July 19, 2023
The days of getting by with poorly-written, keyword stuffed blogs are long gone. Today, more people own smartphones than a toothbrush – which is gross, but means content needs to work harder than ever to navigate a landscape that might as well be Stranger Things’ Upside Down.
This means that content marketers need to not only focus on short-term tactics (“Let’s do a gated whitepaper, which we’ll promote on Twitter and LinkedIn”) but rather, start by building an overarching narrative for their brand, bolstered by a strategy to ensure that message has the relevance and reach required for long-term success.
Marketing strategies that broadcast key messages into an audience’s content ecosystem with absolutely zero regard for their wants or needs are not effective. That’s like going on a date, talking only about yourself and expecting that one-way conversation rife with humble brags and name drops to land a second date.
The most successful pieces of content are deeply informed by audience insights and designed to start conversations.
In the words of author Blair Warren, “People will do anything for those who encourage their dreams, justify their failures, allay their fears, confirm their suspicions and help them throw rocks at their enemies.”
Content that makes someone feel seen? Now that’s real rizz.
At Third Wall Creative, we spend countless hours sifting through content – blogs, ad campaigns, videos, etc – searching for inspiration for both our clients’ and internal team.
We’ve found that all content is built to achieve one of three pillars:
Good content does at least one of these. Great content does all three.
It’s easy for brands to write about what they do; however, it’s not enough to say “We do this and it’s great.”
Quality content demonstrates a deep understanding of an audiences problem and interests, educating them either on a solution or additional information relative to their topic of interest.
Before blockchain technology went mainstream and revolutionized supply chain transparency, NPR launched Planet Money Makes a Shirt – a five-chapter, multimedia content series following the journey of a single t-shirt, from design to delivery. The NPR team started a Kickstarter fund with the goal to raise enough money to sell 2,000 Planet Money shirts at $25 each.
In the end, they sold $25,000 worth.
Watch the Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2Zod7Sd3rQ]
The piece went viral for its detailed account of the end-to-end garment production process, which included mini-documentaries, data visualization, gifs and images that took its audience to American cotton farms, Indonesian factories and East Coast shipping container yards, all the way to the end consumer.
In order for someone to buy what you’re selling, they have to truly believe you can help them. These days, you have a limited window to capture your audience. Good content is data-driven, but great content also speaks to universal human emotions which, coincidentally, also reside in the part of our brain that makes decisions. Research shows that consumers evaluate brands based on emotions rather than information, and that positive emotions toward a brand have a far greater influence on consumer loyalty than trust and other judgments, which are based on a brand’s attributes.
For decades, personal care brand Dove’s campaigns have focused on natural beauty and inclusivity, including the #LetHerGrow campaign in Thailand, which recently took home a Bronze award in the Health and Wellness category at the Cannes Lions. It focused on a longstanding tradition in Thai schools of punishing students with forced haircuts and the impact this was having on the confidence of young girls.
Watch the Video: https://youtu.be/2YjuS7KKk9s
Dove Thailand partnered with global PR agency Edelman to write a brand story centered on making beauty a source of confidence for young girls, working with Dr. Jiraporn Arunakul, a Thai-based self-esteem and child psychology expert. They developed and published research showing a nation divided in terms of public opinion on school haircuts, and worked with newscasters and influencers to shape the conversation around “forced haircuts”.
The #LetHerGrow campaign sparked a nationwide conversation about schools’ rule on hairstyles, including advocacy on behalf of girls by the government and influencers, and thousands of pledges to support students on LetHerGrow.com. This eventually led to the Thai government lifting its policy of forced haircuts for good.
If you’re still reading, shantay, you stay for being above average! As humans, our average attention span is 8.25 seconds – less than that of a goldfish. Content marketers have to capture their audience’s attention in the first three seconds of an interaction, or it’s death by doom scrolling. Statistically, we’re 22 times more likely to remember a fact when it is wrapped in a story, which is why crafting your brand narrative and story arc before you even get into content marketing tactics is imperative to keeping your audience on the page.
Stock video and image brand Dissolve uses humor to nail this, with This Is a Generic Brand Video, a tongue-in-cheek nod towards criticism of using stock video in branding. The company wrote a narrative to leverage (and counter) online discussions about how using stock video makes a brand video look “too generic”. This narrative evolved to become a content pillar for Dissolve, which first launched with the brand video below, which IOHO, is anything but boring.
With over 2 million views on YouTube, Dissolve’s video has done so well that the company released more hilarious content parodying the way stock footage is used, including This Is a Generic Millennial Ad and This Is a Generic Presidential Campaign Ad. What makes these videos wildly entertaining isn’t just their comedic narrative, it’s also their context and timing – the rise of millennial consumer spending and US presidential elections – which ensure that Dissolve has a distinct voice in conversations its audience cares about.
Let's face it. Creating great content that educates, inspires, and entertains is hard work.
That's what were here for.
If you know you need to invest in content but have zero clue where to start, book a free content audit with our team.
We got you.