Content is king, but only if it resonates and touches an audience. But how do you touch an audience? And how do you get an audience to engage with your content?
It’s all about storytelling, but storytelling is an art.
Do you know how to tell a story? Not many people do. Brands tend to think the story should be about their product and it’s various features and benefits. For most of us that’s a big snore unless it’s a sexy automobile or tech toy. Even still, a tech toy, such as a Go Pro camera, is so much more interesting when featured as part of an adventure story with the resulting video as an end product. And, in essence, influencers today have adapted Hollywood’s methodology of subtle product placement for their content. Even they know consumers want to be entertained and inspired, not sold and coerced.
And much like the internal workings of an advertising agency, influencers know the best stories balance personal, emotional messaging with pragmatic, factual information. These storytellers bring with them a built-in and trusted audience who are loyal readers. Brands could learn a lesson or two from bloggers’ transparency and honest posts.
So how do you create a story that audiences will engage with?
Consumers are looking for content that entertains, educates and rewards along a content spectrum. Brand messages can be integrated into stories anywhere on that spectrum. Variety is the spice of life, so creating multiple stories from different perspectives plays well into search and discovery. Creating different stories from different angles increases the opportunity for brands to connect with their audiences in multiple, but still relevant, ways.
Lowe’s has a fabulous Tumblr page with a collection of DIY Vine videos that cleverly show simple ways to fix or take care of a household issue. Short a battery? Who knew you could use tinfoil to fix your flashlight. The videos are so creative you end up getting sucked into watching one after another. They’re creative and they’re snackable–perfect for anyone’s busy day. Lowe’s also enlisted their favorite bloggers to be a part of “Lowe’s Creators.” They feature a series of Pinterest boards full of inspiration and ideas, all curated for easy digestion and all in one place. In fact, Lowe’s has done such a terrific job of leveraging content they have a growing audience of 3.5 million followers.
Ben and Jerry’s used Instagram to created a contest to #captureeuphoria and took the top 20 user-generated photos and ran them as geo-targeted advertising.
Dollar Shave Club balances the entertainment value, inspires you to try something new and cleverly features the value and cost savings while making the $1 razor a must-have. The content makes you want to become part of the club.
And one of my all time favorite companies: Who Gives A Crap. A company created with an idea to help deliver safe cleaning water and better sanitation facilities in third world countries, Who Gives A Crap’s CEO live streamed himself sitting on a commode in the middle of his empty warehouse and proclaimed he would sit there until he had enough orders to fill the warehouse and officially be in business. This story takes a sensitive subject, makes it entertaining without being “icky” and takes you behind the scenes.
The above brands know that consumers are intrigued by entertaining, educational and rewarding content. They’ve made sure to create content that ensures the consumer walks away feeling they’ve gained something of value. Which posts has your audience engaged with the most? What can you include in your content that makes the audience feel as if they’re walking away with something useful? Tapping into their interests and wants, and giving them something to use can help your content become king.
Where does your story fall on the content spectrum?