In July, I posted a story on the Jugnoo blog about the pros and cons of using digital storytelling to generate sales leads.
One of our readers, Elliot Dwennen, made a very good point in his comment on that blog.
Story is more compelling and brings an emotional attribute that content marketing cannot live and breathe by itself.
Elliot is absolutely right and of course, a good story needs elements like a setting, plot and characters to make it come alive.
But I want to focus on two ways that one can apply those elements to work for content marketing in this week’s post: education and entertainment (or “edutainment” as we clever folks in the media world like to call it).
A Brand is a Living Thing
Terry O’Reilly, host of the CBC Radio One show The Age of Persuasion, recently explained in a June 2012 podcast that “a brand is a living thing. It’s an idea or a promise residing in your imagination. But it needs help getting there.
It has to grab your attention…and to win a place in the consumer’s imagination, you must also offer a reason why.”
In essence, the “why” is done by educating the customer about the features and benefits of your product or service and how it helps to solve a problem. How the “why” is communicated to the customer is where story and emotion (via entertainment) come into play.
The Power of Explainer Videos to Educate and Entertain
In a digital age, there are many tools available for marketers to use to educate and entertain customers, while answering the question “why.”
Consider the recent popularity of online explainer (or demo) videos that have been used both by large companies and SMEs to do everything from introducing a new product to the marketplace, to describing how a technology startup’s complicated software works.
Online video is a great medium to both entertain and inform your customers in less than two minutes.
According to a study by Forrester Research that was referenced in a recent blog by Canadian video animation company Switch Video, “a single minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.” This means that you can capture a lot of information and ideas in a short period of time.
Plus, you can use the power of sight, sound and motion to tell a very compelling story that “can increase conversion rates by 20 per cent, providing a high return on investment (ROI),” says Tony Marik, Sr. Account Manager at Switch Video.
There’s An App For That
Last week, Swedish furniture retailer IKEA launched a new augmented reality mobile app for its catalogue.
The app will enable IKEA catalogue readers to view films, photos and other interactive features to get ideas for home decorating without having to visit a retail store – all by simply scanning your phone or tablet over pages that are marked with a special app icon.
I love this video because it combines education (by explaining how the customer can use the augmented reality feature on their smartphone or tablet) with an entertaining story about the history of the IKEA catalogue. The video also inspires emotion through a nostalgic account of how the company has evolved over time.
There are many other ways to educate customers through content marketing while also entertaining them. Some examples include: tie-ins between social media and live events, interactive games, podcasts and webinars with engaging guest speakers (who tell great stories about your industry) and much more.
Do you have an edutainment strategy that works for your business? If so, please share in the comments section below.
A version of this post was originally published on the Jugnoo blog in July 2012 and has been republished with permission.