How Can Poetry Transform Content Marketing?

Learn how the art of poetry enhance content marketing by allowing room for personal narrative within the broader framework of a brand's story.

February 28, 2024

(Transcript created by AI via

Ben (00:01.25)
Welcome back to another episode of Content Amplified. Today I'm joined by Daniel. Daniel, welcome to the show.

Daniel Lassell (00:07.274)
Hey, thank you for having me.

Ben (00:09.766)
Love having you here. Daniel, before we dive into the subject, which is actually really closely related to your background, do you mind taking just a minute and kind of sharing with us a little bit more about yourself?

Daniel Lassell (00:22.314)
Yeah, my name is Daniel Assel and I'm the content marketing manager for Exo. And they're a, um, a handheld ultrasound company. Essentially. They have a whole ecosystem of solutions that sort of surround the medical imaging sphere. And, uh, you know, they, they really are trying to drive the healthcare industry forward to bring medical imaging to a wider swath of

of people to make it more affordable and accessible to everyone.

Ben (00:56.946)
I love it. I love it. How did you get into marketing in the first place? Like obviously this is a cool position and a really cool sounding company. But what did your journey look like to get into marketing in general?

Daniel Lassell (01:09.502)
Yeah, I started out as an English major in college, and I went on to get my master's in English as well. And along the way, I really didn't know the full scope of what I could do with the major. I only knew what I saw in the classroom, and that was my teachers using their English degree to go into academia and teach and pursue writing careers in sort of the...

the art form that it is, such as like fiction writing, memoir writing, poetry. And I really had, I still do, a big passion for poetry and sort of utilizing the skills that I was accumulating through learning about and reading poetry. And yeah, and so I started to sort of look for, you know, by the time I graduated, I taught for a little bit.

Ben (01:59.698)
I love it.

Daniel Lassell (02:07.594)
at the college level, but I was starting to realize that teaching really wasn't for me. It was enjoyable. I loved my students, but I just really didn't like grading. It was a lot of, a lot of time turned around, a lot of reading. And so I had a college friend who oversaw a team at Angie's List, and he saw some crossover skills that I had accumulated.

was copywriting. And he took a leap of faith on me and invited me onto his team. And I started out as a e-commerce copywriter for Angie's List. And that was a lot of fun. I really sort of cut my teeth in the world of marketing through that position. And I eventually moved on to marketing in the technology sphere. I worked for a couple of B2B technology companies, and then eventually jumped to Exo.

So it's been a really fun ride. And I've sort of understood that from an English major's perspective, there is so much accumulated knowledge and skills that you learn in an English major that can be applied to the business world and the marketing world and department. I think that English majors are uniquely positioned

in that they are taught critical thinking, like all college degrees are, but they're also really encouraged to never let go of that creativity. And that is the thing that I think differentiates an English major from other majors out there. That businesses really could be looking for in the better place than simply going to a marketing school and asking for.

you know, resumes from the graduating marketing class. I think that English majors, they, because they foster that creativity, they are also sort of connected to what makes us human in a unique way. And for poets especially, a poet like myself, we traffic in words. So the meaning of a word carries great resonance.

Daniel Lassell (04:37.538)
Poets often have really adept vocabularies. They're focused around conciseness at the sentence level. They play around with syntax. They play around with surprising avenues to demonstrate meaning. And they can be focused in terms of long form and parring it down.

to a really impactful short form. So when we talk about repurposing content, poets are also uniquely positioned to help with things like that.

Ben (05:17.97)
Yeah. And I think those are awesome points. As someone who is and has a marketing degree, I completely actually, funny enough, agree with this standpoint that the idea of hiring out of English departments and other groups is so valuable. The ability for someone to tell the customer story, what better degree to get that than in English or with poetry. Poetry is

a beautiful form of storytelling. In fact, I've read specific studies that show that lovers of fiction, if they read a lot of fiction, have a higher capacity for empathy with the people around them, because they see these characters and they see life from their viewpoint, the stories are being told, and the ability to empathize with perspective or current or future customers

Daniel Lassell (06:01.271)

Ben (06:18.67)
is one of the more helpful things that you can have in marketing, because you can't tell your own story, you know, looking at, you know, building a story brand and all of that. The element here is if you tell your customer's story in a really beautiful way, they will resonate with you and they'll want to further that conversation because their story includes your business. And I think that's awesome. So

Daniel Lassell (06:27.694)

Ben (06:46.298)
I personally don't know a ton about poetry and I'm fascinated by it. I love poetry. I've read it. I've memorized it in the past. What elements of poetry do you find that you're able to implement in your day-to-day life with your current position? And how can others potentially, and hopefully you don't mind me putting you on the spot with this question. How can others become more adept poets and figure out how to include that and make their writing and their ability to create content even better than poetry?

and add that arrow to their quiver.

Daniel Lassell (07:17.962)
Yeah, I go to a line by Emily Dickinson. I believe the line is, tell it all, but tell it slant. And poets are uniquely positioned in that they prize the conciseness of how you convey meaning, which if a picture is worth a thousand words, great.

but fewer words also captures the attention in today's multi-directionally sort of pulling you in all these directions. You know, that is the modern world. People when they are looking for services or products for their business or for their lives, they don't have the time to sit down and read a novel.

Ben (07:50.299)

Daniel Lassell (08:15.466)
and getting those nuggets of information that are most impactful to them. And a poet is really good at parring down information and conveying it in the most meaningful way. And telling it in an interesting way. And that's the tell it slant part of it.

