By Amanda Leighty
In the business of content creation—whether it be Facebook posts, a corporate blog, or even advertisements—you have to create remarkable content. Consumers are busy people. They have school, jobs, children, families, meetings, and their attentions spans are increasingly limited. It’s no longer a simple matter of grabbing their attention; you have to be able to keep it. And even if you do manage to capture their attention, is that enough? Don’t you want to capture their hearts as well?
Lucky for you, dear readers, I’ve created a list of tricks of the trade when it comes to creating remarkable, heart-capturing content.
- Tell a story. The human race has been telling stories for millennia. The first forms of communication were means of storytelling. This system of storytelling has yet to fail us, so don’t just put out content for content’s sake. Put out content that either tells a story or weaves its way into your brand’s story.
- A brand that’s really mastered the art of storytelling—American Express. Go with me for a second. Their “My life. My card.” campaign was one of the best examples of a brand using storytelling in advertising that I’ve ever seen. They took some of our favorite celebrities and told us how they used their AmEx cards. It was brilliant.
- Know your audience and write for them. No matter what type of content you’re creating, you must know the audience you’re trying to reach. If you make an amazing commercial that doesn’t actually captivate the correct audience, then your work is wasted from a practical sense. Also creating content that isn’t interesting to your audience won’t get you anywhere either. You’ve got to inform and engage in a creative way that is pleasing to your audience. This really either requires a bit of luck, some good market research, trial and error, or a combination of all three.
This Clorox ad was a banner that regularly appeared on AMC’s Mad Men website. There are a few things wrong here. Yes, it’s cute because Don Draper is the biggest philanderer in TV history, but I think it totally missed the mark. The Clorox audience is vastly women—women who don’t want to think that their men are out having affairs and then using Clorox to hide it. That is a huge negative association to create with your brand. Also, during the Mad Men era, men weren’t doing any laundry, so they’re certainly not using Clorox. Just sayin…
- Have an opinion, and don’t be afraid to defend it. Sure sometimes it’s nice to come at something objectively; however, we’ve all got our own opinions and beliefs. Don’t be afraid to let them show and back them up.
- Like it or not, Chick-fil-A supports numerous organizations that are very right-wing in their political affiliation. That is a fundamental aspect of the Chick-fil-A business plan and brand, and I applaud them for sticking to their guns, regardless of my own opinions.
- Don’t be afraid to evoke emotions. Make them laugh, make them cry, even make them angry. Don’t be afraid of evoking a strong emotion from your audience. It just means they are engaged enough to feel something, and that is a very good thing for you.
- Give them something that they can take away from it. Whether you’re proving string theory or selling printers, create content that gives your audience value—a fact that they didn’t know before, a new way of thinking, a process that’s been successful for your business, anything that they have the ability to put into action or share with others.
If you follow these basic guidelines of content creation, then you’ll move beyond simply “advertising” something to engaging with your audience. Their responses become a part of your content … that’s how we build a community through content. And that is remarkable.