Content Marketing: Superheroes Teach the Art of Storytelling

Last week, I visited Comic Con Austin with my 7-year-old son. The people in costumes, the famous actors, and characters were not what caught my attention. What fascinated me is the engagement that people had with these characters, many of whom have been around for more than 50 years. That is the value of great content. I caught up with Shane Gibson, chief social officer for Wizard World and Comic Con to discuss the power of these iconic brands and to discuss social media marketing with these audiences.

Effective content marketing is about mastering the art of storytelling. Facts tell, but stories sell.

Great content marketing planning follows the structure of a powerful story; using an inciting incident that compels you into the narrative arc, strong characters including a hero (protagonist) and an enemy (antagonist), and a sense of conflict and resolution.

The main characters include your brand and your customers. This is the main reason to use content marketing personas, as they allow you to play the role of your customers empathetically as they engage in dialogue with your brand. After all, the origins of the word persona come from script writing and the ancient Greek theaters. Content and social media marketing should be focused all around the conversations you are having with your customers.

When you know and understand personas, you can begin to discover why your customers do what they do:

  • What’s this persona’s unspoken question regarding this product or service?
  • What does she expect from this product?
  • What’s her experience with your company? Will it fall short of her expectations? Of your competitors?
  • What information will this persona need to be persuaded to take action?
  • Does she prefer to collect information slowly and methodically? Does she take a personal approach? Or does she want a bottom-line summary?
  • Why is she motivated to take this action?
  • What actions do you want this persona to take, and how will you persuade her to take them?

Now you can begin to plan persuasive content marketing scenarios that will entice people to participate in the conversions that are critical to your business success. Are you planning and delivering the next marketing blockbuster or are you winging it hoping not to be the next flop?

Superhero image on home page via Shutterstock.

This column was originally published on November 2, 2012.

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