book is always better

If you’re anything like me, I can’t help myself when a movie is announced for a book (or book series) that I’ve read. I just have to go see it. Like I said, I can’t help myself.

Of course, the other thing that you and I may have in common is our reaction when we come out of the theater. No matter how well done the movie’s been, there’s a level of disappointment. And we find ourselves saying, “the book was better.”

It’s All About Our Brains

To understand this dynamic, it’s important to know that over 50% of your brain is wired for visuals. In fact, of all the stimuli that your brain processes, it consumes visual information 60,000 times faster than anything other.

Given these realities, you might assume the movie should always be better than a book. They rarely have pictures in them, after all.

But here’s the thing. When we read a book, if it’s written well, the words cause our brains to create visuals. The story materializes in our heads as images. Images that are powerful and detailed. Again, if it’s written well.

And that explains why the book is always better than the movie. Because our own brains create far more detailed and rich visuals than even Spielberg can do.

brain is visual

Over 50% of your brain is visual. It consumes visual information 60,000 times faster than anything other.

How Does This Impact The Content You’re Writing?

The takeaway for me comes down to three realities.

First, use stories to share information.

It’s easier to imagine a story than a fact. That doesn’t mean you can’t share fact. It just means you should wrap your facts in stories so that people can better envision them.

Stories take people places in their minds, and that’s good for you. Your content has a longer shelf-life if it finds a home.

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Second, share information in its context.

When I write about pricing, I rarely spend time on the research side of things. Or equations. It’s either too complicated or too boring. It’s hard to envision.

Instead, I place the new findings in context. In the recent eBook I wrote on pricing for products, I took people to the movie theater, the shoe store, and more.

The lessons had to do with pricing. The facts were pricing-related. But the context is what helps people remember the lessons. They can imagine themselves looking at four pairs of shoes and having to decide which to buy.

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Lastly, keep the takeaways short and tight.

I recently gave a talk on pricing services where my takeaways were in the form of tweets. To keep the observation to less than 140 characters took some discipline. But it was worth it.

Here’s why.

You’ve read a great book before, right? And what do you do? You tell other people about it. It’s how you talk about whether you’re going to go see it at the movies, when it comes out.

And what do you share? Likely, it’s the title of the book. Maybe the author. But notice that these are short things to remember. That’s what makes them useful.

Try telling someone about a book whose name you can’t remember, as you start sharing the plot.

This is often how people write posts. The takeaways aren’t super clear and it’s almost “like you had to be there.”

So instead, keep your takeaways tight, short, and easy to remember. It will make them easy to share.

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Summing It Up

Remember, these three things will help your content marketing:

  • Use Stories
  • Put Info In Context
  • Keep Takeaways Tight

Now, let me ask you a really important question. Who’s ready for Mocking Jay (the third Hunger Games book that will soon be a movie)?

I can tell you this: the book is likely better than the movie.

chris lemaChris Lema is the Vice President of Software Engineering at Emphasys Software. In his free time he writes, coaches, and speaks at WordPress events. You can follow Chris on Twitter at @chrislema, or read his blog posts at