Daniel Lassell (08:41.038)
Poets, I've been around long enough to know that I view the world in a different way than most people do. And poets just have a different creativity in how they orient themselves in the world around them. And when you apply that interesting way of looking at the world to the world of marketing and how you may take a product or a service.

Ben (08:48.524)

Daniel Lassell (09:10.142)
and then present it to the world and say, hey, look at this. Have you thought about this? It makes for an interesting, and I think really successful combination.

Ben (09:24.274)
I think that's really cool. I love that. One thing I've also noticed in poetry, just to add my two cents to this, as a non poet myself, is when I read poetry, it does a really good job of letting you fill in the story yourself. And I think often as writers and content creators, we try to craft the perfect narrative and really hold their hand down a specific road because we want them to get to a-

Daniel Lassell (09:42.85)

Ben (09:53.982)
you know, our destination. In poetry, the open-ended element of it, because of the format, because things have to be said in a creative way, it often allows interpretation and the ability to self-identify and self-place myself in this and kind of craft my own narrative while having the guardrails. And I think sometimes that's a very powerful way of marketing where we don't have to

Daniel Lassell (09:55.86)

Daniel Lassell (10:11.054)

Daniel Lassell (10:16.31)

Daniel Lassell (10:23.415)

Ben (10:23.714)
Some of the most appealing advertisements and pieces of content, they do a really good job of really implying and pulling out emotion, but it's done in a vague enough manner that it's universally applicable, at least to their specific audience. I think poetry does a wonderful job of doing that and finding out how to play with that handhold, the direct content approach, as opposed to...

this more emotional connection and broader view of the storyline. I think it makes a big difference in allowing people to craft their own narrative. And again, having you as a part of that narrative still.

Daniel Lassell (11:00.15)
Mm-hmm. I love that. Yeah, I agree. I think that You know, it's an interesting to think about what falls within the frame and what doesn't when you think about content I Often think of if you're sitting down and you're a painter and you decide What you want to put on the canvas? You're also thinking about it in terms of what is in the frame versus what is not in the frame

And with poetry, this is also a poetic consideration. What falls within the frame of the poem versus what is left out intentionally? What is that tip of the iceberg and what is the rest of the iceberg beneath the surface? And that can be a powerful tool for enacting some motivation on the part of the reader. When you're able to artfully craft that iceberg of...

a CTA, getting to invoke an action after reading. If you've done it well enough as a writer or as a poet, you can evoke that emotional response in a way that I think can be truly really impactful for a business.

Ben (12:22.778)
Yeah, I think that makes a lot of sense. What's fascinating, we had an earlier podcast where they talked about, you don't really start with a problem, you start with the background. And to your point here, crafting the world in which your prospective customer lives, not just with what is on, like you said, the canvas or the page or the poem, but how do you create that universe in your mind and then tell just one specific story inside of that universe?

Daniel Lassell (12:32.524)

Daniel Lassell (12:44.174)

Ben (12:52.314)
But having that background makes a key difference to factor it all in. One of my favorite authors is here in Utah local, it's Brandon Sanderson. And in a lot of his writing, he actually has these interludes in the middle of his longer stories. They're like these separate stories set in the same universe with completely different characters for the most part. And a part of that is because he's crafted this crazy universe and he has all of these people in it, but he can't fit them all into the book. Sometimes it doesn't make sense.

Daniel Lassell (12:54.557)

Daniel Lassell (13:11.787)

Daniel Lassell (13:16.12)

Daniel Lassell (13:22.166)

Ben (13:22.234)
But he just throws in these short stories to really help you understand the entirety of the universe through a perspective of someone who's completely detached from the main narrative going on in the book. But it's almost like he's just, he's seeing this movie in front of his eyes and he's looking at it from all these different perspectives. And he just has to get some of these stories out. But I think, you know, for us in our world, how can we build a universe in our mind of what our consumers are looking at?

Daniel Lassell (13:41.326)

Ben (13:52.006)
tell the right stories, but knowing there's a lot of stories that are untold, but that live off of the canvas. So I think that's beautiful how you talk about that, of considering what's in the narrative and what's out of it, and how it actually still does play a role.

Daniel Lassell (14:05.078)
Yeah, and it can also play into how you think about your content strategy more holistically too. And what are the smaller pieces of content that fall within this specific frame versus, you know, how do you widen that frame as you go along in your content strategy to, you know, create that world as you talk about, you know, the fully embodied world of what you want to convey for your...

potential customers.

Ben (14:37.558)
Yeah, I love that. Beautiful. Well, as promised, these podcast episodes go by really, really quickly. So, Daniel, thank you for the time. This is not where I thought the conversation would go, but it has got me really thinking. And I think it's fascinating. I think, you know, the objective or mission of this podcast is to help people get more out of their content. And I absolutely believe looking through this new frame and this new lens...

at how you craft this narrative and how you do content marketing. It's changed my eyes to how I need to look at things and build them out. So thank you so much for your insights and unique perspective.

Daniel Lassell (15:19.286)
Thank you so much for inviting me. I really appreciate it. And I enjoyed our conversation as well.

Ben (15:25.186)
Absolutely. So if anyone wants to continue the conversation, how can I connect with you online?

Daniel Lassell (15:31.737)
LinkedIn is a great place.

Ben (15:34.882)
Love it, love it. And we'll link to your bio in LinkedIn to make sure everyone can find it. But Daniel, thank you so much. Have a wonderful day and we appreciate your time.

Daniel Lassell (15:43.895)
Thank you so much.

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