Well, hey, hey, it’s Friday! Welcome to the Friday Fix, our weekly run-down of the wonderful world of content marketing. This week, we reveal that Mark Hamil is going to be the closing keynote at Content Marketing World in September, so grab your lightsabers and sign up! (Does this unpaid endorsement mean we get a free invite? We doubt it, but that’s okay.) In addition to this fun news, our Fix focuses on content marketing predictions for the remainder of 2016, how to tell a six-second brand story, strategies employed by top content marketers, and telling stories with fear, pictures, and more. Phew! What a week! Hold tight to your coffee cup…the Friday Fix is live!
Okay, so Jayson DeMers’ article is like a reality check because I hadn’t fully registered (until now) that we’re halfway through 2016. Wasn’t New Years yesterday? I mean, come on, time! I digress, so given where we are on the calendar and Jayson’s established content marketing wisdom, this is the perfect time to make and to justify predictions like the explosion of live streaming’s popularity, the necessity to establish personal authority, a rise in vertical video, an increased reliance in user-generated content, the reshaping of storytelling thanks to more mediums, and more. Oh, and VR…maybe 2017 will be your year, but if DeMers is right (and he probably is), you’ve still got a little maturing to do (like those Cheez-Its, apparently).
In this piece, Kerry O’Shea Gorgone gets the lowdown on using stories to transform otherwise “dry, lifeless marketing copy” from Ron Ploof. Ron previously served as Epson’s social media storytelling lead before branching out to help brands build audience connections via storytelling. In this interview, Ron explains why empathy is central to effective storytelling and how brands can achieve it.
So, we’ve all heard that we have mere seconds to catch and keep an audience’s attention, right? But can you tell a story in six-seconds? According to Dave Sutton, you can, and I suppose if you can tell a story in six words (which we mentioned recently in a previous Fix), why not tell a story in six seconds? How? Take Ann Handley’s advice and “make the customer the hero of your story”; also, keep it simple. We get it…it’s easier said than done, so check out Dave’s piece to see how to tell a six-second brand story.
I always enjoy a review of who’s on top and an analysis of why, which is why Sujan Patel’s article this week appealed to me. The advantage as Sujan explains it is that that such explorations enable us to see where the industry is headed. Sujan predicts a “confluence” between content and influencer marketing. To substantiate that prediction, he examines current leaders like Lee Oden of TopRank Online Marketing, Ann Handley of MarketingProfs, and Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute to name three. Check out what these and two other leaders have to say on relationship building and the essence of storytelling’s role in content marketing as well as the importance of standing out.
When I first skimming the title of Joe Mandese’s article, I read Candace was king, which goes to show why skimming is both dangerous and hilarious. Anyway, no, per Joe, cadence is king, and here he explains why using an example from Honda’s don’t-text-and-drive campaign. Cadence in content marketing refers to the delivery…the timing, the audience, the modality, and the emotion / sentimentality that come with it.
Taylor Mallory Holland has no problem blithely acknowledging that, yes, fear is powerful motivator. Look no further than mainstream news media or political pundits’ approach to garnering support to their causes. It’s effective, but as a content marketer, it’s not necessarily how you want to compel your audience. Certainly, figure out what your audience’s fears are, but instead, per Taylor, empower them to overcome their fears. How? Understand the psychology of fear marketing and why nobody wants to be around a Debbie Downer (or her cousin, Negative Nellie).
We realize that it’s necessary to measure the reach of content; however, as Erika Trautman points out, how can one measure the kind of engagement of content (obviously, this is different than the volume of reach)? Erika advises going beyond surface metrics with more focused and accurate metrics. Additionally, she advises focusing on the impact content has on the audience as well as deepening the emotional impact of stories by inviting audiences to participate.
Pictures really are worth a thousand words; when I teach my students about technical writing, I explain that if they’re going to use an image, it should bring something new to the table that words can’t accomplish to the same effect. Tom Hoffman echoes that sentiment here while pointing out that most brands don’t have the graphic talent to deliver the kinds of images needed to effectively tell their brand story. People really are compelled by images; I know this based on the number of stories I “read” in pictures and the amount of traffic posts that include images tend to get over posts that don’t. So, if you’re not putting your best images forward, it’s time to put a priority on graphics.
Considering author Joi Sears points out that the Ad Council’s Save the Food campaign targets Millennials, the use of the trendy Millennial phrase “all the feels” is apt. But, to that end, yes, “The Extraordinary Life and Times of Strawberry” is a successful example of a visual story that inspires feelings of compassion and sadness. Statistics like the fact that over 40% of food purchased in the U.S. goes to waste, which is equal to $162 billion. These numbers lend to the gravity of the situation and help increase the significance of the story being told. Joi’s piece further analyzes both the video’s message and how it accomplishes its storytelling goal. It’s a great example of how simplicity and an honest story are key in successful marketing.
So, have you ever felt like you needed The Force to be able to create a dynamic brand story or to create content that really boosts engagement or whatever it is you most aspire to do? Okay, so if that’s you, then look alive because per Amanda Subler’s press release, Mark Hamill is going to be the closing keynote speaker at Content Marketing World in Cleveland this September (who better to learn how to use The Force from?). Content Marketing World is the crème de la crème of content marketing conferences, so if your travel budget only allows for one event, this is the one to be at because it’s the conference that has and does everything (and this year it has Mark Hamill!).
Amy Delcambre is a freelance content and travel writer from Mobile, Alabama with a Master's in Creative Writing. When she's not painting the page with nouns, verbs, and adverbs, she's slaying grammar beasts as a freelance editor and saving the world one sentence fragment at a time teaching university writing classes. In her free time, Amy enjoys cooking, traveling, and testing which plant species best survive prolonged neglect.
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