According to Andrew Davis (bestselling author), content marketing is important because “content builds relationships. Relationships are built on trust and trust drives revenue.”
In line with this, Disney’s documentary on Stan Lee (aptly named after him) is a masterclass on exactly what it takes to achieve those results in your business, as it relates to the following principles.
In order to build relationships with others, we must first get to know ourselves. This is because “a healthy relationship only thrives when two people can show up as themselves” (Ibinye Olayide (Marriage and Family Therapist)).
We see this in action through Lee’s life in that he describes himself as being “miserable” before he eventually decided to write the kinds of comic books that he would want to read.
Not only did this cause him to fall in love with the comic book industry again, it attracted a like-minded readership that has gone on to span multiple generations which has led to adaptations to multiple mediums (including film and television).
This can be incorporated into your content marketing strategy by taking note of the kind of content that grabs your attention or that you enjoy and finding a way to put your own spin on it.
If you already have a preferred platform you can do that there or, like Stan Lee, don’t be afraid to create something new that is more true to who you are.
Another key piece to the puzzle of building know, like and trust with potential clientele is the ability to tell relatable stories.
This is because “neuroscientific research shows that narratives trigger the release of oxytocin, the neurochemical associated with empathy and connection [causing] our brains [to] sync up, or ‘neuro couple,’ with that of the storyteller” (Caitlin Bell (psychologist and copywriter)).
Not only did Lee achieve this by writing the kinds of stories that he would want read, he also did it by focusing on making his characters more relatable and representative of his audience.
With this example in mind, it becomes clear that it is important, not only to be authentic, but to weave your story into your content in order to build connections with your audience.
This relatability factor can also be taken a step further by highlighting audience members through testimonials and/or case studies so that they can see themselves in those stories and feel represented.
#3 Bucking trends
According to Steven Bartlett (entrepreneur, podcast host and author), “Habituation is a phenomenon in which the brain adjusts to repeated stimuli by ignoring or downgrading their significance [which] is the enemy of effective and successful storytelling and marketing”. The antidote? “Tell stories in an unrepetitive, unfiltered and unconventional way”.
In other words, buck trends. As previously mentioned, Lee did this by making his characters more relatable. For example, although they were superheroes, he gave them flaws and “real life problems”.
He also made them more representative of his audience by creating characters who were teenagers, female and from other ethnic backgrounds (e.g. Spiderman, Captain Marvel and Black Panther respectively).
In addition to this, he grounded them in the real world by setting them in places like New York, rather than fictional cities, like Gotham City, and “made their dialogues more sophisticated” instead of using the simplified language that was traditionally used in comic books.
What this demonstrates is that sometimes jumping on bandwagons does more harm than good. While it can be tempting to fall in line with algorithms, challenges and other types of trends that we may see pop up, it is important to innovate in order to set yourself apart and remain distinct from others within your industry.
Another way that Stan Lee bucked trends was by tackling real life issues such as bigotry, drugs and war. This is because he believed “if you really want to change things and make them better, you’ve got to plunge in”.
Hence why Marvel always “tried to find some little moral besides [characters] running around and fighting”. This is in line with, mental and emotional advocate, Michelle Stinson Ross’ thoughts that “…your content has to be more than just brilliant– it has to give the people consuming that content the ability to become a better version of themselves”.
Such impact can also be made in your work by highlighting larger issues in your content. You could then take it a step further by showing your audience how partnering with your organisation can help to either alleviate or eradicate them in the long run.
Storytelling “helps create bonds with the reader and get complex information across,” making it “a powerful tool for content marketing” (Caitlin Bell). This can be achieved in a number of ways including being authentic, relatable, innovative and having a deeper why (mission/vision) that acts as the north star of your content.
It is my hope that this article will help you to implement this within your current content marketing strategy.
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