Entertain Your Audience, Not Bore Them With Q&A
Embracing the role to entertain has to be instilled within the B2B world.
This article looks at how are you can stand out and entertain an audience. It’s ok to open up.
When you create your own media, ask yourself do people want more Q&As or ‘how to’ type articles, written from no previous experience?
I hold my hands up, I have never accessed Netflix or Spotify and looked for the FAQ section….guilty.
We have all passed that stage in our digital evolution for long lists and how tos. To connect on an emotional level, it is our role to entertain.
Yes, even in the B2B world.
Becoming The Value
If what you create adds value and is interesting to someone else and at the same time entertains them, isn’t that what gets shared and acknowledged? What was the last tweet that you shared. I am sure it wasn’t ‘I wish there were more hours in the day, so busy this week.’
The creation of media/content today should be seen as a privilege and not a tick box to ensure that you are filling a bucket that says more blogs mean more readers or better content means longer content (leave that to Hubspot last month). That was true in 2013, it just isn’t today.
We all acknowledge the more challenging it is for business to achieve reach and recognition from others. Buzzsumo stated that 50% of content created achieves eight shares or less. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it isn’t striking a chord with those who are consuming and helping to achieve a change of behaviour. It just means that there is an increasing amount of choice.
Putting It Into Context
In March 2012, there were 26.7 million WordPress blog posts, in March 2016 there were 58.6 blog posts published. In March 2012, there were 9.1 billion pages read each month, in March 2016 there were 22.6 billion pages read by over 409 million people.
You get my point.
The question I am putting forward is that the suggestions that have stuck with us for the past few years of ‘create more content,’ or ‘be your customers best answer’ was fine in an age that was determined by worshipping the practice of search. Your challenge today is that once someone else has found you, ‘hurrayyyy,’ now how to do you keep someone else coming back.
It is our responsibility today to tread not as heavy as we used to around the ‘our world is better that yours’ approach but keep someone’s interest with momentum.
Entertain Your Audience
The line between marketing, information and entertainment is blurring. In the words of Tom Webster from a Talking Content Marketing interview, “Content should fulfil at least one of these three conditions: it entertains, it challenges or it comes from genuine expertise.”
This idea of businesses are part of the entertainment industry is well and truly here. I watched the LEGO movie (on Amazon Prime) with my 3-year-old daughter at the weekend and whether it was a 1-½ hour advert or a great piece of content marketing, it entertained. If that is where the boundaries of media and businesses are now colliding, shouldn’t you throw your hat in the ring?
UK Netflix and subscription video on demand accounted for 77 minutes per week in 2015, nearly double from 44 minutes in 2014. The likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime are providing a growing market the opportunity to watch branded films. We are choosing fact over fiction to be entertained. Whether this is the furore that followed Making A Murderer with over 19 million US viewers in its first 35 days, documentaries are following the same premise as our businesses to educate, to challenge and to captivate.
Brands That Are Taking The Next Step
Brands becoming documentary topics champion the whole storytelling approach. I watched Burt’s Buzz last week.
If you haven’t seen it, it follows the story of the natural skincare company, Burt’s Bees. A company owned by a down to earth, wiry, bearded man that is now worth approximately $1billion.
It provides a lesson to us all that we are our brands and we need to stand by what we believe in. A strong structure can grow with others if you set the foundations.
Does what you create have the ability to inspire? Is it funny? Does it add value?
Businesses do not think that they need to be more entertaining as it has been hammered home for generations to look more stoic and professional by being conservative and look better than the alternative options.
If everyone else wants to be a part of the old world, that’s great, what is stopping you/me spreading our wings and adding something that everyone else isn’t.
The Singing Bit Of This Blog
A case in point with the Marketing Homebrew podcasts. Like every headline, you have to keep someone else interested at the top of an article for them to stick with you and read more.
Similar to a headline, how many podcasts to do you listen to (and stick with) that have a monotone, introduction where you think that the only time that they smile is when the presenter brushes their teeth?
