4 Content Tips from Oprah’s Golden Globes Speech

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash

The celebrated Oprah Winfrey accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement during the 75th Golden Globes Awards. It is no surprise that she brought the crowd to their feet. The loud applause filling the theater and tears from those watching at home illustrates the power of her words.  As social media managers and content creators, the craftsmanship of her speech should inspire all of our copywriting in 2018.

Forget Simon Says, let’s play Oprah Says! Here are five content creation tips you can borrow from the master herself.

1. Make a strong opening.

Oprah says…

“In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th Academy Awards.”

Why it works…

The opening line of her acceptance speech immediately pulls you in. It creates a timeframe, a setting, and a feeling in one sentence. Scroll through Facebook right now and see how many brands are actually succeeding at this. I challenge you to write one-sentence stories and test them on your brand’s social media channels.

2. Don’t make it all about you.

Oprah says…

“In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment, there are some little girls watching as I become the first black woman to be given this same award.”

Why it works…

A common miss I see is brand’s making it all about them. By telling a story of her idol, Sidney Poitier, and the full circle moment she may be having with other little girls somewhere in the world is an emotional human connection. The fact that she is the first black woman to receive this award took somewhat of a second seat to the potent story she was telling (which is hard to do!). How can your brand subtlety show their achievements without making it all about them?

3. Be respectful and brave in the face of controversy.

Oprah says…

“I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times, which brings me to this: what I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.”

Why it works…

No matter where you are on the political scale, the press has been under a lot of criticisms and scrutiny. You’ll notice, she doesn’t weigh in on the matter, she simply acknowledges it and uses it to make a powerfully positive statement. Sometimes going dark on social media is the smart move when controversial issues are trending, but next time see if there is an opportunity to inspire or inform your audience instead.

4. Say something familiar in an unfamiliar way.

Oprah says…

“Their time is up. And I just hope — I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years, and even now tormented, goes marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’ heart almost 11 years later, when she made the decision to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say, “Me too.” And every man — every man who chooses to listen.”

Why it works…

Oprah knew the Time’s Up movement would be the center of every red carpet interview and acceptance speech. Her award is given late in the show, so she couldn’t very well say the same thing that everyone had been saying all night. That just isn’t her style. And it should be what brands do either. How many times do you practically see the same tweet from 15 different companies on Taco Day or National Best Friend Day? They all start to sound the same. Instead, Winfrey took the opportunity to tell a story about Recy Taylor, then tied it into our past history and history in the making.

If you missed the speech, I encourage you watch it online. It truly was a message we should all listen to, and for more reasons than to be inspired by her speech writing.

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