Guest Post by: Maria Pergolino
One of the proven formulas for success in the movie business is the continuation of an existing story via sequels. In fact, in 2011, a record 27 sequel films will be released. Audiences love to reconnect with characters and find out what’s going to happen next.
“Storytelling is by far the most underrated skill in business.”
New York Times bestselling author of The Thank You Economy
Knowing that everyone loves a good story and that the digital marketplace is teeming with potential audience members, your B2B marketing can take a hint from Hollywood.
From hieroglyphic stories etched in Egyptian caves to the oldest known literary work, The Epic of Gilgamesh, written in Babylonia over 3,000 years ago, to today’s summer blockbusters – a first-class story can educate, inspire, illuminate and capture devoted followers.
Good marketing content can do the same. By using storytelling to share your message, you’ll be tapping into an ancient and proven recipe for developing an engaged audience who can’t wait to see where the story will go next.
Leverage the following 3 tips to Hollywood your content marketing:
1. Facts Tell, Stories Sell.
Close your eyes and picture the first few scenes of your favorite movie. Does it start by giving you a list of facts about the character? NO!
You learn about the characters through the development of the plot. You see the characters in their environment, interacting with others and through that interaction you learn that George Banks is a 50-something shoe-manufacturer in Southern California who is an over-protective father, a bit neurotic and about to get some really surprising news.
This same approach should hold true in creating marketing content. Don’t lead with information about your company, products and/or services.
Rather, help readers identify with a problem, potential solutions and the expected returns.
This is why case studies continue to be successful, they:
- Identify common problems
- Offer possible solutions (which are your company’s products/services)
- Illustrate examples of success
2. Bask in Familiarity
We are drawn to sequels because we love getting to spend more time with our favorite characters. It’s also less risk in some ways because we know we like them. No one likes to sit through a 2+ hour movie, hating every minute.
The best online content can tap into this by following the same premise behind sequels:
- Re-purpose content/content archetypes that have worked in the past
- Recycle content such as slide shows, videos and podcasts into white papers, blog posts and webinars
- Create rhythm and expectations by delivering consistent content at expected intervals – i.e. Tuesday Tips blog post
3. Create a character connection
No matter how many Batman movies Hollywood makes, we still flock to see the Gotham city hero because we’re attracted to what he stands for; in this case justice.
Brands, whether they have a prominent person visible or not, needs to have character. Notice we said “character,” not “a character”. We are not suggesting every B2B brand join up with a cartoon superhero. ☺
Rather, ask this question. How would our target audience describe our brand?
Or ask them directly via a survey.
If the answers come back and are only product/service descriptions, perhaps that’s a sign that the target audience doesn’t have an understanding of who you are vs. what you do.
Making the distinction is an important one in building a relationship with your target audience.
As you look to Hollywood for inspiration in connecting with and keeping an audience engaged don’t forget the basic foundation to good content — it needs to be relevant and compelling.
Incorporate the 3 tips above to move toward content that tells a story, is familiar in theme and purpose and provides a brand that they want to engage with over the long-term.