Spending two weeks in Italy got me thinking: Are there any lessons can we learn from the artistic geniuses of the Renaissance and apply to modern day marketing? Is this a stretch? Perhaps a bit… but it’s also fun.

So after admiring countless works from the Renaissance man himself, I came up with 5 lessons we can learn from Michelangelo about online marketing:

1. Learn From Past Greats – Today's best practitioners are inspired by great artists of the past. Michelangelo spent hours every day stroking and observing the ancient Belvedere Torso statue from the 2nd century, and he used it as inspiration for several great works. When you are planning your online marketing efforts, always consider what others have done. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel to have success online. Evaluate competitors, watch and read free resources on the topics of social media and SEO, and find ways to apply proven strategies to your marketing.

2. Create to Amaze – It seems obvious that amazing art — like any other amazing content — naturally attracts attention. Yet companies often do not spend the time creating high quality, link-worthy content. The best way to attract traffic and eye balls is to create something worth seeing. You may not be carving the Statue of David, but you can create valuable and unique content for your target prospects.

3. Never Stop Creating – It wasn’t until covering quite a bit of ground in Italy that I understood just how many sculptures, paintings, and architecture Michelangelo had designed. He spent so much time working that he hardly bathed and rarely removed his infamous boots.

If you want to succeed at online marketing, you must continue a strict schedule of content production and online promotion. Blogging, social media, and SEO are all long-term initiatives and you must stick with it. Work hard and don’t expect instant results. Oh, and you may want to try showering less.

4. Find a Team – Major Renaissance artists could not realistically complete every piece they were contracted to work on without help. It was typical to have students and apprentices work on significant parts of paintings while the main artist supervised and took on the most important parts. In a similar fashion, look to leverage multiple team members at your company to help with online marketing. You can make much larger splashes in the social world as well as produce much more frequent content if you work together.

5. Seek the Masses– Just as Michelangelo found work at major churches and piazzas, you must find where your prospects hang out online. There’s no reason to sit back and wait for visitors to stumble upon your website. Find the social groups and conversations that are meaningful to your industry and start building relationships. There are people waiting to be nurtured.

For more specific actions you can take to improve your online marketing efforts, check out this blog post: Why Isn’t Facebook Helping My Business?