Every Marketing Homebrew show starts with me singing.
How about a bit of London Nights at the beginning of Show 81 to see what I mean…
I know to some it may make me look a bit of an idiot to start a show with bad singing, but I am 100% serious.
I guess that this is what will make a lot of people turn away, but I am ok with that.
The reason I do it is to keep the whole subject matter related to how businesses need to look at marketing today but throw something that is completely unrelated. I can’t sing, it’s not about thinking that I could give it a go on ‘The Voice’ it is purely there as a marker for people to understand that Ian and myself are looking to share our knowledge, but not take ourselves too seriously at the same time. However, Ian Rhodes and myself are 100% serious about what we are trying to achieve to make businesses relevant.
Stop Thinking About How Righteous We All Are
We have all taken ourselves too seriously for too long. Businesses have believed that they are Mad Max to a beleaguered colony to show them the rightful way.
Why should someone want to spend time with you?
Some pointers to think about if you are going to make that step from just being useful, to being entertaining.
- You truly want people to connect with you on an emotional level
The whole reason you are putting yourself into a space that someone thinks, ‘I enjoyed that’ is for someone to connect and want to spend time in the areas that you curate
- Live the life you lead in the eyes of others
This comes down to the whole authenticity argument. This is what Ollie Perron of Lunchd creates with his ongoing video blogs. It’s not the most polished, he does it on his phone, but he delivers something no one else can do, himself.
Ollie says, “I film the outside sequences on my phone and the inside with a Nikon D500. I then spend around four to eight hours editing on the Mac then rendering on the Mac on imovie. All free and available, the biggest investment is time and lots of it.”
- You have a goal to share and the obstacles that come in the way
Being entertaining is not about the ability to tell jokes with impeccable timing but to share experiences, knowledge and facts that are pertinent to you and not a case of taking what has already been said from someone else’s perspective.
- Accept that you need to find better ways to communicate than ‘read our latest blog’
With every channel to promote, you are competing again with every body else. It is lazy to for a link to have before it ‘check out our latest blog.’ You owe it to yourself with the time to craft with the time to propose.
- You can create platforms that you put a stamp on that no one can replicate
People cannot replicate how you present and even better if you can cultivate places that not many people occupy. As the stats above show, the blogging hemisphere is a popular place, I have found that co-curating the Once Upon A Time event with Matt Desmier in a theatre on the clifftop in Bournemouth, is something that no one else can replicate.
By the way, the sixth Once Upon A Time is on Tuesday 26th April, be great to see you there. Click here to see who is here (if you are a You Are The Media community member, you also get the special code).
- Realise you can you build unwavering trust
Linked to the authenticity angle and to connect, one of the overall goals is to build trust with an audience and for an audience to acknowledge your belief system and to make it easier when they approach to further a question. Can you do this on a consistent basis?
- Give people what they want rather than what you think you want
You can’t tar everybody with the same brush. If you have an audience that are becoming comfortable with audio or blogging, don’t neglect that and think that the future has to be video. Look at your analytics to see what resonates and more importantly, what doesn’t.
- Find your space you can become comfortable with
Rather than starting with something and not finishing because you think you sound weird, look odd or think too much about what other people will say, being entertaining is about becoming comfortable with yourself and thinking ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’
Content marketing is not just about providing utility to an audience. No company has an obligation to change its approach to one that is centred on sharing genuine experiences with others, but if it does it can go a long way to looking and behaving differently from everyone else.
In the words of Otis Reading, “If you want to be a singer, you’ve got to concentrate on it twenty-four hours a day. You can’t be a well driller, too. You’ve got to concentrate on the business of entertaining and writing songs. Always think different from the next person. Don’t ever do a song as you heard somebody else do it.”
This is true for all of us looking to carve our spaces in ever-noisier places. Why should you keep with the tried and tested format that everyone else is doing. We’ve all read it before.
If someone is going to connect and buy from you, it is your duty to become the host and others to become absorbed and engrossed within your space.