One of the key messages of Content Rules—the book I’m writing with C.C. Chapman, to be published by Wiley this December—is that creating content as a cornerstone of your marketing offers your organization an enormous and unprecedented opportunity. Among them:
• To engage directly with customers (or would-be customers)
• To communicate with personality, empathy and real emotion
• To create value
• And also: To have a little fun
It’s tempting to dismiss that last point, maybe. Who cares if your content is fun, right? Does fun make the cash register ring? And what if you’re a business-to-business company selling dead-serious stuff? Won’t it undermine your credibility, marginalize your message, and disrespect your products if you don’t approach your marketing with gravity?
Approaching your content with a sense of fun and personality doesn’t mean you don’t sell something dead-serious, or even what some might consider boring. Consider marketing automation company Eloqua, for example.
Eloqua created The Conversation as an interactive sales tool for companies that want to make their online marketing more effective. This week, during a meeting with the team at Eloqua, I noticed the 2009 Groundswell award the company won for The Conversation’s funny, smart, engaging approach.
Similarly, this morning Hubspot released the first episode of its animated (cartoon) Web series, The Adventures of Captain Inbound, in which marketing superhero Captain Inbound defeats the Sultan of Spam. (And saves the day. Of course.) I particularly liked the cameo of David Meerman Scott’s “Great Oz”-inspired talking head. His counter-terrorism advice to combat the Sultan? “Create exceptional content that people will want to share, and point the world to your virtual doorstep.”
The takeaway for marketers is this: Creating content alone isn’t enough. The key is to create exceptional content that sets you apart from the crowd, drives viral sharing, and enhances your company’s profile and personality. Which, by the way, includes creating the unexpected, the unfamiliar, and occasionally the oddball and fun (or perhaps even the animated cartoon series!)
What’s your take? What compelling and surprising content have you seen? Share it below!