Happy Friday Fix Day, Everyone! It’s officially the first week of 2016, and hopefully your New Year’s Resolutions are still going strong…and hey, maybe you’ve decided to up your resolution game this year and make content marketing resolutions as well. If so, we have five that you’ll definitely want to add to the list to guarantee the best year ever. This week’s Friday Fix also delves into really solid storytelling concepts and strategies (for example, why you simply must have narrative conflict), what’s trending for 2016 (including 7 video trends we bet you haven’t thought of yet), ways to advocate for a bigger content marketing budget, and more! You’ve worked hard this year, so take a load off, whip up a latte on your Ninja coffee bar (or just pour a cuppa the Mr. Coffee), and kick back Friday Fix-style!
I hope you’re caffeinated because Marc Jadoul’s clever article on interrelated topics of rhetoric, storytelling, and persuasion is a great read. Consequently, these are all topics I teach my students, so I definitely see the correlation. A good story should be appealing and compelling, and it should be engaging and memorable. At the end, Marc cautions against the tendency to leave the audience with a sense of fear, uncertainty, and doubt. Not sure if you’re guilty of this (or if you’re telling the best story you can)? Check out Marc’s article and see why what I just did there isn’t what you want to do in your storytelling.
Among the things you can do as an organization to get an audience’s attention and loyalty, storytelling continues to stand the test of time. As we’ve discussed and as Brian Logan reiterates in this article, stories have the power to be both memorable and influential. They literally etch themselves into our brain, and the better the story (and the way it’s told), the greater the story’s impact. So, in this article, Brian explores classic and contemporary tales with morals and concludes with three tips for creating a compelling story.
What caught my attention about Reeta Gupta’s article was her infographic, specifically the trend that “the next JK Rowling will be a computer.” Well, I guess if it can’t be me…. Anyway, we shared a little in previous fixes about how computing technologies are capable of doing some writing (think weather forecasts), but this will increase in 2016. Reeta also says that social media will offer new publishing options and that 2016 is bringing original research back (I’ve always found original research to be pretty foxy). Check out the article for details as well as the other two trends.
As we all know, storytelling through visual mediums (i.e., video) is essential, and as we saw toward the end of last year (2015), becoming your own producer is trending. So, what else does Parminder Singh feel is trending for video marketing in 2016? Well, Parminder says “share first” as in, start the conversation with video. Also, consider audio optional (I almost never watch videos with sound, so as a consumer, I’m your target audience). Parminder also recommends exploring app marketing with videos so that you’re not only engaging via video, your audience is also getting an idea of what the app is about. I found Parminder’s other recommendations to be equally compelling.
You might think that pushing the envelope merits crazy measures (like having everyone in the office dress like kittens and then live-streaming it (hey, I said crazy measures, not good ones)); thankfully, Michael Wright’s suggestions for pushing the envelope are neither crazy nor terrible. In fact, they’re right up any savvy content marketer’s alley and include: telling stories, being fun and entertaining, and striving for creativity and innovation (but not necessarily involving human kittens on a live web feed).
Even though they’re not trending for 2016, infographics still have a very important and valuable place in content marketing given that they transform content into a visual medium as Tommy Wyher points out. Tommy’s tips for using infographics are –as he says, straightforward. You want to identify your objective, research and gather data, design and creation, and share and promote the infographic. Tommy’s article concludes with a few recommended downloadable web-based tools to help you build your own snazzy infographics (ooh!).
In this article, Andy Nairn tells it like it is (and by that I mean he gives Hans Christian Anderson a second middle name…it’s a gerund that starts with the letter ‘f’). While being complimentary to Mr. Anderson, Nairn notes that what most who “tell stories for a living” in the realm of brand content marketing lack is narrative conflict (oh, snap!), which is true. As one who teaches creative writing, I constantly iterate to my students that tension is integral to telling a great story (lest audiences yawn and walk away). So, I’m completely on board with what Andy advises in this article, which is to add some “spikiness” and “edge” to the brand stories we tell this year.
Though, she focuses on charities and nonprofits, Melanie Ridout article is great if you’re a content marketing neophyte (or if your business has a charitable component that needs a little content marketing TLC). At the heart of Melanie’s advise is to focus on quality versus quantity; however, she also touts perpetual good practices like putting the audience first, knowing what you want to accomplish, knowing your stuff, and other tips. Three case studies bring it home demonstrating how these approaches yield positive results.
“We’re going to need a bigger budget,” are probably words you’ve uttered at some point in the past year or so relative to content marketing. Since money doesn’t grow on trees and the tactics you once used to beg your mom for extra allowance (tears and offering to clean your own room) aren’t viable options, Kent Lewis steps in with some more viable (and less degrading) approaches for getting the budget you need to produce the best possible content that you’re capable of creating.
I agree with Amanda Clark that it would be nice if online businesses could have rewards cards that places like Target have (not going to lie…I’m a total mom for the RedCard); however, that’s not the reality, so dry those unshed tears and read on. Instead of implementing some variant of the Target RedCard in which you save an additional 5% on all purchases in stores and online (sorry, I’m just really hoping they’ll see this and send me a $500 gift card or something, so I can visit the store two or three times without making my bank account beg for mercy), you can try these tried-and-true approaches (ex: saying thank you, starting a company newsletter, being value oriented, etc.) for creating true-blue customer loyalty.
We’re already a week into the new year, and hopefully, the resolutions are still going strong, but even if you’ve determined that investing in a Cake-of-the-Month club is more satisfying than that gym membership, you can still make some great content marketing resolutions that are worth keeping year-round. The five we provide here are some that we plan to stick to and are some that we feel would be beneficial to any business stepping it up with content marketing (and unlike that delicious Cake-of-the-Month subscription, these are calorie-free!).
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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