In Breaking Down the Content Marketing matrix: Entertaining Content (Part 1), we took a look at several types of content that can be utilized to tell an entertaining story and attract attention to your company, brand, or product: viral videos, quizzes, contests, branded videos and games. If you haven’t read that yet, you might want to go back and read it now. It sets the table for this discussion.
In this, the second “installment” in the series, we finish our look at the Entertainment quadrant of the Content Marketing Matrix by discussing another four types of content that can provide the vehicle for creating and distributing creative, entertaining content.
A clever widget is an ideal way to get your brand in front of your audience. Widgets are essentially tiny programs that live right on your smartphone’s desktop. No need to open them… they’re already running.
Most successful widgets combine simplicity with an attractive or crafty interface. Typical examples include weather widgets and social media tickers. But there are plenty of others, including mini-games, useful tools, and widgets that do nothing more than distract you for a few minutes.
Like any type of content we’re discussing, widgets aren’t right for every brand or product. But when used in the proper situation, they can be powerful. In the outdoor world, flashlight, compass, and timepiece widgets (with dials that don’t draw animal’s attention) could all be valuable additions to a marketing arsenal, for example.
Some types of content logically align primarily with one quadrant in the content marketing matrix. Other types, like articles, easily maneuver their way between quadrants, changing personality with the content they present.
Entertaining articles become that way when the story is told well. Whether it’s the story of a hunt or the story of how the gun is made, write with the reader in mind. If you want a piece that’s entertaining, keep it light and pleasurable. You’ll have opportunities to present fact and figures, and convince and convert the reader at other stages in the process. The point here is to make a connection through a common sense of values.
That connection may or may not depend on humor. Be sure, though, that if you use humor, you run it through a few filters to be sure it’s the message you want to associate with your brand (and that the humor works, of course).
There’s no right or wrong length or style for articles, so don’t get wrapped up in following a numbers-based formula. While SEO benefits from pages with at least a few hundred words, the key rule to follow is to make the article long enough to tell your story. If you keep in mind that your first priority in producing content is to hold interest and provide value to your audience, you won’t go wrong.
When a single piece of content is large – really large – new strategies are sometimes necessary. If you’ve got a full book’s worth of content – one that will require some reading over time – there are people who will want to consume it on something other than a desktop, notebook, or smartphone screen. Instead of forcing them to burn through a mountain of paper and a pile of print cartridges or toner, consider publishing an ebook.
eBooks are optimized for Amazon Kindle and similar reading devices, with custom formatting to enhance the experience. While your readers benefit from screens that are easy on the eyes and the light-as-a-feather storage of thousands of books, small publishers benefit due to the very low cost-to-produce (especially in comparison with print) and simple means for wide distribution.
Whether you make the download available for free from your website, leverage the reach of Amazon’s Kindle store or Apple iTunes, or distribute via one of the several alternatives, it’s a great way to get the “word” out (pun intended).
When does news equal entertainment? It’s when the news is about something that you’re passionate about (i.e., a hobby). eNews actually sits at the heart of the content marketing matrix, living in the balance of the four content quadrants: entertainment, inspiration, education, and convincing. Distributing eNews provides an opportunity to position your organization as the “go to” source for industry news.
Often provided as email newsletters, blog and/or Facebook posts, the intent of providing eNews isn’t to promote your products, but to provide valuable, entertaining information about a shared interest. This will go a long way in establishing a deeper connection with your audience. In the outdoor, agriculture, and Midwest lifestyle industries where we spend a good portion of our time, we know those audiences exist and absorb great news content like sponges.
That said, eNews takes time and attention. It’s generally posted on a strict schedule, whether daily or weekly. It’s important to know your audience, and then be selective as you seek out and curate quality content that will find appeal.
Remember that a portion of your audience will choose to subscribe using their RSS (“Really Simple Syndication”) reader… a way to stay aware of updates on feeds you love.
The next blog post in this series will take a look at Inspirational Content. Like entertaining content, inspirational content speaks to readers’ emotions, but is positioned best for people who are further along in the purchase process. Examples of inspirational content include: celebrity endorsements, community forums, testimonials, reviews, predictions, quotes, events and ratings. From there, we’ll continue looking at the final two quadrants of the content marketing matrix.