Happy Friday Fix Day & Friday the 13! Have you adopted a black cat today? (That’s what’s happened to me the last three times a black cat tried to cross my path.) No? Well, there’s still time. In the meantime, why not pop open an umbrella and take in the Friday Fix? This week we talk about the importance of personal narrative in content marketing, discuss bottom-line strategy, explore what’s on the virtual horizon, and share a beautiful real-life story of incorporating giving back into content marketing (and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, what better time for a warm, fuzzy story like this?).
Melissa Savignano starts this piece on the value of personal narrative in content marketing with a personal narrative of sorts (hey! I see what you did there!). She talks about a story she saw on social media that compelled her to emotion and action; I immediately thought of the many news articles and social shares that have lured me and my debit card to even more wrenching Go-Fund-Me stories. I can relate to Melissa here, and that’s the thing about personal narratives…they’re beyond relatable. The thing is, you have to know how and when to pepper in the personal stuff. Do you? Click and read to find out.
Whenever I think of virtual reality or VR, I still think of what ‘90s cinema and television have led me to believe it will be like: a funny little helmet that transports you to a different place. The thing is, the VR of today will still have the ability to make you feel like you’re in an altered reality and if James G. Brooks is right (and based on his information, I think he is), VR is about to explode. Per James, four VR headsets will still be on the market, brands are already all about VR, and storytelling is a perfect storytelling platform because it makes viewers feel like they’re part of the action. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lay down because I just envisioned Harry Potter as a VR experience.
In this piece, Natasha D. Smith of Direct Marketing News interviews Don Steele who is head of Tumblr’s audience development. In case you’re not already on Tumblr, it’ a micro-blogging site that’s very friendly for images, audio, and video; it’s a great platform (I like it mostly for reading really funny thing posted by other users). As Don notes in the article, social media platforms are great because they enable you to engage conversations with current or potential customers through those videos or audio clips; it’s a great way to enrich the quality of your story and to capture audiences you may not have keyed into with other platforms.
Remember the ‘90s when series books like Sweet Valley and Babysitter’s Club ruled the children’s and young adult markets? They worked because they were formulaic, predictable even, and readers knew what they were signing up for. Eventually, readers outgrew the series and moved on because the stories nor their characters ever evolved past a point. What Mark Masters is saying in this piece about content stories that fizzle is similar. If you lack the right approach to storytelling for content marketing, try to have too broad an appeal, or aren’t connecting in a way that builds a dialogue, folks are going to get up and leave the campfire (and the Midnight Society will officially be disbanded (now who’s afraid of the dark?)).
I love a good story, and nothing irritates me more when I simply can’t connect with the plot or the characters. Why does this happen? Usually it’s because the story lack the right structure. A story –whether it be for pleasure reading or brand marketing, has to have a framework in place to support it. This means that even though storytelling is a generally creative process, there needs to be a method to the madness. Per Liz Farquhar in this article, you need to consider your audience first, keep a watch on social media profiles, and build owned channels dedicated to storytelling. As Liz points out, you want to use your story to nurture your brand’s relationship with the audience (after you’ve made the initial H2H connection, that is). As the axiom goes, “If you build it, they will come.”
So, Fix addicts might remember we recently posted on how awesome channeling your content prowess for causes you feel passionately about is. Well, here Taylor Mallory Holland writes about content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi and his partner in crime (life and business) Pam Kozelka doing just that. Together, these two have ventured into The Orange Effect Foundation, which helps developmentally disabled children “find their voices.” Taylor’s piece gives us the story as to how this all came together, which not only supports what one of our other pundits said this week (personal stories, people), but it also gives really lovely insight into how you can get inspired to put your passions and talents together for a good cause.
So, let’s get strategical, strategical (it’s best if you sing that to Olivia Newton-John’s “Let’s Get Physical). In this case, as Kerry Jones explains what she means by talking strategy and bottom line; she means presenting the facts and how content marketing influences the company’s big picture. The strategy behind this is showing –not telling—how content marketing is effective. If you’ve ever had to quantify and qualify your job for your boss, they want numbers, but they don’t necessarily care how many blog posts or tweets it takes as long as the results are there. In this piece, Kerry counts the ways for you to “let them hear your numbers talk” when you show content marketing’s value added.
There are a lot of sayings about our eyes. They’re the windows to our soul. We eat with them. They’re bigger than our stomachs, etc. Well, in Brian Honigman’s article, we also learn that “over 30% of our brain-power is dedicated to processing visual input”. What does this mean in the context of content marketing? Well, essentially it means that you need to have a systematic approach; you need to be consistent in creating your visual identity. Think of how many companies you recognize on sign alone because of a font or a logo. Think, too, of the times you’ve purchased something just because you really like the package (I for one admittedly judge a wine by the label, and it usually it pays off; when someone takes the time to get strategic with their visual presentation, it means they care about what’s on the inside, too, and I envision that’s how you’d like your audience to see you.).
If you’re looking for a cushy job without a lot of diversity where you can just ride the years to retirement, I hate to burst your bubble, but content marketing is not for you. If you enjoy roller coasters, reasons to drink coffee at midnight, and shadowboxing, then content marketing is totally for you. I’m kidding (a little), but really, change plays a major role in content marketing. In this piece, Tracy Vides chats about some of the big changes that have taken place in terms of technology, social media, and more. She shares sound advice on being adaptable and keeping up with the constantly changing landscape; it’s definitely a worthwhile read…just keep in there may be sharp turns ahead.
My guess to Martha Spelman’s article’s title is that both comics and content marketers drink a lot…of coffee. Am I right? Maybe. More importantly, the fields of comedy and content marketing do have some common threads. The most significant one is that they both strive to be relatable. Using examples of observational comedy, Martha says that a similar approach (observational content) can be employed to the same effect on content marketing audiences. For example…have you ever noticed how sometimes these ideas don’t resonate until you read the whole article? (Cue canned laughter; signal audience to click on article)
So, true story: kids are hilarious and adorable and their antics can be content marketing gold. In fact, we can all think of kids and babies who’ve been used in videos or been made into memes that have circled the Internet so many times we feel like we know the kids (kinda weird, huh?). So, naturally, you might be tempted to use a tot in a video (we can’t blame you), but if you do, there are some precautions you should take to ensure you and the kid (and their parents) are doing things by the book and are therefore protected and happy with the process and product.
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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