What can Bruce Lee teach us about content marketing?What can Bruce Lee teach us about content marketing?

What can Bruce Lee teach us about content marketing?

Written by Joe Boyd on 16th May 2016

The martial arts legend had a lot of advice that can be applied to anything, even content marketing!

Despite a tragically short life, Bruce Lee left a larger impact on the world than probably any other martial artist. Not only did he have a successful film career, but he redefined how many people thought about fighting.

Bruce’s ideas resonated with many martial artists, and soon spread to other spheres. His wisdom was very popular with a great many people, as it doesn’t just apply to combat. In fact, the following quotes from the great man can even help you become a better content marketer!

“Be like water”

At first glance, this slice of wisdom is a little nonsensical, but the full quote applies to many aspects of life. Bruce said:

“Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.”

The message, of course, is to be adaptable. Bruce didn’t see a point in sticking rigidly to a single style of martial arts, especially if it wasn’t fit for the purpose at hand. Karate is useless if you can’t stop someone using Judo to throw you to the ground, for example, but many martial artists in Bruce’s time still stuck rigidly to their chosen style.

This holds true for content marketing. Our industry is evolving constantly, and it is no good to stick with methods of working just because they’re what you’ve always done. A few years ago, the industry was focused entirely on filling websites with keywords, but any remaining businesses focused on this method are dying off.

We must be adaptable and change our style of working to meet each challenge the industry throws at us. Those who stick to one system and fail to adapt will be left behind, just as Bruce’s martial arts contemporaries were when faced with his evolving style.

“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

This wonderful quote is similar to the common phrase “jack of all trades; master of none”. Bruce did not believe there was any benefit to quickly learning something new and then moving onto the next skill.

The fighter who has practiced 10,000 kicks once will not be a better kicker than someone who has practiced a single kick 10,000 times, after all. Each of the 10,000 different techniques will be sloppy and ineffective, but the second fighter’s strike will be precise, strong and thrown with perfect form.

In content marketing, it is far better to do one thing well than ten things badly. There are many different marketing techniques that are useful at the minute, from written content to videos, infographics, social media marketing and many others. However, it is not a good idea to offer something unless you have a good, well-trained team who you know can do an excellent job.

Offerings like PPC or outreach services should only be something you advertise if you have professionals on board with the relevant experience. There is no point getting your current staff to learn new skills from scratch just to add to your offering; this is just like learning more and more kicks. It’s far better to focus on what you’re already good at, and practice it 10,000 times.

“Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless and add what is essentially your own”

Bruce Lee didn’t necessarily believe any single martial art was better or worse than the others, as they all had their own pros and cons. As such, when he created his art of Jeet Kune Do he blended in elements of a range of other styles: the jab from boxing, the footwork from fencing and the hand trapping from Wing Chun, to name a few.

When you create a content marketing strategy, it is worth remembering this. There is not necessarily any right or wrong way to run a campaign, as long as you’re constantly adapting and learning from both your contemporaries and your own experiences.

No campaign is a total success or failure. There will always be something good you can take from marketing strategies that were a mistake, and there will always be something you can cut out from the ones that performed exceptionally well. Adapting your strategies in this way will only lead to greater success in the future.


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