Is Your Content this Riveting?
How is it some people can fascinate, transfix and get others eating out of their hands?
I don’t think we can doubt the power of Hollywood and its stars to captivate audiences. Stars are used to sell every kind of product imaginable. Why? Because these stars are omnipresent which translates to comfort and familiarity. They’re trusted too. They can even sell Pepsi, despite not liking or using the product themselves.
It seems Hollywood and the ad industry know some tricks of the influence trade. Why not take what they know and do and make it work for us online? It’s all about the power to captivate. This correlates to a mesmerizing connection with audiences.
There’s one particular leading Hollywood star who had that lasting magic. What made this start so good as an entertainer that could also make your site industry-leading? Let’s discover the secrets.
The Golden Era for Hollywood
Back in Hollywood’s silent film era, they had to work hard to entertain audiences. The medium they used was without sound, just black & white video with subtext. And exactly 100 years ago, audiences of the era were captivated by one unusually creative American actor named Harold Lloyd.
He was like Jim Carrey and Arnold Schwarzenegger combined in a fun way. His fans adored him and his movies and antics where no doubt the center of conversations.
Lloyd’s career took off when he moved to Los Angeles and met Hal Roach who was launching his own studio. The persona they created for their films was one of ambition, success seeking and overcoming obstacles which was highly respected in the roaring twenties.
Lloyd’s comedy/action flicks had him climbing brick exteriors of buildings, balancing himself on chairs on the edge of skyscrapers, hanging from clock arms many stories up, riding on top of trains, and an accidental football star. He made viewers feel intense emotions and some of his audience actually fainted in the theater seats. Some of these images are the most enduring images and experiences ever created in Hollywood.
It reminds us that with a little ingenuity, we can create magnificent customer journeys like this too. Today, our web visitors only remember the good stuff. It’s a balancing act of creativity and strategic focus.
Above: Harold Lloyd on set where he never used safety nets. Pic Courtesy of pinterest.com/errolperez/harold-lloyd/
Lloyd was a hero of cinema and his style epitomized the art of audience engagement. This quick video compilation of clips and amazing stunts gives us an idea of why he was so compelling to moviegoers.
Harold Lloyd was innovative and compelling. His silent movies are still a marvel.
We should ask, how would Harold Lloyd do websites? Would there would be an entertaining narrative with video, humor, suspense where a hero survives and wins the girl?
Lloyd would definitely enter the element of surprise. He was constantly surprising his audience with unexpected situations and outcomes. This is an area that web designers haven’t explored and could be a key to setting your customer experience apart.
The value of engagement optimization is that it makes everything else look way better than it actually is. So winning at engagement may be the holy grail of digital marketing right now. It’s driving content personalization software and marketing AI — and sewn right into the much-desired predictive capabilities that will soon revolutionize digital marketing.
Marketing AI’s ability to predict successful content will likely involve the engagement optimization techniques below.
What’s the Key to Content Engagement?
A post in Fast Company by Helio Fred Garcia, says it’s HiJacking emotions. He advises making emotional impact, targeting a person’s amygdala brain area to make audiences feel first, then make them think what we want them to. T
Garcia advises to:
a) make an emotional connection before doing anything else
b) create a framing statement that makes them anticipate what comes next
c) remind them of that statement
d) remind them again with 3 key points.
“We need audiences to feel first, and then to think.” This is a great point to keep in mind as we launch into engagement strategy for your web and social content. Focus on emotions and eliminate friction.
Good insight, yet engagement requires more than this.
It isn’t easy to engage or persuade people via web content. Flashy video, photos, graphics, or big keyword-loaded headlines isn’t enough to keep them long. A well-explained UVP or interesting story well told might leave them yawning and bouncing. Forget the platitudes and gimmicks, we need a strategy that works consistently and permanently. Engagement is about impact, value, and continuous involvement.
Data suggests engagement may be about relaxation, surprise, delight, awe, confidence and other positive emotions. Those emotions are a precursor of awakening a belief inside their minds (or destroying a frustrating disbelief). And in the process you get yourself or brand positioned in between them and their dreams so you can begin elaborating on your offering.
Engaged: Surprised, Shocked, Fascinated, Riveted, Connected, Inspired, Salient, Hopeful, Wanting and Intending
If We Must Grab Emotions First, then Fascination is our Goal
Do you remember the last time you were fascinated with someone? For me, it was a Vegas circus performer who did so many tricks simultaneously, he managed to crash my idea of what was physically possible.
Then there was the famous, beautiful actress (at right) who sang, danced, performed tricks, acted, and made everyone laugh in a one hour show. She was so talented, and no one knew it. Was it really her talent? Or was it simply that she removed my disbelief? Can you remove your customer’s mental limits?
Key Goal of Engagement Strategy: to create Wow factor, build positive emotion to get them over their hurdles and challenges — to ease their fears, doubts, and stimulate hope.
If you can align sequentially all of these tactics below then your prospects or customers are bound to be transfixed with your offering. After we get the process understood, we can take it to our idea people, designers, videographers, and copywriters to create awesome content pieces. Get ready to spend some money.
Combine these 21 Engagement Tactics to Build Emotion and Keep Visitors Transfixed
- study your prospect’s background and discover things they’re interested in — know their wish list
- understand the unique value proposition (solution) visitors are looking for — list all the benefits they’ll receive
- have a relevant hook that catches their imagination because it relates to an intense need or problem they have (it might be your featured photo, headline, or promise, or an intriguing question)
- create a hero, villain, and a calamity of technology clashes (they need somoeone to relate to)
- create emotion through surprise, humor, awe, shock, fun, excitement (stimulate their amygdala).
- have some amazing facts to throw at them – do some research about product usage and customer satisfaction
- understand what fun is to them (auto parts buyers like cool cars and car jokes, campers like nice campgrounds)
- make your content compelling with the values, words and imagery they typically use (check out some forums and ask sales staff about what customers talk about)
- ask a provocative question that leads to the most pressing reason they need your solution
- explain your own perspective or reason that you’re discussing the topic (let them know your position)
- be emotionally present and demonstrate your personal involvement (tell stories, share pics, and get them to visit your social pages if necessary)
- share a personal experience (how about a discussion with an actual customer?)
- spell out the payback or what’s in it for them (spell out key benefits in an easy to see list)
- use a list of points that prove or support your message (top 10 customer problems)
- use good visuals or videos that illustrate your points and engage their senses
- tell them you’re going to explain the solution so they know it’s worth their time
- arrange each of your value points sequentially so they progress naturally and build intent
- keep it simple using the rule of 3
- Cross-reference your points with brands they already trust
- insert a little bit of humor, drama, suspense, and awe where appropriate to generate a more complex emotional experience
- Ask them to visualize how they feel after purchasing and using it for the first time
There’s no substitute for creative imagination, innovation and time to create great content. Add talented designers, copywriters and videographers to the mix and you really create epic content and be the Harold Lloyd of the Internet era. If you don’t have a great digital marketing consultant to help out, then hire one.
There you have 21 tactics to weave into your engaging content strategy. Good luck designing and creating the compelling experience you’ll need to capture your customer’s heart and mind. Practice makes perfect!