat the details in a meticulous effort to refine their craft.
What’s remarkable is that even though these people are incredibly successful, they continue to grind away at learning. If there’s a common bond among the best, they all view their journey towards mastery as the destination.
This week Edelman moved me into a new role as our chief content strategist. It’s an incredible opportunity.
I’m inspired not only to teach but to continue learning as much as I can about the art and science of how to create content that works. This is why almost every week I take super smart people from inside and outside our company out to lunch, pump them full of food, ask a barrage of questions and take copious notes.
In the video to the right, I share what I’ve learned so far from others about what kinds of content works well in social networking venues and, specifically, how to hand-craft stories for each specific venue. I have learned a lot about the “short game.” Though I still have a long way to go – literally.
If content is like golf, social networks are like putting – the short game. There’s also a growing appetite for long-form narrative content – the long game. And this is a skill I need to learn much about.
This is why I recently picked up an e-reader. It’s a single-function device that has forced me to read more. And it’s open my eyes to sites like longform.org, longreads.com and new feature sections that have popped up on SBNation, The Verge and even BuzzFeed that cater to great narrative feature writing. Even in our rapid fire culture, it seems narrative journalism too is undergoing a revival. I’ve even picked up a book on this topic. It might encourage me to dabble here too.
The message I hope you’ll come away with here is that to always be in beta. Even though I have a new title and a new role I will never consider myself done. The journey toward mastery is never ending. It is the destination. And there’s always somewhere to go.
Steve Rubel is chief content strategist.
Image by David Fulmer.