Extra points to everyone who knows the difference between these two commercials:
The difference is that no one remembers the man on the left, or his Gillette commercial, but everyone remembers the Old Spice guy, and can probably even reenact at least a part of his commercials (“Look at your man, now back to me, now back at your man, now back to me”).
Why? The Old Spice guy is memorable because he’s remarkable and engaging. In fact he’s so remarkable and engaging that people watched his YouTube commercial more than 42 million times – 1200 times more than the Gillette commercial.
Why Remarkable, Engaging Content is the Only Kind of Content that Works
Writing remarkable, engaging content is especially important in business, no matter what business you’re in, or how long you’ve been at it. It’s important because it’s a great way to become known as the leader in your field – the go-to person for software-as-a-service risk management solutions or data center colocation or IT services, or whatever it is you sell. And it’s a great way to demonstrate the value of the service you provide.
To be effective, your content must be remarkable – content worth sharing. Brian Halligan, the CEO of Hubspot and author of Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs, coined the term “remarkable content.” I love it because it exemplifies a crucial aspect of successful content: it encourages dialogue, and sharing – readers want to remark on it.
We’ve all seen it happen: someone posts a picture or an article to a social media site and within 12 hours it’s gone viral. Whether the content was good, bad, or indifferent, it was remarkable.
But creating content just to be remarkable is not a strategy we ever recommend; although you want people to pay attention to your content, you want to attract positive attention. “No publicity is bad publicity” might work in show business, but it’s not a working business model. Everything you put out – on your website, in social media, in magazines and articles, everywhere – is a reflection of you and your company. You want people to recognize you because you are a credible and reliable source of valuable, relevant information, not because of the hilarious video of you doing the Macarena at last year’s holiday party.
Remarkable content is a necessary but not sufficient element of effective content. It also has to be engaging. So in addition to compelling readers and viewers to share and comment, your content also must engage them – it must keep your reader’s attention (for longer than the time it takes to read or watch).
3 Steps to Writing Remarkable, Engaging Content
Know your audience. “Who is the target audience?” is always the first question we ask when writing content for a client. A CFO, for example, will relate to certain kinds of messages, certain examples, certain value statements, where for the CIO the same content would go in one ear and out the other. Learn what interests and engages your target audience, and tailor your content accordingly.
Be relevant. It’s important to be relevant – not just to your audience but to your business (your own value proposition) as well. LOL cats are engaging, but they won’t make effective content if they aren’t relevant to your business. The ultimate goal, after all, is to convince your audience to buy what you’re selling, and to buy it from you; LOL cats are engaging, but they won’t get you there. (Unless you’ve found a way to tie LOL cats to your value proposition, in which case, we want to know you!)
Be unique. Add new information or a new point of view to the topic you are writing about. Chances are there are plenty of other whitepapers or other content on your topic; you want to be the one that sticks out and offers something new. That’s why it’s called thought leadership, not thought followership.
Writing content that is both remarkable and engaging, you can optimize your efficiency and increase your success rate. You can create the perfect combination of flare and fact to attract customers, colleagues, and contacts.