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Where is Your ‘Green Book?’ Measuring the Value of Life Stories in Content Marketing

Green Book made a lot of waves this year as a 3-time Oscar winner. Most fans and critics would agree that the Best Picture award is perhaps the most prestigious accolade. Think for a moment about the tough competitors in this category – such as Roma, BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther and A Star is Born. It is clear why not very many people thought Green Book would be the movie title announced as the winner, but…. Surprise!

Fortunately, now that the smoke of snubs and surprises has cleared, it is easier to focus on the key lessons learned and major takeaways to consider for content creators and marketers. Clearly, Green Book can be added to the extensive list of cinematic evidence proving the power of a real-life story can resonate with audience members in a profound and unexpected way.

How can you create your own “Green Book” of sorts? What can you take away from this Oscar-winning film to take your content creation and marketing to the next level?

Use Thorough Research to Dig for Buried Gems

Chances are that if you asked typical consumers in the spring of 2018 if they were familiar with the story of Don Shirley and Tony Vallelonga, you would have seen quite a few side-to-side head shakes and blank facial expressions.

Fast forward to the fall of 2018 after Green Book made its theatrical debut and eventually drove away with multiple Oscars, that real-life story about a bouncer and pianist has received more media buzz, circulation and exposure than ever before.

A good question to ask would be: “What if Peter Farrelly chose a different story instead?” What if its producers placed Green Book on the backburner in favor of telling a more popular and widely-recognized story? Perhaps a story that had already been adapted into stage plays, TV shows and theatrical releases?

Green Book adds more proof to the belief that everyone loves a good treasure hunt. Of course, the selfish perspective adds the desire to be the one who finds it. However, the fascination factor proves that it is also enjoyable and exciting to see what someone else has uncovered.

You could focus on reviving old content to show surface-level treasures that are already on display.

Or, you could take the road less traveled (but frequently rewarded) by using thorough research to breathe life into a story that most people did not even know existed.

Step Outside of Your Comfort Zone to Strike Gold

You might thoroughly enjoy your “content comfort zone.”

Perhaps you have been able to generate a substantial amount of traffic (and even sales) by appealing to your target audience. The “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” saying is much harder to walk away from when your current formula seems to work very well.

However, studies have shown that taking a risk by stepping outside of your comfort zone strategically can lead you straight to a goldmine.

Take Peter Farrelly – the director, co-writer and co-producer of Green Book.

Comedy movie lovers may quickly recognize his name as being part of the blockbuster-making band of brothers (referred to as the “Farrelly brothers”). All you need to do is refer to his filmography to see that he stepped outside of his comfort zone to reach this Oscar-winning treasure chest.

  1. Shallow Hal

  2. Dumb and Dumber

  3. There’s Something about Mary

  4. Kingpin

  5. Me, Myself and Irene

Years ago, would you ever think that the man who helped bring those titles to the big screen would be able to add a movie like Green Book to his repertoire?

That leads to another takeaway that content creators and marketers should value from Green Book.

  1. An unexpected risk can lead to an unexpected result.

  2. An unexpected step can lead to an unexpected success!

It is true that running on a hamster wheel has its own set of benefits and is still much better than complete inactivity. However, if you want your online presence to move, you must make your moves on top of the wheel – not inside of it.

Consistency is Vital for Long-Term Success

Consistency is the lifeline of long-term success.

Peter Farrelly could easily return to creating an extensive list of R-rated movies that will undoubtedly perform well at the box-office. However, most critics and moviegoers have lifted their expectations of Peter Farrelly – wondering what exactly he will do next.

Once you have stepped outside of your comfort zone to find the buried treasure that all others may have overlooked, it is imperative for you to keep digging.

Not very many people who discover buried treasures and successfully manage their millions go back to beach shores with standard metal detectors. Now that they have been subjected to the “treasure bug” bite, they are more likely to search for the next step outside of their comfort zone – knowing that their growing audience will more than likely follow right behind them.

You cannot expect to strike gold with one post, article or blog and experience long-term success. You must keep moving forward – consistently creating content that has the same fascination factor that Green Book had for moviegoers.

Doing so will lead you to your own list of awards, accolades and overall recognition within your target market.

Whenever doubt and uncertainty appear attempting to change your mind, all you need to do is watch (or just consider) the movie Green Book and keep moving forward.

Photo courtesy of


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